China Association of the Blind estimated over 17 million people in the country are visually impaired, while World Health Organization said about eight million Chinese are said to be completely blind – which is roughly equal to the entire population of Switzerland.
In a report by CNN World, a blind Chinese man named Yang Kang considers himself as one of the lucky ones among China’s millions of blind people because he has a guide dog. With his busy schedule making a living and running errands, it would have been impossible to live well without a furry companion.
In fact, guide dogs are so rare in China – yes, even rarer than giant pandas – that they only had about 200 dogs in service as of April, according to a report by state broadcaster CCTV.
Yang had to wait for five years to have his own furry guide dog. Service dogs are so rare that one guide dog is equal to 85,000 Chinese people who have partially or fully lost their eyesight.
In comparison to other countries, the United States have one guide dog in 50 blind and visually impaired people, while Britain trains 1,000 guide dogs each year for a total of 36,000 people who are registered as blind or partially sighted.
Although the country has made progress in recent years, Chinese cities are still far from becoming disabled friendly.
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