Tang Ting, 28, became the first hearing-impaired person in China to pass the national bar exam in 2020. She will become a full-fledged lawyer after a year’s probation. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
Tang Ting, 28, the apprentice of China's first sign language lawyer, Tang Shuai, made history recently when she became the first hearing-impaired person in China to pass the national bar exam. She will become a full-fledged lawyer after a year's probation.
Tang Shuai, who hears normally, became China's first sign language lawyer in 2012, allowing him to provide legal advice to the many hearing-impaired people in his native Chongqing and beyond.
Over the past nine years, he and his team have served about 100,000 deaf people through various channels, including social media platforms.There are only a handful of sign language lawyers in China to serve the 27 million Chinese with hearing problems.
In 2017, Tang Shuai hired five college graduates with hearing disabilities to train them as legal professionals to serve their community. Tang Ting was one of them. From neighboring Sichuan province, she entered Tang Shuai's law firm as a legal assistant after receiving a bachelor's degree in special education from Chongqing Normal University.
Tang Shuai (center) talks to Tang Ting (right) via sign language at his law firm in Chongqing. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
Tang Shuai provided the graduates with a job and an opportunity to study, as well as all the materials they needed to pass the bar exam.
"It is very challenging for deaf people to study law because of their generally weak education background," Tang Shuai said. "I hired dozens of deaf people in the past three years. Some quit in a month and some gave up after a year of study."
But Tang Ting persevered and realized the dream of her mentor. Over the past three years, she got up at 6 am to study law and kept at it until 10 pm.
"Many people think that it's impossible for a deaf person to become a lawyer," she said. "My success proves that we deaf people can do it if we put in a lot of effort."