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  • Chris McMillan

Shanghai wheelchair dancers find their groove

France 24

8th December 2022

Shanghai wheelchair dancers find their groove

Now, she's a national wheelchair-dancing champion who hopes her story can help change perceptions of the disabled in China.

"People think we face a lot of difficulty going out... and need to rely entirely on others to survive," said the 34-year-old winner of multiple competitions.

"But we actually don't need that much help. And we don't need everyone to look at us as outsiders," adds Shao, a mother who drives her daughter to school each day.

Despite gradually modernising attitudes in China, people with disabilities say they are still treated as outsiders.

Shao trains in Shanghai with a dance troupe comprised of people with hearing or visual impairments, as well as dancers who use wheelchairs.

The troupe aims to combat stigmas by giving disabled people a platform to express themselves through art.

"Some disabled people often feel trapped," said Zhou Ziqiang, 38, a non-disabled dance instructor who started training artists with disabilities in 2006.

"Once they join these groups, they can slowly open up and become closer to society."

In recent years, some local governments have worked to increase the number of fitness programmes available to the disabled, and invested in building dedicated sporting facilities and training instructors.

© 2021 AFP


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