Zhang Haidi, chairwoman of the China Disabled Persons' Federation, was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of York on Saturday. Zhang, a role model for the country's disabled people, got the award for her achievements in literature and her efforts in promoting the wellbeing of people with disabilities. The conferment was held at the university's 2013 graduation ceremony in Beijing. Zhang, who got paraplegia during childhood, obtained a master's degree through self-study in 1993. She is also the author of several novels. "The award is an encouragement as well as an acknowledgement to the cause of China's disabled people," said Zhang at the ceremony, adding she hoped to see continuous cooperation between York and the federation on the wellbeing of disabled people. This is the third time that the University of York, in England, has held a graduation ceremony in Beijing exclusively for Chinese graduates. The other occasions were in 2008 and 2010.