© 2015 Taylor & Francis. This social-historical study aims to enrich contemporary knowledge of the history of the Paralympics in modern China. In addition, the paper also seeks to understand policy and politics through the development of the Paralympics movement. To achieve these aims, a comparison and contrast between a social approach and an elite approach is provided in order to assess which approach is better in terms of current challenges facing Paralympic sport in China. This study adopts a qualitative approach and uses grounded theory as its research process. Interviews and archival material are used to gather information relevant to this study. Critical theories such as enlightenment theory, empowerment theory, and Hosking's critical disability theory, are then used to interpret the findings. The conclusion is that Paralympic sport in China has greatly benefited by an elite approach. However, after this approach enlightened Chinese society with modern disability theory, it is the time to move on to a social approach for the welfare of all people with disabilities in China.