Love Hefei, Walk Freely-- A Letter Addressed to “Happy Hefei”

来源:有人杂志   作者:幸福合肥   2015.05.05 10:01  浏览1482
摘要:As a female, I am very eager to freely go shopping. I would love to be able to move freely up and down with no stairs in the way and nothing blocking my line of sight.


I am a person with a disability and the wheelchair is my walking aid. Just like all of you, I love my life and I am filled with dreams. I desire to travel outside in an independent, secure, and dignified way; and participate in social activities equally and confidently, just like everyone else. For most people, going out is undoubtedly a very normal behavior which we have to do every day. But it is extremely hard for me to go out at all, which just seems like a challenge for me.

I want to take the bus but I cannot get on. Even when I get on the bus with the help of fellow passengers, it is very difficult for the crowded bus to accommodate me and my wheelchair. More often than not, I will be stared at and be a nuisance to the people on the bus the entire trip.

I want to take a taxi. One day I waited for the taxi for three and a half hours, but no taxi would stop for me.

I want to go to the supermarket. At present, there are many supermarkets which have handicap-accessible ramps and elevators, which can be mostly seen in Hefei. However, pillars of various objects are set up as barriers in front of most of the ramps and elevators. They say that the barriers are to prohibit the loss of supermarket carts. “Dear” market managers, what you intended to prohibit includes us!

As a female, I am very eager to freely go shopping. I would love to be able to move freely up and down with no stairs in the way and nothing blocking my line of sight.

I did not take part in my daughter’s school orientation. I had to wait downstairs for my daughter. Her classroom was on the third floor, but there was no elevator, no ramps, no lifting platform... I'm sorry, my dearest daughter.

In Hefei, people sometimes have to walk through underpasses, overpasses and subway stations to get across the busy intersections. However, there is no means for me to rely on. There will not be four people beside me at the same time who are willing to spend half an hour or longer carrying the wheelchair and me to cross the miles and the stairs.

Every time I go out, I feel conflicted inside. Once I summon all of my courage to go out, I will not drink even a drop of water for fear of wetting my pants because there are no wheelchair-accessible toilets. What I can't understand is why there are no public wheelchair-accessible toilets in some places, but in other public places where some wheelchair-accessible toilets do exist, their doors are locked.

In spite of some walking inconveniences, I still pay attention to all kinds of public activities held in Hefei, such as the training of public activities, various public salons and parties. I don't want to be alienated from the society by staying at home for a long time. I cherish every opportunity to improve myself. However, I am unable to attend these activities in most cases due to the fact that the location for these activities does not take into consideration the participation of persons with disabilities. This sort of deprivation as well as the pains caused by all kinds of tangible and intangible things is very vivid but beyond my words!

On the evening of March 7, 2013, CCTV2 issued the list of the happiest cities in China and Hefei topped the list, becoming “the happiest city in China” among 104 surveyed cities. The mayor of Hefei, Zhang Qingjun, was invited to a party and interviewed by Wang Xiaoya, the hostess. He mentioned in his speech that in order to improve citizens' traveling conditions, Hefei increased and updated 1,000 buses in 2013 adding to the existing 4,000 buses, as well as adding 1,000 taxis.

Dear respectable mayor Zhang, I beg you to increase the number of wheelchair accessible public vehicles; among 5,000 buses, even 10 would be acceptable. I also want to beg you to pay similar attention to the traveling conditions of people with disabilities in Hefei. Like others, please be fair to people with disabilities and do not deprive our rights of more happiness. It is one of the most important jobs in people's livelihood to care about the living conditions of the persons with disabilities. Please direct your attention to this matter!

There are no specific readers for this letter, so all of us can be the readers. Of course, I really hope that this letter catches the attention of the government authorities, public service managers and business owners, and that they will be moved to improve the infrastructure to be more handicapped accessible in Hefei.

Finally, I want to say that the building of a barrier-free environment not only benefits persons with disabilities, but also the old, the infants, the children, the pregnant women, lactating women, the injured, etc. Every member of society will be benfited.

Without barriers, we are all the same!

Life is diverse and everyone is equal. I hope everyone is willing to join together with me!

One citizen in Hefei

September 2, 2013

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