Each member of the China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe (CDPPAT) has a remarkable story, and the CDPPAT’s sign language host, Jiang Xintian, is no exception. Born in the summer of 1984, the infant girl was a source of great joy for her parents and family. And yet, due to a cruel twist of fate, a treatment with an anti-thrombotic needle robbed the child of her hearing at 3 months of age. Clinging to hope, her mother, Zhao Lin, went to every hospital seeking help for her daughter, but nothing could be done.
It was her daughter’s cry that turned the tide of despair and sorrow in her mother’s heart, and she vowed to give her child a happy life, finally accepting what had occurred. Soon, Zhao was training Jiang to practice vocalization by letting her feel the vibration of the vocal chords in her throat. When Jiang finally uttered her first sound, “Mum,” at age three, her mother was overjoyed.
As Jiang was growing up, she faced humiliation by children mocking her disability, and yet she prevailed, her self-image and confidence intact. After reading Helen Keller’s autobiography and learning how she overcame the challenge of being deaf and blind then achieved her dreams, Jiang wrote in her diary, “I will face my life as Helen did.”
In March, 2003, Jiang won the title of “Chinese Top Ten,” “Best News Focal,” and “Special Honor” in the 52nd Miss Universe China Contest, praised for her confidence, beauty, and optimism. The headquarters of the Miss Universe Contest named her “Special Image Ambassador of the 52ndMiss Universe,” and she also won the title “Figure of Chinese Women” that year.
Jiang Xintian joined the China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe in 2004, becoming their sign language host, and addressing audiences around the globe with elegance and grace, while “listening” to the world with her pure heart.
She was at the closing ceremony of the Athens Paralympics Games in 2004, and used sign language to invite people from around the world to come to China in 2008. And on August 28 four years later, she was an emissary of the Paralympic torch relay lighting ceremony in Beijing.
On August 28, 2008, China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe undertook the Flame Lighting Ceremony of the Beijing Paralympic Games and all the arts performances. Jiang Xintian is the flame-collecting messenger. She stretched her arms up to the heaven and down to the earth, expressing the profound respect and worship to heaven and earth. She opened her arms to hug the sunshine, presenting best wishes to human beings.
Jiang watched herself on TV that night, and saw how she had looked up to the sky while holding the torch high. She would later confide that she did that to hold back the tears and ease her emotions at this pivotal moment – a little deaf girl had become a superstar. And yet, for Jiang, her life’s journey is not about that: She doesn’t seek fame, or the glory of being a great artist, instead, she just wants to do more for disabled people.