Despite laws and activism, China’s visually impaired often struggle for education and employment

Jenny Chen never imagined a day when she could no longer play her favorite video games. But after losing sight in both eyes in her early 30s, the Beijing native had to quit her dream job as an editor at a game company, and enroll in a school for the blind.

“After three decades of feeling like a normal person, I have to go back to a school and pick up new survival skills,” she laments to TWOC, adjusting the special glasses she wears with heavy orange lenses that enhance her vision. “I would rather have cancer than lose my sight.”

There are more than 17 million people across China with vision loss or impairment, according to a joint 2018 report by Tencent and the Information Accessibility Research Association, a Shenzhen NGO. Globally, the World Health Organization estimates that 1.3 billion suffer some form of visual impairment, and nearly 36 million are fully blind, defined as visual acuity worse than 3/60.

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Out of Sight is a story from our issue, “Wild Rides.” To read the entire issue, become a subscriber and receive the full magazine. Alternatively, you can purchase the digital version from the App Store.


Huang Sizhuo is a contributing writer at The World of Chinese.

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