James has another Aeon peice up, this time about the treatment of disabled people in China: a familiar tangled knot of popular and cultural prejudice, systemic dysfunction and commercial sharp practice:
But even when the CDPF has been able to act, corruption, prejudice, and poor administration have limited its value. National regulations mandate that 1.5 per cent of employees at larger businesses must be disabled, or else the enterprise faces a fine. Collecting these fines was left up to the CDPF, which seldom had sufficient clout to get the money. In 2008, however, the tax authorities were made responsible for collecting the fine, and revenues jumped significantly. They passed the funds back to the CDPF, which suddenly found itself flush with cash. Yet distressingly little of this money has made its way to people with disabilities. Instead, it was squandered, as John Giszczak outlined for me, on ‘a whole bunch of firms [which had sprung up] selling pseudoscientific “therapeutic” equipment to the CDPF at overinflated prices. Now CDPF centres have warehouses full of it, brought for millions of yuan and entirely useless.’
Read, as they used to say, the whole thing.