Tibetan Graduates Edged Out by Chinese Competitors for Jobs in Tibet

tibet-letter2-060118.jpg A letter sent in 2018 by Tibetan students in Qinghai asks that more bilingual teachers be hired, with more classes taught in Tibetan.

Tibetan university graduates are facing increasing difficulty finding jobs in Tibetan regions of China, with Han Chinese flooding job markets and civil service exams slanted more and more toward Han applicants, sources say.

Few Tibetans now find employment in the coveted government sector in Tibetan areas, a source in Tibet’s Chamdo prefecture recently told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

“In 2018, there were 40,000 applicants in the Tibet Autonomous Region alone who sat for the entrance exam for positions in the Chinese civil service,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“However, only about 3,000 passed their exams to become eligible to be considered for government positions.”

With more Chinese university graduates now coming in to Tibetan areas to compete for jobs, ethnic Tibetans are allowed fewer opportunities and have lost their competitive edge, the source said, adding, “Last year, the majority of Tibetan university graduates were left unemployed.”

Also speaking to RFA, a Tibetan living in the Yulshul Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture  of China’s Qinghai province said that between 20,000 and 30,000 Tibetan and Chinese university graduates sat for civil service exams in the prefecture last year.

“Entry level government jobs pay from 6,000 to 7,000 yuan [U.S. $893 to $1,042] per month, and the number of applicants has increased over the years, with the number of Chinese applicants now astronomically high,” the source said, also speaking on condition he not be named.

“And applicants from other Tibetan areas in Qinghai and in Amdo are also coming to compete,” he said.

Lost opportunities

The majority of Tibetan applicants are unable to find work in private companies and corporations, including high-tech firms or industry, in Tibet, the source said. “And therefore, for most university graduates, getting a job in the government sector is their main priority.”

“But due to the sheer number of Chinese applicants taking the civil service exams in Tibet, a majority of the Tibetan graduates lose their opportunity to work in the government,” he said.

“The number of applicants for the civil service exams is much higher than in the recent past,” a college student in Tibet’s Nagchu prefecture agreed. “Besides, the questions on the exams are becoming much more difficult.”

Requirements for proficiency in Mandarin Chinese in testing and consideration for employment have further disadvantaged Tibetan students, as China seeks to promote the dominance of Chinese culture and language in Tibetan areas, sources say.

Language rights have become a particular focus for Tibetan efforts to assert national identity in recent years, with informally organized language courses typically deemed “illegal associations,” and teachers subject to detention and arrest.

Reported by Lobsang Gelek for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Richard Finney.

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