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Submitted by Jessica on

My husband has been using a wheelchair for many years because of his muscular dystrophy. We have been together for over 5 years and never visited my home country (China) together for various reasons. The main concern of traveling to China is accessibility. Finally, we decided to put the trip on our agenda for summer 2014. For a trip like this, we, especially my husband, spent a lot of time planning because of limited accessibility, even in big cities.
China has gone through tremendous growth in the past 20 years. There is ongoing demolition and construction work thorough out the country on a scale perhaps never seen before. Even with newly constructed buildings, however, often times they are not accessible for people who use wheelchairs (or, for that matter, the elderly with limited mobility and parents with kids in strollers). In China’s case, this is not a matter of insufficient resources to build the infrastructure. It is the people’s mentality where disabled individuals are not treated as equals, hence, the lack of consideration for having infrastructure in place. At a minimum, it is because of a profound lack of awareness. Although I have seen firsthand big improvements in Chinese society in recent generations, much more progress and evolution in thinking needs to occur for those with disabilities. I understand that it is a process; America did not adopt the Americans with Disabilities Act until 1990. I am hopeful for what the future will bring.