A video of a visually impaired man being denied a marriage license due to his inability to sign registration forms has sparked outrage on social media in China.
“You are full of potential. You can do better than this,” a civil officer at a marriage bureau in Changsha, Hunan Province, told Mr. Xiong 熊 Xióng, a blind man who lost his sight as a little boy and never learned to write Chinese characters.
The three-minute clip (in Chinese) was filmed by Mango Helper 芒果帮女郎 Mángguǒbāngnǚláng, a news program broadcast by a local television station in Changsha. Posted on the short-video platform Douyin on June 6, the clip documented Xiong’s interactions with the officer, who criticized him for “not trying hard enough” and demanded that he keep improving his signature.
When interviewed by a TV reporter, Xiong said that he had been denied by the same officer once before. After the rejection, he spent a few days memorizing characters in his name and practicing how to write them down beautifully. But when Xiong visited the bureau again with the reporter, the officer was not satisfied with the results. “He likely gave up in the middle of his practice,” the officer said. “I’m fine with him using one hour to perfect one character.”
“It’s not easy for me to find a partner,” Xiong told the reporter. “I’m profoundly disappointed that writing has become an obstacle for me to get married.”
In China, blind or visually impaired individuals face prevalent discrimination, and an inaccessible environment where they cannot fully enjoy public and pricate facilities. Last year, blind singer Zhōu Yúnpéng 周云鹏 was reportedly denied a personal Bank of China account because he was deemed to be “a person without the capacity for civil conduct.” In the same year, the singer and his guide dog were denied a room at a Sheraton Hotel in Shanghai because he failed to provide a hygiene license to prove that the dog was properly vaccinated.