Chinese authorities in the troubled northwestern region of Xinjiang have launched a massive nationwide recruitment drive seeking tens of thousands of new police officers, civil servants, teachers, academics, and airline staff.
Dangling incentives like free housing, household registration documents, and bonuses, the Xinjiang regional government alone is recruiting more than 12,000 staff out of the 30,000 or more jobs now on offer.
Most of the jobs listed by the search engine Sohu require applicants to pass a "political test," while the scope of the advertising and benefits appears geared to majority Han Chinese from elsewhere in the country.
China Southern Airlines has begun a mass recruitment drive for staff, including security personnel, with "relaxed conditions" and unlimited numbers of air crew/security officers wanted, the article said.
Some 1,500 secondary school teachers are being recruited in Xinjiang's Karakash county on three-year contracts, while Guma county promises that candidates will be exempt from any written examination, and that their relocation expenses will be paid.
And police in Toksun and Aktu counties are expanding a recruitment drive begun in the region earlier this year, with hundreds of new police officers and administrative staff wanted, the article, which compiled recruitment notices from across the region, said.
An official who answered the phone at the Hotan county education bureau confirmed the recruitment drive in his area.
"If that's what it says on the advertisement, that's how much the salary is," the officer said. "We are looking for people from elsewhere in China, and we pay 5,865 yuan/month for a graduate, and we also supply free housing."
"We are looking for teachers from elsewhere in China now," the official said.
The recruitment drive will further boost the population of Han Chinese migrants in Xinjiang, which is home to millions of Turkic-speaking, mostly Muslim Uyghurs, who complain of routine discrimination and restrictions on their culture and religion under the ruling Chinese Communist Party's increasingly heavy-handed rule.
'The front line'
Beijing-based rights activist Hu Jia said the authorities are focusing in particular on education in addition to law enforcement, because the government regards it as the "front line."
"In education, it's possible to move people around to different postings, especially out to the ethnic minority regions," Hu said. "Education is the front line of ideological work."
"An infusion of ideology can change the way people think," he said. "Their stability maintenance strategy includes short-term, medium-term, and long-term stability planning, and they are getting started on the longer-term goal of disseminating their ideology through education."
In March, officials in Xinjiang’s Hotan prefecture launched a drive to recruit additional auxiliary police officers, as those already employed worked around the clock in the wake of recent violent attacks, sources told RFA.
A Feb. 15 attack by three Uyghurs in a residential area of Guma county in Hotan left five passersby dead and another five injured, with the attackers themselves shot dead by police, according to state media reports.
The attack appears to have been motivated by anger at threats by local officials to punish the attackers for praying with their family, an activity outlawed by authorities in an effort to restrict Muslim religious practice in northwest China’s Xinjiang region.
On Feb. 16, authorities in nearby Keriye county announced a move to add 254 additional auxiliary members to its police force, with 204 jobs reserved for ethnic Uyghurs and 50 spaces held for Han Chinese, local media reports said.
China has vowed to crack down on what it calls religious extremism in Xinjiang, and regularly conducts “strike hard” campaigns including police raids on Uyghur households, restrictions on Islamic practices, and curbs on the culture and language of the Uyghur people, including videos and other material.
While China blames Uyghur extremists for terrorist attacks, experts outside China say Beijing has exaggerated the threat from the Uyghurs and that repressive domestic policies are responsible for an upsurge in violence there that has left hundreds dead since 2009.
Reported by Qiao Long for RFA's Mandarin Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.