By Stephen G. Fellajuah
Chinese Ambassador to Liberia Amb. Ren Yisheng has underscored that persons living with disability be given the deserving respect and support by the society, to better their livelihood and light their spirit.
Amb. Yisheng made the statement when he officially handover to the National Wheelchair Basketball Federation a newly constructed and modern wheelchair basketball court.
“Respect persons living with disabilities because they too have something meaningful to contribute to the society to make it better”, Amb. Yisheng urged Liberians.
The People’s Republic China through its Embassy accredited to Monrovia over the weekend officially handover a newly constructed and modern wheelchair basketball court to the Liberia National Wheelchair Basketball Federation (LNWBF).
The official handover ceremony was held on February 3, 2023, and attended by the Chinese Ambassador to Liberia H.E. Ren Yisheng, D. Zogar Wilson, Minister of Youth and Sports, Mrs. Florence M. Thornes, Board Chairperson of LNWBF, Amb. S. Lionel Johnson, President, and CEO of LNWBF, and Mr. Yu Zhengguo, Manager of China Jiangsu Provincial Construction. Co., Ltd.
The gesture is part of the China-Aid wheelchair basketball court to Liberia National Wheelchair Basketball Federation.
In his subsequent statement, he indicated that the Chinese government has always attached great importance to the cause of persons with disability.
“Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China(CPC), the Chinese government has continuously improved laws and regulations for the promotion and protection of the rights and interests of persons with disability, strengthened the leadership system, and increased investment in this regard. At present, the coverage rate of basic rehabilitation services for the disabled and the adaptation rate of auxiliary devices in China have exceeded 80%”, Amb. Ren explained.
Echoing that China has also vigorously developed sports for the disabled, the Ambassador indicated that at the Beijing Winter Paralympic Games held last year, the Chinese delegation won 11 gold medals and 61 medals in total, ranking the first in the medal list of the Winter Paralympic Games.
Mr. Ren stressed that the progress do not only demonstrates the great achievements of China’s sports for the disabled, but also is a strong proof of the historic achievements of China’s human rights cause.
In recent years, according to Ambassador Yisheng, China-Liberia friendly, pragmatic and win-win cooperation in various fields has been fruitful, and humanistic exchanges have been active.
He mentioned that the fourth presidential and legislative elections since the end of the Liberia civil conflict will be held in October this year, saying we trust that the elections will be conducted in a fair, free and transparent manner.
In concluding, he said, “We hope the elections will provide an important opportunity for Liberia to strengthen her national cohesion and unity and speed up economic and social development. China will continue to strengthen the exchanges and cooperation between our two countries, including in the areas of the cause of persons with disability. We will also continue to support the work of LNWBF.”
On behalf of the Liberian government, Minister Wilson expressed his gratitude to the Chinese government and stressed that the Ministry of Youth & Sports would continue to support the development of sports for the disabled, and hope that under the leadership of LNWBF, Liberian wheelchair basketball players could participate in more international competitions and create good results in the future.
Mrs. Florence Thornes and Amb. S Lionel Johnson, in separate statements, on behalf of all members of LNWBF, extended heartfelt appreciation to the Chinese government. Both, Thornes, and Johnson pointed out that the LNWBF has been facing difficulties such as insufficient funds and equipment for a long time, which according to them, has seriously restricted the development of the organization.
Now, with the help of the Chinese government, they have obtained a new venue for athletes to train, which is a great encouragement for the development of the cause of the disabled in Liberia. LNWBF is willing to work with the Ministry of Youth Sports and international partners, wheelchair basketball as an important platform, to make more disabilities have the ability, they added.
Later, in a cheerful and warm atmosphere, ambassador Ren, together with Minister Wilson, Mrs. Thornes, and Mr. Johnson, cut the ribbon for the basketball court, and took a group photo with LNWBF members.
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