Making the Forbidden City of Beijing accessible
A group of Young Voices campaigners in China have made history by using social media to make parts of the ancient Forbidden City of Beijing accessible to people with disabilities for the first time.
The Forbidden City is made up of a series of interconnected rooms, many with high thresholds which make wheelchair access impossible. The whole infrastructure is old and uneven, making movement around the city difficult.
The Young Voices used social media sites such as QQ to highlight the accessibility issues to the site. As a result, over 50 people with disabilities went on a group sightseeing trip to the Forbidden City. As they struggled to help the wheelchair users and people with sensory difficulties, the staff working at the site were faced with the reality of how many barriers there were. The staff passed on that message to the senior management who agreed to reinstall and develop the accessibility including ramps and lifts.
Not satisfied with conquering the Forbidden City, the Young Voices are also working with the China Disabled Person Federation to tackle accessibility issues at the Great Wall of China, one step at a time.
Congcong, one of the campaigners says: “Sites like the Forbidden City are of great national and international importance. Everyone has the right to enjoy such beauty. The City is a historic building but now it is also a building of the future.”