WASHINGTON—Dozens of ethnic Tibetans staged protests this week outside government offices in the Qinghai provincial capital, Xining, in western China, accusing authorities of favoritism and discrimination in filling the few jobs available.
Some 70 Tibetans from Xunhua Salar Autonomous County, including many college graduates, launched a protest July 11, in front of the Qinghai Provincial Government office in Xining, asking for jobs, witnesses told RFA's Tibetan service. All but eight were sent home late Wednesday, July 13, the sources said.
Several county officials contacted by telephone refused to confirm or deny that the protests had occurred, but they denied that the eight missing youths had been arrested.
The Tibetans come from, among other areas, the Do-Bee, Se-Ching, and Bui-Do localities of Xunhua Salar Autonomous County in eastern Qinghai—home to most of the roughly 88,000 ethnic minority Salar people who migrated from Central Asia to China centuries ago.
According to an unconfirmed eyewitness account, police arrested and beat up eight Tibetan youths on July 13.
They included a youth identified as Dukar Kyab from Karing, whom police were said to have identified as a ringleader and beaten badly. No further information was immediately available.
Sources in the region said Tibetans believe young Tibetan graduates are disproportionately represented among the unemployed in Xunhua Salar Autonomous County, mostly since 2000.
Of 100 government positions opening this year, only 17 went to Tibetans, while ethnic Salars and Han Chinese filled the rest—many of them having completed only a high school education, the sources said.
The Tibetan college students have accused authorities of discrimination and nepotism in hiring, and they say most local officials are Salars or Han Chinese.
A spokesman for the Xunhua Salar Autonomous County government told RFA that all county jobs had been assigned based on examination results since 2000.
According to Chinese government records, more than 100,000 people live in Xunhua Salar Autonomous County, most of them Salars.
Xunhua Salar Autonomous County is the birthplace of the previous Panchen Lama, who reinstituted Tibetan as the medium of instruction in the local Tibetan schools.
Since his death on Jan. 28, 1989, Chinese authorities have been reverting to Mandarin Chinese instead, although some schools have refused to comply.
Original reporting by RFA's Tibetan service. Service director: Jigme Ngapo. Web story in English by Sarah Jackson-Han