Dis­crim­i­na­tory health stan­dards must be scrapped

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - LIN CHUANHUA,

a dis­abled res­i­dent in Lian­jiang county, East China’s Fu­jian prov­ince, ap­plied for a lo­cal pub­lic teach­ing po­si­tion this year. He ranked the first in the exam, but was re­jected by the lo­cal ed­u­ca­tion bureau be­cause of his dis­abil­ity. Bei­jing News com­ments:

The lo­cal ed­u­ca­tion bureau of Lian­jiang re­sponded that their higher level agency, the pro­vin­cial ed­u­ca­tional de­part­ment of Fu­jian, has set health stan­dards that ev­ery ap­pli­cant must pass and Lin’s dis­abil­ity failed to meet the stan­dard.

What hap­pened in Lian­jiang is not an iso­lated in­ci­dent. Two months ago, Xiao Guangt­ing, a vis­ually im­paired res­i­dent who has lived in Shen­zhen, South China’s Guang­dong prov­ince, for al­most 20 years, ap­plied to reg­is­ter his hukou, house­hold regis­tra­tion, in the city but was re­jected be­cause he could not pass the vi­sion part of the health test. The Shen­zhen hukou de­part­ment also quoted its pro­vin­cial health stan­dards as an ex­cuse.

Some lawyers have al­ready said that such health stan­dards are against the Law on the Pro­tec­tion of Dis­abled Per­sons and should be de­clared in­valid. How­ever, there has been no case brought, never mind any court rul­ing, that de­clares them dis­crim­i­na­tory.

Such rigid stan­dards are not only un­fair to cit­i­zens with dis­abil­i­ties, they also harm the in­ter­ests of so­ci­ety. In the Lian­jiang case, Lin has al­ready been work­ing for six years as a physics teacher in a pri­vate school. He even headed a class and his dis­abil­ity never dark­ened his per­for­mance. He has been given the honorary ti­tle of “ex­cel­lent teacher” by the school. If the pri­vate school can be fair to a teacher with dis­abil­i­ties, why can a pub­lic school, spon­sored by tax­pay­ers’ money, not be?

It is time for the leg­is­la­ture to do its job of su­per­vi­sion. The health stan­dards set by cer­tain lo­cal gov­ern­ments are ob­vi­ously dis­crim­i­na­tory against peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties, and leg­is­la­tures at higher lev­els should re­view the stan­dards and de­clare them in­valid. More im­por­tantly, lit­i­ga­tion in the pub­lic in­ter­ests should be en­cour­aged to bet­ter pro­tect the le­gal rights of peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties.

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