China

ABILITY Team traveled to Beijing to build a relationship with China Press for People with Disabilities. The partnership resulted in an exchange of articles, art and ideas between the two countries.

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Poetic Documentation–Yu Xiuhu

Yu Xiuhua is a poet with cerebral palsy who became massively popular when one of poems went viral. Thereafter, everything changed for her. Her poetry was published, her book signings drew crowds and her income increased dramatically. But not all that happened to Yu was joyful and positive. Her mother was diagnosed with cancer and died, and Yu divorced ...
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Mental Illness & Criminal Cases

Born in 1934, Xiewei Liu is a psychiatrist and the former director of Psychiatry at the Jiangsu Province Mental Health Center in Wuxi City. For decades, he has been committed to spreading awareness of the rights of criminals with mental illness. Having handled more than 30 cases, he was the first to put forward the Crazy Robbery Theory: that ...
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The Great Tangshan Earthquake: Part 2

In 1976, a powerful earthquake struck Tangshan in northeastern China, nearly destroying the entire city and taking the lives of 240,000. At the time, international experts estimated those wounded who became paraplegics would not live beyond 15 years. However, 40 years later, 817 out of 960 are still alive. Though they escaped the hand of death in the Great ...
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The Great Tangshan Earthquake: Part 1

In 1976, a powerful earthquake struck Tangshan in northeastern China, nearly destroying the entire city and taking the lives of 240,000. At the time, international experts estimated those wounded who became paraplegics would not live beyond 15 years. However, 40 years later, 817 out of 960 are still alive. Though they escaped the hand of death in the Great ...
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Poetry – Xuihua Yu

Some critics believe that in the past there were few grassroots poets, or poets without a formal education. But recently a group of them has emerged, representing farmers and coal miners. Their poems are candid and powerful. People love their poetry because it reflects their own reality. Poet Xiuhua Yu is not an isolated case. As poets, they really ...
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School for Everyone

In Mu Mengjie’s 49th birthday last spring, people in the rural area where he lives threw him a birthday celebration for his coming 50th year. Mu was named one of China’s 10 most inspiring people for his commitment to educating children who, too often, have been turned away from conventional schools. Early on Mu’s birthday day, his cell phone ...
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One Box at a Time

Before 2002, Chen Zhou was invisible to most people. He could’ve been any of the street singers who wandered China’s bustling streets. Today, however, he is a well-known and highly respected speaker who draws huge crowds at stadiums, schools and hospitals. Although Chen is without legs, he scaled China’s renowned Five Sacred Mountains in 2012. Since then, he’s given ...
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Boxer with CP

  Born in 1985 in Tianjin, China, Wang Qiang is China’s first and only professional boxer with cerebral palsy (CP). His life, he says, began in the boxing ring with days of rigorous training, competitions, and a multitude of seemingly insurmountable challenges. Although it took years to achieve, his dream of being a great Chinese boxer was finally realized ...
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Art Sets Us Free

  We would never have thought to look for the town of Shuangxi on a map if it were not the home of the International Art Education Center for the Disabled. What kind of resources allowed the Center to use the terms International and Disabled? What beliefs does its founder, Zhenglu Lin, hold? It was with these questions in mind that we set off for Shuangxi ...
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Shuilin Peng’s Stinky Tofu

Born in 1958 in Hunan Province, Shuilin Peng suffered severe injuries in a road accident in 2004 in Buji, Shenzhen. His body was amputated in half, and today he is China’s rarest truncation survivor. Shuilin Peng is less than three feet tall and walks on his two arms. He lost his lower body when a freight truck struck him ...
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Hou Bin

Born in 1975 in the city of Jiamusi in the province of Heilongjiang, China, Hou Bin lost his left leg in a devastating train accident when he was just nine years old. Today, at 40, he is a motivational speaker, a three-time Paralympic champion in the high jump, a former ambassador for Beijing’s bid for the Winter Olympics, and the last one to carry the Olympic ...
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China Alliance

ABILITY’s Chet Cooper traveled to Beijing to build a relationship with China Press for People with Disabilities. The partnership resulted in an exchange of articles, art and ideas between the two countries.
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China’s Seven Armless Scholars

The “Seven Armless Scholars” is the nickname of a group of seven highly respected Chinese artists who live in different regions of China. Although each lost his arms to accidents early in life, each went on to study calligraphy and painting and is now a celebrated artist. In lieu of arms, they instead use their feet and mouths to ...
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China’s — River Flyer

  River is a 39-year-old senior paragliding pilot who is passionate about extreme sports. Originally from Datong Shanxi in China, he became a paraplegic in 2013 after suffering a traumatic spinal injury during an international paragliding competition. But within two years, River, whose birth name is Zhang Baoyu, was up in the air again, only this time with wheels. ...
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China — Love and Albinism

Hunted in East Africa for their body parts and portrayed as scoundrels by Hollywood, people with albinism are often deeply misunderstood around the world. A rare genetic disorder, albinism is the absence of pigment in the skin, hair and iris of the eyes. And with it comes a host of physical hurdles—low vision, rapid eye movement, highly sensitive skin, ...
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A Life of Nuclear Proportions

This time, it was an earth-shattering bang. The glass window behind me shattered to the ground. I felt the whole building shake and my body grew wobbly. I quickly rushed to the front door, pulled down the switch at the lab…” -Forbidden Youth by Shijie Wei The soul-stirring scenes depicted in Forbidden Youth, a memoir by nuclear weapons researcher ...
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China – A Fine Line: Art

In countries around the world, art work by people with mental illness has developed into a business over the years. But as Haiping Guo sought to bring about China’s first art center featuring the works of this population, he faced great difficulties because of the stigma surrounding mental illness within the country. Born in 1962 in Nanjing, Guo is ...
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Love of Music

A little over 900 miles southwest of Beijing, China, in the shadow of the Taihang Mountain range, you will find a small openair courtyard. Inside its walls, a musical instrument, tea and tobacco lie on an old table, surrounded by eight blind artists. They are members of the Shanxi Zuoquan Blind Publicity Team, and just beyond them are a group ...
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China — A Coach with Passion

Run!” A shot rang out and a group of kids wearing competition jerseys darted towards the finish line. Suddenly a kid stopped in the middle of the track, the coach shouted from outside of the field, “Don’t stop! Faster!” The runner replied that he wanted to wait for his competition. What Yu Cai Zhang just witnessed happened in the ...