Thursday, July 24, 2008

China increases web accessibility for blind people

The China Daily reports July 24 that an "Information Accessibility Action" event has been jointly initiated by China Disabled Persons' Federation (CDPF), BOCOG, Internet Society of China, China Communications Standards Association and China Foundation for Disabled Persons. The goal is to enable people with visual impairments to access the latest news and information about the Beijing Games.

The delegation to Beijing Paralympic Games is the largest in Chinese history" a gentle voice reporting the latest Olympic news to 58-year-old Beijing retiree, Shi Yuhua, which she prompts with computer keyboard Tab key.

"I though my visual disability precluded me from ever surfing the Internet," Shi, who lost her vision years ago due to measles, said.

She can now surf the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games' official website to her heart's content enjoy, thanks to the many major websites in China involved in information accessibility transformation.

Participation by the CDPF and Beijing Games' official websites in the country's first batch of accessible websites enables people like Shi to listen to the information on them, with the help of screen-reader software.

Other major websites and leading Internet portals, such as,,,, and have made similar adaptations.

"Helping visually impaired people to surf the Internet reflects the underlying Games' concepts of a people's Olympics and hi-tech Olympics," Tang Xiaoquan, executive vice-president of BOCOG and vice-president of CDPF, said.

"The Beijing Olympic Games boosts the development of China's information accessibility movement, which started five years ago and is still at a nascent stage. We hope more websites and companies will join in," Xi Guohua, vice-minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said.