In June 2008, the National People's Congress formally approved China's entrance into the first international human rights law of the 21 st century – the “Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” (hereinafter referred to as the “Convention”). This is the first ever specially formulated, legally binding international convention created since the establishment of the United Nations.
The core purpose of the Convention is to ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy the same rights as their able-bodied counterparts, to subvert the traditional definitions of “disability”, and to encompass an unprecedented range of disability rights issues. The Convention asserts that the status of disability is a result of the interaction between persons with disabilities, attitudes that hinder their participation in society, and the various forms of environmental barriers. The Convention covers the topics of equality, non-discrimination and the equal rights of persons with disabilities before the law, including their access to health, employment, education and barrier-free environment, as well as their right to participate in political and cultural life.
In August 2010, in accordance with the provisions of the Convention, China submitted its first performance report to the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. From the performance report, we can observe specific expressions of the Convention's objectives and principles reflected in the relevant laws, regulations and policies of China.
Public welfare organization Beijing Yirenping Center has long been concerned with the issues of disability discrimination in China. The organization has assisted with numerous public interest litigations of disability discrimination, and contributed to the legislative proposals of the “People's Republic of China's Disabled Persons Protection Act”, the “Implementation Regulations of People's Republic of China's Travel Tax Law” (drafting of provisions), the “Implementation Measures of Beijing Disabled Persons Protection Act” (review of provisions) and various other activities. The main goal of this paper is to critique portions of the performance report from the perspective of non-discrimination, and put forth constructive analysis and interpretation.