Beijing is training sign language volunteers for next year's Paralympics in its efforts to promote the non-barrier concept in the Chinese capital.
Thirty thousand volunteers will be needed to serve the Paralympics which open on September 6 next following the August 8-24 Olympic Games.
"We have a group of volunteers who master the sign language. They are mainly college students, for instance, sign language club members from Peking University. Students will learn sign language in their spare time in order to communicate with the deaf and the mute," said Ma Dajun, vice president of the executive board of Beijing Disabled Persons Federation.
"In addition, we set up training courses to teach people from service industry. As far as I know, there could be over 10,000 people mastering the language," he said.
"These people are like seeds who go on to teach others in communities," he said.
"A non-barrier Paralympics doesn't just mean non-barrier facilities. I think it also means non-barrier in communication," Ma added.
Ma said over 50,000 registered to become volunteers to help disabled people in the communities and he believed the another 100,000 non-registered were volunteering all over the city.
The Paralympics, a games for physically disabled and visually impaired persons, is expected to attract more than 4,000 athletes and 2,500 officials from 162 countries and regions to Beijing.
(Xinhua News Agency September 6, 2007)