40 Percent of New Civil Service Positions "In Theory" Reserved for Ethnic Minorities in One Xinjiang Prefecture

August 17, 2005

At least 40 percent of all new civil servants (other than teachers) recruited through civil service examinations in the Bayingguoleng Mongolian Autonomous Prefecture in Xinjiang must "in theory" be ethnic minorities, according to a July 27 decision announced by the prefectural government. About 42 percent of the prefecture's total population are minorities. The decision also pledged to grant tax incentives that the Xinjiang government approved in 2002 to enterprises that increase their total workforce by at least 25 percent with new minority hires.

Most of the July 27 decision’s provisions are designed to find jobs by December 2007 for the 4,490 unemployed high school graduates in the prefecture. Ethnic minorities across Xinjiang have lower levels of educational attainment than the Han Chinese there. Minority students account for less than 45 percent of the high school student population, despite more than 60 percent of the student age population being non-Han. Many minorities complain that they are losing jobs to Han workers, both as a result of uneven educational levels and government policies that give privileges to Han Chinese who move to Xinjiang from other provinces (see here and here for related analysis).

Recent Xinjiang government recruitment policies outside of Bayingguoleng have disproportionately favored Han Chinese, as demonstrated in an April 2005 announcement that 500 of 700 new civil service jobs for posts in predominantly Uighur southern counties would be awarded to Han Chinese.