As world leaders gather at the UN General Assembly to review the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of stamps featuring the artwork by the disabled were launched Monday at the headquarters of the world body, the first one of which showcases a well-known Chinese dance.
"United Nations stamps are unique envoys to spread ideas and inspirations," Liu Jieyi, China's permanent representative to the United Nations, said at a press conference to launch the stamps.
"As world leaders convene here, these stamps send out important and special messages," he said. "They embody the UN's commitment to the well-being of disabled people."
The UN Postal Administration selected artists from around the world with incredible stories that highlight the positive power of full and equal participation of people with disabilities.
Under the theme of "Break Barriers -- Open Doors," the six stamps include paintings and photos by disabled artists and an image of the "Thousand-handed Goddess," a dance work performed by 21 Chinese artists with hearing or vocal disabilities.
Praising the dance as a showcase of the inner strength of people with disabilities to overcome difficulties in pursuing their dreams, Liu said the stamp underlines China's economic and social achievements today.
"It speaks volumes of the UN's dedication to the well-being of people with disabilities all over the world," he said. "It also demonstrates the UN's appreciation of China's social development, especially for people with disabilities."
The ambassador said the Chinese government attaches great importance to the well-being and fulfillment of people with disabilities.
"Chinese President Xi Jinping has laid out the blueprint for the Chinese dream to achieve prosperity and people's well-being, a dream for all Chinese people, including 85 million with disabilities," Liu said, noting that in the pursuit of the Chinese dream, the Chinese government will be firmly committed to helping the disabled achieve a better life.
Monday's launch came amidst a high-level meeting held by the General Assembly on disability and development to raise awareness about UN efforts in ensuring equality and inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of society and development.
The Chinese envoy said vigorous efforts are under way to incorporate goals for the disabled into the Post-2015 Development Agenda, which the world body and its members are working hard to hammer out as the 2015 deadline for achieving the eight anti-poverty targets, known as the MDGs, is coming.
Zhang Haidi, chairwoman of the China Disabled Persons' Federation, said the commemorative issue highlights the dignity and value of people with disabilities.
The stamps "underscore the vision of equality, participation and integration as well as the concept of social inclusion," she said. "It will surely contribute to the promotion of rights of people with disabilities and advancement of disability movement across the world."
As for the stamp of the "Thousand-handed Goddess," performed by artists of the China Disabled People's Performing Art Troupe, Zhang said: "It signifies that the UN Postal Administration highly recognizes the achievements of the work for people with disabilities in China as well as the special art created by this social group."
Founded in 1987, the Performing Art Troupe carries the dreams of people with disabilities and pursues art in a special way. Its large-scale stage performance "My Dream," which includes the "Thousand-handed Goddess," has created a worldwide sensation.
"My Dream" has been presented at more than 150 performances during its tour in over 10 countries each year. It has brought beauty, inspiration and joy to the audiences of 81 countries so far.
For his part, Stephen Cutts, UN assistant secretary-general for the Office of Central Support Services in the Department of Management, said these miniature works of art are not just small pieces of paper.
The stamps provide a powerful communication tool that helps visually draw attention to varied causes in which the United Nations is involved, he said.
"Today's issuance is another example of how postage stamps have a unique ability to tell a story," Cutts said. "In this case, it is a remarkable story of talented artists who, despite obstacles, have shown how to be achievers."