Visit to Parliament by Chinese delegates on Rights of Persons with Disablities

October 24, 2014 6:26 PM

Baroness Sal Brinton with delegation of Chinese disabled activistsOn 22 October, Merlene Emerson, Vice-Chair of Chinese LibDems, helped to organise a talk by Liberal Democrat Peer, Baroness Sal Brinton to a delegation from China of disabled activists.

The Chinese delegation were in the UK to understand how ordinary citizens can engage with government and participate in policy making.

This special delegation had been hosted by The Rights Practice, an NGO that works in the area of human rights and the promotion of public participation and civic engagement in China.

The Chinese visitors were representatives from the following organisations:

  • Pingji (Equal Opportunity) Guangzhou,
  • Hengping (Equity and Justice Initiative) Shenzhen,
  • Zhongyixing (ActTogether) Guangzhou,
  • World and China Institute, Beijing
  • Chinese Network for Users and Survivors of Psychiatry
  • Nenya Disabled People's Self organisation, Hunan

Baroness Brinton described the work of various All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPG) working in this field covering a range of areas including Education, Health and Employment. In the case of Children with Disabilities, there were also special groups which focus on Children with Special Needs as well as Bullying in Schools. These APPGs were a way of raising the profile of issues, and provide a forum for the taking of evidence and of informing Ministers in policy making.

Members of the delegation were very engaged and asked many questions on the problems with discrimination, as well as of employment and welfare rights, often making comparisons with what they understood to be the situation in China. It was clear that people with disabilities faced very similar challenges in the UK as in China, and it was vitally important that they knew where to go for help. The NGOs had a vital role to play to educate the public, and in providing advocacy and support to those who were disabled.

"The meeting with Baroness Brinton brought home to our visitors the many ways in which parliamentarians in the UK scrutinise and improve legislation" said Nicola Macbean, Director of The Rights Practice.

The meeting was followed by a tour of Parliament and a visit to the Strangers Gallery in the House of Commons.