China’s need for guide dogs for the blind


South China Morning Post reports that of China’s 5 million blind people, only 200 have guide dogs. Due to various factors, it’s not easy getting around even with a four-legged companion:

Disabled people still face discrimination in education and employment. A survey this year by the non-profit organisation Inclusion China found that of 2,140 respondents across the country, about 27 per cent of them had been told by Chinese schools to drop out because of their disability. In addition, many cities have yet to become fully accessible to those with disabilities.

The problem is particularly acute for China’s blind. Statistics from the World Health Organisation estimate the country is home to the largest number of blind people in the world – about five million. But there are fewer than 200 guide dogs across China, according to Liang, whose Dalian China Guide Dog Training Centre graduates about 20 canines each year. Trainers say the country’s complicated road conditions and high costs of training a guide dog – about US$30,000 – contribute to the low numbers.

Famous folk singer Zhou Yunpeng with his guide dog

Thousands are on the waiting list of the Dalian China Guide Dog Training Center.

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