‘Together we have arms and legs’: Meet the determined and independent disabled Chinese couple

‘Together we have arms and legs’: Meet the determined and independent disabled Chinese couple

A man without arms and a woman without legs say their determination to build a family life without the help of others has paid off.

The couple from northern China won the praise and admiration of the Chinese internet community after photos of them going about their daily lives on their farm went viral on social media.

Liu Hai and Li Meiwen live on a vegetable and chicken farm in Inner Mongolia and were married 11 years ago.

They have a daughter and refuse donations and help from strangers, saying they hope to teach their daughter resilience and independence.

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“We earn enough money from the farm for the three of us. We do not want to profit off other people’s kindness,” Liu told state-run Xinhua news.

Liu, an army veteran, lost both his arms in an accident at work 21 years ago. Li lost both her legs in an accident when she was 13 and moves with the help of footstools.

Liu tracked down Li after she was featured in a television programme in 2007. “Two of us together have both arms and legs and we’ll be able to live happily together,” he told her when they met.

Chinese social media wished the couple well, saying that their daughter looked very happy in the pictures that appeared on Xinhua news’ WeChat account.

“Even I feel happy after looking at these pictures,” wrote one user.

At least 85 million people in China live with a disability, according to government figures, although human rights organisations estimate the number is closer to 200 million.

While China ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2008 and set a quota to reserve jobs for disabled people, many of China’s smaller businesses are not properly equipped to hire staff with disabilities.

Others employ disabled workers to take advantage of government tax breaks but do little to make those employees part of the workplace.

Barriers to education also remain and some rural schools lack facilities to allow disabled students to attend classes with ease.

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This has led to some turning to the internet to boost their income. Last month, a six-year-old girl gained online fame after videos of her taking care of her paralysed father went viral, with many of her followers sending clothes and other necessities.


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