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Cover Stories Series 2012> NPC & CPPCC Sessions Wrap-Up> Web Exclusive
UPDATED: March 10, 2012 Web Exclusive
Yang Jia: Science Makes Life With Disabilities Easier
A visually-impaired professor contributes to improving the lives of people with disabilities
By Zeng Wenhui

A POWERFUL VOICE: Yang Jia (right), a visually impaired university professor and a member of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), gives an interview at a press conference on March 7 (XINHUA)

Yang Jia, 48, a professor at the Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, is the only visually impaired member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

At a press conference organized by the CPPCC on March 7, Yang told Beijing Review that science is a precondition for persons with disabilities to be involved in society equally. "We should take a share of our own business. This is a global trend recently," Yang said.

Yang holds a leadership position in the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In addition, Yang offered training to volunteers for the 2008 Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games. She has contributed a lot for people with disabilities, including facilitating their lives by means of science and technology.

Many visually impaired users, not satisfied with normal phones, involved themselves in creating audio software to make reading easier.

"Their lives are closely related to science and technology," Yang said.

Yang became the youngest lecturer at Chinese Academy of Sciences when she was 24; however, she lost her eyesight at 29. She managed to go back for teaching and carry on research. She got her Master of Public Administration degree from Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) in 2001, and was acknowledged as "China's soft power" and won an Alumni Achievement Award at HKS.

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