Xinjiang Government Says Ethnic Han Chinese Will Get 500 of 700 New Civil Service Appointments

April 7, 2005

The Xinjiang government will hold open examinations for 700 civil service positions, according to Tianshan Net, a website jointly managed by Xinjiang’s Propaganda Department and the People’s Daily. 500 of these positions will go to ethnic Han Chinese, while ethnic nationalities, which make up over 60 percent of the region’s total population, will fill the remainder. Examinees with the highest scores will go to southern Xinjiang to serve for six-year terms in county and village-level government positions. Uighurs make up more than 95 percent of the population in southern Xinjiang. The government also said that it will not assign successful examinees to their hometowns.

The Xinjiang government says that the new civil examination system will improve the caliber of local cadres, but the system contravenes at least two previous policy guidelines for cadre recruitment in minority areas. First, the new recruitment quotas specifically mandate more than twice as many positions for Han Chinese than for minorities. The State Ethnic Affairs Commission website lists a series of government and party proclamations that minority areas should “rigorously” train and recruit minority cadres until the percentage of minority cadres in the government matches each minority’s percentage of the total population. No guidelines exist that require minority representation in the powerful Communist Party apparatus. Second, the 1993 prohibition against county-level cadres serving in their hometowns specifically exempted minority areas.