Xi extends greetings to people with disabilities

President Xi Jinping (right) learns the sign language for "thanks" from Wang Yani (center) and Yan Zhijing at the Children Welfare House of Hohhot city, North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region, Jan 28, 2014. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to the Rehabilitation International Centennial Celebration in Beijing on Sunday, China's 33rd national day of assisting disabled people.

Xi extended greetings to all individuals with disabilities, their families and relatives, and to those who are dedicated to serving disabled people across the nation. He also expressed gratitude to all international organizations and individuals who care for and support the cause of empowering people with disabilities in China.

Xi said that Rehabilitation International is an international organization of great influence with regard to people with disabilities, and it has worked tirelessly to safeguard their dignity, protect their rights and improve their well-being.

He said that China has actively supported the organization's work and pays particular attention to the well-being of people with disabilities in the nation. The nation will continue to improve the social security and service systems for disabled people and promote the all-around development of related programs, he added.

China is willing to join with all countries worldwide in promoting international exchanges and cooperation on disability, and in continuing to improve the health and well-being of humankind, Xi said.

Rehabilitation International published the Beijing Declaration on Sunday at the centennial celebration ceremony. It calls for the governments and people of all countries and regions to respect the diversity of human beings and human rights, and pay more attention to disabled people — who account for 15 percent of the global population — to promote their equal and full development and their engagement in social activities.

Zhang Haidi, president of Rehabilitation International, said at the centennial celebration ceremony that there are over 1 billion people in the world with disabilities, and the organization will keep helping disabled people to get attention from world society and support the cause of disabled people in developing countries.

Rehabilitation International is a nongovernmental and nonprofit organization originating from the International Society for Crippled Children, which was founded in the United States in 1922.

The China Disabled Persons' Federation joined the organization as a member in 1988, and Zhang, the federation's president, was elected president of Rehabilitation International in 2014 and took office in 2016.