Han Chinese Continue to Dominate Top Leadership Positions in Xinjiang

October 6, 2005

Minorities are still underrepresented in Xinjiang's party and government leadership, according to a series of reports on the State Ethnic Affairs Commission (SEAC) Web site. The reports were intended to highlight the progress of minorities since the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region was founded on October 1, 1955, but often give the opposite impression. A report entitled "Xinjiang's Hetian Prefecture Rigorously Trains and Promotes Minority Cadres", for example, notes that the Hetian Prefecture Party Personnel Office promoted 28 "outstanding minorities" to the post of township director, 368 to posts as deputy Party secretary or deputy government head at the township level, and two to deputy director positions at the county level. Minorities account for 65 percent of the prefecture's "township leadership ranks," according to the report. The author, however, neither provides the percentage of minority Party members nor discloses whether or not minorities hold any leadership posts at the prefectural level. The article boasts that the prefecture uses its minority personnel effectively by sending outstanding minority cadres to assume leadership positions in remote, harsh, "complicated" areas where security concerns are greatest.

The Hetian Government Web site says that Uighurs account for 96.53 percent of the prefecture's total population, and that the prefecture has 6 counties, 1 municipality, and 86 townships. Han Chinese, therefore, constitute less than 3.5 percent of the prefecture's population, yet hold 66 percent of the top-ranking government positions at the township level and 100 percent of senior government posts at the county level. Moreover, the absence of any reference to minorities holding top Party positions at any administrative level suggests that Han Chinese continue to dominate these influential positions.

The discrepancy between the number of Han Chinese and minorities holding leadership positions is particularly striking when compared to a report posted on the SEAC Web site by the Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (Kardze) government in Sichuan province four days before the Hetian report. Although the Party also carefully controls the selection and training of ethnic Tibetan officials, in Ganzi, where Tibetans account for 77 percent of the total population, according to official sources, minorities hold 30 of the 36 top Party and government positions at the county level. (72.2 percent of Party secretaries and 94.4 percent of the county government directors are minorities.) The two articles each use the same wording and structure to explain how their prefectures have prepared a corps of ethnic "reserve cadres," have trained minority personnel, and have "utilized" minorities by promoting them to leadership positions. The Hetian article adds a fourth paragraph on "effectively controlling" minority personnel by reviewing their personnel dossiers each year.

"340,000 Minority Cadres' Talents Put to Good Use in Xinjiang," posted on the SEAC Web site by the Xinjiang Ethnic Affairs Commission on September 21, provides figures on minority representation within the government throughout Xinjiang. The article reports that ethnic minorities constitute 52 percent of the Region's "cadres corps" (a term used to refer to all Party and state employees), a more than 100-fold increase since 1950. Although the article says that minorities hold 85 percent of the "government leadership posts" in Xinjiang, it provides no figures for minority representation within the Party. A September 27 posting on the Xinjiang Propaganda Office's Web site says that ethnic minority groups constitute 60.13 percent of the total population of Xinjiang.