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A Post-90s Girl Became the First Hearing-Impaired Lawyer in China丨Story

By DENG, YANICHONGQING|Aug 03,2022

Chongqing – Tan Ting, a post-90s girl, lost her hearing because of a medical accident at eight. Due to financial constraints, she could not attend rehabilitation training for dysaudia. Everyone around her is pessimistic about her future. Years later, however, Tan Ting now works for a law office in Chongqing and has set up a social media account in sign language to educate hearing-impaired people about the law, gaining tens of thousands of followers.

China’s first hearing-impaired lawyer

The National Judicial Examination in China is well known for its high quality and low pass rate, with an annual pass rate of 10% to 15%. It was incredibly difficult that Tan Ting, not majoring in law and with a hearing disability, still passed this examination.

To prepare for this examination, Tan spent three years studying. As Tan recalled, seeing the words in the book made her physically dizzy and vomit. Those who studied with her for the examination gave up one after another. Before the exam, Tan’s mother was hospitalized with cancer. After leaving the examination room, she rushed home to accompany her mother.  

In 2020, Tan passed the National Judicial Examination and became the first hearing-impaired lawyer in China.

Tan and her family, the second one on the right is Tan. (Photo provided to iChongqing)

Promoting hearing impaired people’s knowledge of laws

This is the quietest live room on the internet. Thousands of people are online simultaneously, having a heated discussion without sound. Tan is providing live streaming to promote knowledge of laws. Her hearing-impaired followers keep asking questions, and she uses sign language to answer them one by one nimbly.

Tan promotes the knowledge of laws with live streaming. (Photo provided to iChongqing)

Usually, people associate the image of lawyers with the battle of words in court. Tan had a dilemma after she got the qualification to practice as a solicitor – how could she defend clients in court without being able to hear?  

Tang Shuai, Tan’s career guide, woke her up with the words, “appearing in court solves only a temporary problem, but promoting knowledge of laws is a lifelong effort. The significance of it is much greater than appearing in court.”

Tang Shuai (left) communicated with Tan (right). (Photo provided to iChongqing)

Since both of Tang’s parents are deaf, he grew up as a bridge between the non-disabled and the soft listeners and became China’s first sign language lawyer in China to provide legal services for the deaf. According to him, hearing-impaired people have the right to access public legal services and the need to enhance their understanding of the law. There is a need for an increase in knowledge of laws in China, especially among the 30 million people with hearing loss. He gave Tan a clear position to encourage the promotion of this knowledge.  

Tan took on the mission. She created accounts on several social media platforms and began filming short videos about the knowledge of laws and providing live coverage to answer her followers’ questions.

Aside from followers who came for help, the live stream was also attended by “old friends” who had solved problems with Tan’s kind assistance.

Last month, one of her followers asked Tan, “Do you remember me?” Tan realized this was someone she had helped in 2018. Despite that follower’s limited literacy and communication difficulties, he couldn’t describe what he had experienced to the police after being robbed. Using sign language, Tan communicated with him and helped him write down what happened so he could hand it over to the police and file the case.

To shine in the legal profession

“It’s a joy to be able to help others.” Tan Ting opened WeChat, which shows 4000 friends, most of whom are the hearing impaired, seeking legal advice.

A girl from northwestern China miscarried after marriage because of violence. Her relationship with Tan has grown since she sought divorce advice from Tan. She is now living a happy and prosperous life.” Tan beamed with pride as she told the story.  

“Even if life leaves us with cuts and bruises, we must remain optimistic and strong.” No matter what the future holds, Tan has no time to daydream. She has a clear and heartwarming goal right now – “to ensure that hearing loss people are no longer treated as outsiders and that people should not forget every small group.”  Tan Ting is willing to be a guide in the legal profession to bring the knowledge of judicial ethics into the world of silence.

Tan (left) provided law service to people. (Photo provided to iChongqing)

(Liu Jingjing, as an intern, also contributed to the report.)

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