Blind teenager among top ‘gaokao’ scorers in Shanghai, but his dream school does not accept blind students

Wang Yun, whose hobbies include running marathons and playing the piano, says his impaired vision is ‘a characteristic, not a defect’

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 June, 2018, 4:09pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 June, 2018, 5:27pm

A teenager from Shanghai who has been blind since the age of three scored one of the city’s highest marks in the recent college entrance exam, according to local media.

Wang Yun’s mark in the test, known in Chinese as the gaokao, ranked in the top 10 for the whole of the east China metropolis, local government news website Shanghai Hotline reported.

Braille versions of the exam papers were introduced in 2002, and although the content is the same for everyone, people with sight disabilities are given slightly more time.

To date, every candidate who has sat the Braille test has gone on to land a place at university, the report said.

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Wang said it had been his dream to go to Fudan University in Shanghai, which is one of the country’s most prestigious. Unfortunately for him, as famed as it is, the college does not accept blind students.

He is now hoping to study history and English at East China Normal University, which is one of three colleges in the city – along with Shanghai Normal University and Shanghai Second Polytechnic University – that do.

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While high scores in the gaokao are essential for those seeking places at the country’s top seats of learning, Wang said he had not been too concerned with his final mark and was just happy to have made it through.

“If you consider blindness as one of your characteristics instead of a defect, and dare to challenge yourself, maybe you will be proud of yourself someday in the future,” he was quoted as saying in a separate report by Chinese news website Eastday.com.

Wang was born prematurely and with a medical condition called retrolental fibroplasia, which caused him to go blind at the age of three. After kindergarten he attended the Shanghai School for the Blind, the Shanghai Hotline report said.

Wang’s parents described him as an optimist, whose visual impairment had never held him back. His hobbies included everything from playing the piano to running marathons, they said.

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His mother was quoted as saying that even as a young boy, Wang was able to put his friends at ease about his lack of sight.

“I remember he once introduced himself by saying, ‘I am blind and can’t see you. So don’t be afraid’,” she said.

Wang’s parents always taught him to aim high, the report said.

“Never set limits on yourself or others,” they were quoted as saying. “People are not flawless. Everyone has defects.”