A few weeks ago I wrote a post about guide dogs in China and the reasons why the program would not work. However when I wrote that I never expected my concerns would become problems so quickly, yet that appears to be exactly what happened. A recent article from China Daily shows that Shanghai's plans on training guide dogs has hit a major stumbling block.
One of the main problems are the laws, which don't have a clause in them like in the US and Europe allowing guide dogs access to all public places. The article states that "city laws that ban dogs from streets, parks and public transport could prevent the guide dogs from carrying out their duties." Hmm, didn't anybody think of this ahead of time? The Shanghai Association for the Disabled representative is confident those laws can be amended to allow guide dogs public access, but I wouldn't be so sure. Even if they do change the laws, without enforcement in every case, the law is meaningless.
What you need more than anything is to promote knowledge. At the end the article talks about free white canes, but the problem is so few people actually know that those mean the user is blind. There is also the need to promote safe usage of canes and getting around amongst the blind. Oh well, like a lot of things in China, what is seen as most important is racing to catch up, in this case by having guide dogs like the rest of the world, instead of having a solid plan that is people-centric.