China arrests Tibetan university student for writing a critical essay

People take part in the civil service examination at Huazhong University of Science and Technology on April 24, 2011 in Wuhan, Hubei Province of China.
People take part in the civil service examination at Huazhong University of Science and Technology on April 24, 2011 in Wuhan, Hubei Province of China.
People take part in the civil service examination at Huazhong University of Science and Technology on April 24, 2011 in Wuhan, Hubei Province of China.
1st May 2019

A Tibetan student has been arrested after writing an essay which criticises the lack of government job opportunities for Tibetans 

The Chinese government has arrested a Tibetan student at Minzu University in Lanzhou City after he wrote an essay which criticised the falling number of government job opportunities for Tibetans.

The master’s degree student, called Sonam, was forcefully taken from the Chinese university by the Tibet Education Bureau after he wrote the essay for his civil service entrance exam, sources told Tibet Watch.

His work has been posted to social media and went viral on a range of platforms including WeChat.

While Sonam’s location and condition are unknown, sources confirmed he is still being held and that his arrest was linked to the content of his essay, Tibet Watch said.

Despite announcements by local authorities of rising employment, Tibetan students have been expressing growing frustration over a lack of government job opportunities available to them in the last two years, the source said.  

In the middle of 2017 China ended a full employment commitment which was created by the  previous party secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Region, Chen Quanguo. Since then total numbers of advertised jobs in the TAR fell from more than 10,000 before 2017, to 5,844 after the commitment ended.

The original employment commitment enabled the ruling Chinese Communist Party to recruit higher numbers of police in Tibet and construct new security infrastructure, but the policy is believed to have been expensive.

The change combined with growing numbers of applicants for government jobs has reduced opportunities for Tibetans who can find it difficult to compete for government jobs with Han students.  

Han applicants often have better Chinese fluency and can be more assimilated into the culture, giving them an advantage over Tibetan competitors.

This has left a large segment of Tibetan university graduates, particularly from rural areas, in a difficult position, Tibet Watch said, adding that some find work in family businesses or service jobs, but the majority remain unemployed.

Tibet Watch said the position of Tibetan university graduates in China is “precarious” as a result, and that the CCP has been overly sensitive to criticism of the situation from the Tibetan community.

Information supplied by Tibet Watch.

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