Xinjiang Tech School Sends Largest Group of Minority Graduates Ever to Jobs in Shenzhen

January 25, 2006

The Xinjiang Chemical Engineering Technical School (XCETS) garnered praise from the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region Propaganda Department for placing 60 minority graduates in jobs in the southern coastal city of Shenzhen, in an April 20 "hot topics" article in Tianshan. According to the article, this group of 60 will be the largest group of minority students that the autonomous region has ever sent at one time to other Chinese provinces for employment. The XCETS graduates heading to Shenzhen are trained in chemical engineering, pharmaceuticals, and "other technical fields." The group represents over 10 percent of the school's graduating class. Lu Guohui, the XCETS party secretary and headmaster, said that the school may send three or four more groups of students by the end of 2005.

The Tianshan article’s author notes that XCETS has redesigned its curriculum and school philosophy in recent years to better address the needs of the national job market, but does not comment on the shortage of technically trained minorities in the Xinjiang labor force. The central government acknowledges the importance of training minority personnel in technical fields as well as in the administrative sector. Numerous Chinese sources have noted that minorities fill a higher percentage of government jobs in the autonomous areas than positions in enterprise management, engineering posts, or other technical non-government posts (see this example from a March 2004 article in the Journal of South-Central University for Nationalities (subscription required). The Chinese government has encouraged an influx of Han Chinese into Xinjiang since launching the Develop the West strategy in 2000, arguing that these Han Chinese workers are necessary given the lack of minorities with technical expertise. Most Western analysts agree that Han Chinese fill the most desirable and best paying jobs in Xinjiang, particularly in the rapidly expanding oil and gas industries and in large infrastructure projects. Although discriminatory policies contravene Chinese law, many offices in the Xinjiang autonomous region post signs seeking workers that say explicitly that Uighur applicants need not apply, according to Radio Free Asia.