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China's "lefties" seek support on Left-Handers Day
Last Updated: 2017-08-14 08:16 | Xinhua
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Before entering the subway, Lin Pan swiped his transit card on the machine, only to have the gate next to him open -- a common nuisance he encounters as a left-hander.

"We are living in a world for right-handers," said Lin. "The shutter on the camera is on the right, the mouse of the computer, the accelerator of a vehicle, as well as the design of scissors -- these are mostly based on the habits of right handers."

He started a website, "Left-Handed China," in 2013 to speak for his fellow "lefties." The website posts articles and research on left-handedness and collects complaints from left-handers.

The site now has more than 28,000 registered members and organizes events every Aug. 13 for International Left-Handers Day.

"By setting up the website, I wanted to clear up the misunderstandings about left-handers," Lin said.

For a long time, being left-handed was deemed "wrong" in parts of China, especially rural areas.

"My teacher used to try to force me into using my right hand, and until now, I often feel nervous when I deal with changes in my life," Lin said.

Even now, Lin sometimes receives calls from parents concerned about their kids' "unusual" habits.

"They called me up and said their children have experienced a lot of inconvenience at school, and I persuade them to give up the idea of correcting their kids' left-handed habits," he said.

It is estimated that one in every 10 people is left-handed, which means there are at least 130 million lefties in China. Their needs have long been neglected.

"I am very regretful that I forcibly corrected my son's left-handedness," Han Yamei told Xinhua.

"I found my son using his left hand to eat, hold items and draw when he was three years old, so I always put the pen in his right hand when he practiced writing," she recalled. "It took him a year to change the habit."

"I did this because I didn't want him to be bullied at school, but now I believe it is better to let it be," she said.

Most people no longer view left-handedness as abnormal, and parents are educated that they should not intervene in the handedness of their children.

"Our left brain takes charge of language and logical thinking, while the right brain controls our cognition of space and geometry, as well as artistic abilities such as painting and music. If we modify their behavior by force, it may lead to reading disability and stuttering," said Wang Ya, a counselor at the Anhui Children's Hospital.

"Society is becoming more inclusive and left-handers are no longer 'hiding' their habits in the crowd," said 31 year-old Zhang Liguo, who is left-handed.

But still, lefties want more understanding and friendly facilities in their daily lives.

"In many developed countries, the kindergarten teachers ask the children about their handedness and offer proper assistance. They also have textbooks instructing the children how to hold a pen with their left hand. We still have much room to improve in China," said Lin.

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