Oct 12, 2010

East Turkestan: Increased Levels of Political Representation?

Following the Urumqi riots of 2009, Beijing has raised the minimum representation threshold of ethnic minorities in East Turkestan but questions will remain over who will fill these posts and the real power they will hold.

Below is an article published by People’s Daily Online:

Applications for 34 municipal-level cadre positions in northwestern China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region opened Sunday [10 October 2010], with two thirds of the positions to be filled with candidates from ethnic minority groups.

Candidates from minority groups including Uyghur, Kazak, Hui, Mongolian and Kirgiz may take up the positions.

"Such a large-scale public selection of high-level cadres from minority groups aims to maximize minority ethnic groups' participation in regional affairs," a spokesman from the Xinjiang Autonomous Region Party Committee said.

The positions include the director of the Xinjiang auditing bureau and the vice-headmaster of Xinjiang University. They are all municipal-level positions, which is equivalent in rank to an ordinary city's mayor.

The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region is home to 47 ethnic groups, and minorities make up 60 percent of the region's population of 21 million.

There are more than 363,000 ethnic minority cadres in Xinjiang, about 51.25 percent of all cadres.

Since the ethnic riot last year [2009], ethnic-group elites have been encouraged to take on regional cadre roles. President Hu Jintao emphasized the policy at the central work conference on Xinjiang's development in May [2010].