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Cartoons for the Disabled, Glimpse of China's Full-Process People's Democracy

By VIVIAN YANWANG, XIAOYANICHONGQING|Nov 05,2021

Chongqing- People with disabilities, including the deaf and mute people, shall enjoy the same human rights as everyone else, including their accessibility to all areas of society and life, and securing equal citizenship for all, according to the World Federation of the Deaf and Swedish National Association of the Deaf. This global consensus further demonstrates China’s “whole-process people’s democracy.”


For 144 deaf and mute families

“How to strengthen the legal awareness of the deaf and mute people is a focus of our grassroots legislative work,” said Ni Xiaohong, Director of Ciqikou Sub-district Work Committee, Standing Committee of Shapingba District People’s Congress. “I think this also serves as a powerful embodiment of the realization of democracy in the whole process.”

According to Ni, in response to the particular situation of 144 deaf and mute families living at Cijian Village of Ciqikou Street in Shapingba District, the Ciqikou Sub-district Office has invited the famous Chongqing cartoonist You Jiang to present the rigid legal clauses from the Civil Code of the People’s Republic of China (Civil Code), through his hand-drawn comics about the rule of law.

This allows the deaf and mute people to easily understand the protection of their various rights in a graphical, narrative, and interesting way.

“In addition to the hand-drawn comics, we have a dedicated contact person who is able to use sign language to better communicate with the deaf and mute group at the Ciqikou,” said Ni. “We collect their feedback and thoughts to solve their most urgent problems.”

Enhancing citizens of all kinds to participate in the legislative process, it is important for disadvantaged groups, like the deaf and mute crowd, to get a comprehensive idea about fundamental legal rights they enjoy first and foremost, said Ni.

Ciqikou ancient town, also a famous scenic spot in Chongqing. (iChongqing file photo)

Whole-process people’s democracy

Strengthening the legal awareness of the deaf and mute crowd in Chongqing, no one will be excluded in China when engaging in the process of social participation and legislative dissemination.

The country’s application of democratic principles follows an approach Chinese President Xi Jinping has termed “whole-process people’s democracy.” The concept was put forward about two years ago, during Xi’s visit to a civic center in Shanghai. 

Specifically, the “whole-process people’s democracy” enables the Chinese people to broadly and continuously participate in the day-to-day political activities at all levels.

Through informing people with disabilities about the current law system in China, this is to ensure they can better participate in the political consultation and decision-making processes through understanding their legal rights and the meaning behind them.

Legal comics with local dialects

“In the contemporary era full of rich visual elements, I think it is very effective to convey information through a form of comics which I am good at, with some Chongqing dialects,” said You Jiang, a famous cartoonist in Chongqing, also works as the Executive Vice President of Chongqing Cartoon Society. “Especially, I can use cartoons to convey the meaning of the Civil Code and its essential provisions involved, allowing the deaf and mute crowd to easily comprehend.”

You Jiang, a famous cartoonist in Chongqing, also works as the Executive Vice President of the Chongqing Cartoon Society. (iChongqing/ Wang XIaoyan)

You told us, one of his memorable hand-drawn comics was the prohibition of usury loans, where he drew a pirate looking through a telescope, holding a fishing rod to lure the targeted disadvantaged groups in society.

A hand-drawn comic about the prohibition of usury loans. (iChongqing/ Wang Xiaoyan)

“The Civil Code has clearly stated that ‘usurious loans are prohibited, and the interest rate for lending shall not violate the relevant regulations of the State,'” said You. “In most of the people’s mind, we often think of pirates as swashbuckling and daring or evil and brutish robbers, so I used such way of drawing to compare this risk of possible fraud.”

Furthermore, You thinks that the Code aims to better protect individuals’ personal information and property, make it easier to sue for divorce or sexual harassment, and delineate a clearer boundary between markets and the government.

“Especially for our deaf and mute crowd, they all have equal rights to live a better life with expectations and desires,” said You. “So they must understand the Civil Code through enjoying the care brought to them by society, government, and people, getting more protection of their rights.”

In his paintings, You continued to disclose some immoral behaviors in society while promoting positive phenomenons and spirits, good family-style and ethics, and decent habits from the traditional society.

“I believe our society will move towards a better tomorrow,” said You.

Better understanding on civil rights

“I feel that our country is progressing, and the legal environment is getting better and better,” a 76-year-old deaf and mute lady Wang Hongqun, who is a resident at Ciqikou Street, using sign language, told us.

“Through participating in the rules of law activities organized by the Ciqikou Sub-district Office and reading You’s cartoons,” said Wang. “I got a chance to understand laws related to civil affairs, including property, marriage, family, personal rights, and inheritance.”

One of the rules of law activities organized by the Ciqikou Sub-district Office for the deaf and mute crowd. (iChongqing/ Wang Xiaoyan)

Wang thinks this has broadened her horizons and enriched her knowledge of how her lawful civil rights and interests can be further enhanced.

For example, Wang now realized that private property lawfully owned by a natural person should be transferred through inheritance in accordance with the law. The right to inheritance is equal no matter what the sex is and whether they are the children born in or out of wedlock. 

The Civil Code was passed by the 13th National People’s Congress on May 28, 2020, and took effect on January 1, 2021.

The Civil Code is a comprehensive collection of existing laws and regulations and judicial interpretation related to civil activities and relations, including but not limited to property rights, contracts, marriage and family, succession, tort, and personal rights.

This not only legislatively establishes the central position of civil law in the Chinese legal system, but it also symbolizes that the construction of Chinese law and democracy had entered a new stage.

(Zhang Yue, as an intern, also contributed to this report.)

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