Based on an entirely unexplored source of data, this paper analyses the evolution of Tibetan representation and preferentiality within public employment recruitment across all Tibetan areas from 2007 to 2015. While recruitment collapsed after the end of the job placement system (fenpei) in the early to mid-2000s, there was a strong increase in public employment recruitment from 2011 onwards. Tibetans were underrepresented within this increase, although not severely, and various implicit practices of preferentiality bolstered such representation, with distinct variations across regions and time. The combination reasserted the predominant role of the state as employer of educated millennials in Tibetan areas to the extent of re-introducing employment guarantees. We refer to this as the innovation of a neo-fenpei system. This new system is most clearly observed in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) from 2011 to 2016, although it appears to have been abandoned in 2017. One effect of neo-fenpei, in contrast to its predecessor, is that it accentuates university education as a driver of differentiation within emerging urban employment. The evolution of these recruitment practices reflects the complex tensions in Tibetan areas regarding the overarching goal of security and social stability (weiwen) emphasized by the Xi–Li administration, which has maintained systems of minority preferentiality but in a manner that enhances assimilationist trends rather than minority group empowerment.

, , , ,,
The China Quarterly
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Fischer, A. M., & Zenz, A. (2017). The Limits to Buying Stability in Tibet: Tibetan Representation and Preferentiality in China's Contemporary Public Employment System. The China Quarterly, 1–25. doi:10.1017/S0305741017001710