Brill’s Encyclopedia of China

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(941 words)

Allusions to congenital and acquired disabilities are documented in China's earliest written sources, the oracle bones from the 2nd millennium BCE. Throughout history, sources confirm that people in pre-modern China suffered from chronic diseases, problematic dental deformations, impaired vision and hearing, speech impediments, paralysis of the extremities, and physical disfigurations, and that they largely recognized these disabilities in themselves and others.

Two contradictory tendencies concerning the treatment of disabled people can be discerned hist…

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Linck, Gudula, “Disability”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of China, Managing Editor English Edition: Daniel Leese. Consulted online on 30 November 2022 <>
First published online: 2008
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004168633, 20121018

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