Efforts to rid civil service of biases

Updated: 2011-11-29 07:23

By Chen Jia (China Daily)

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BEIJING - Applicants for government jobs will not be hired unless they prove they are qualified, regardless of their background, says a senior public servant recruiter.

"This year, 92 percent of the civil servants who were employed came from common families," Nie Shengkui, a senior official at the State Administration of Civil Service, was quoted by the Xinhua News Agency as saying on Monday.

Efforts to rid civil service of biases


About 29 percent of them came from rural families and nearly 16 percent came from worker's families, he said.

"Evaluations (of whether an examinee is suitable for a government post) are always made in accordance with the principles of fairness and justice."

In 2011, women made up 40 percent of the people who were hired for government jobs, which was the percentage the administration had called for, Nie said.

He said that shows the government is serious about protecting female applicants' rights and about giving them influence in policymaking.

This year, more than 7 percent of new government employees came from ethnic groups, he said.

He said the civil servant exam is supposed to be a competition among potential administrative workers. He said the qualifications that applicants must meet have been adopted to ensure the people who are hired can do the jobs assigned them.

For example, police officers on airplanes are to be from 1.75 meters to 1.85 meters tall, a height range that enables them to check baggage racks, he said.

His remarks came in response to a survey released earlier by the China University of Political Science and Law's constitutional research institute. The poll looked at alleged discrimination in the national civil servant exam.

"Some discrimination is caused by loopholes in social institutions such as hukou (permanent residence permit) and social insurance," Liu Xiaonan, chief of the institute, said on Sunday.

"Some prejudice comes from the fear of some diseases and ignorance about them," said Yu Fangqiang, the founder of Tianxiagong, a Nanjing-based group that advocates for HIV carriers, on Monday.

For example, HIV carriers may not become civil servants, he said.

"Even people suffering from 'ordinary' diseases, like diabetes, are faced with discrimination even though that doesn't affect their daily work as a civil servant."

In a separate case, three people said they were denied teaching jobs because the employers they had applied to discovered they had HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. In response, they sent a petition to Premier Wen Jiabao, asking him to end such discrimination. It was delivered on Monday by mail to the State Council's Legislative Affairs Office.

The three signatories to the document have also sued against their local governments over the rejections. They said they were denied the positions even though they had passed written tests and interviews meant to prove that they were qualified for the work.

Courts have already ruled against two of the men. They had filed their suits in 2010, one in Anhui and the other in Sichuan.

In the third legal action, which was filed in Guizhou, a judge said in October that the courts "will not accept the lawsuit and that the plaintiff should ask the local government to solve it", Yu told Reuters.

Yu said that discrimination against HIV carriers, especially in civil-service recruitment, is "still a very big problem".