Full Text: Employment and Labor Rights in Xinjiang

White Paper

China issued a white paper on employment and labor rights in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Thursday.

XinhuaUpdated: September 17, 2020

II. Implementation of Proactive Policies on Employment

In recent years, Xinjiang has formulated and put in place economic and social development strategies conducive to expanding employment, and has improved various policies to facilitate employment, with the goal of helping local people achieve stable, continuous, and long-term employment. 

Upgrading the industrial structure to increase employment. Xinjiang has seized the development opportunities brought by the Belt and Road Initiative to diversify its industrial structure, promoting capital-, technology- and knowledge-intensive advanced manufacturing industries and emerging industries, boosting labor-intensive industries such as textiles and garments, shoes and accessories, and consumer electronics, and encouraging modern service industries such as e-commerce, cultural and creative businesses, all-area-advancing tourism, health care, and elderly care, all with a view to expanding the capacity and scale of employment. 

In 2012, Xinjiang Zhundong Economic and Technological Development Zone was established, utilizing competitive resources to develop six pillar industries, including new materials and new energy. By the end of 2019, the development zone was providing employment for more than 80,000 people. Since 2014, the state has given strong support to Xinjiang's textiles industry, which created 350,000 new jobs from 2017 to 2019.

Prioritizing the development of agro-product processing and electronics assembly, Kashgar Prefecture has attracted related enterprises to its industrial development zones (IDZs) and helped them expand their production to rural areas. By the end of 2019, the prefecture had 210 agro-product processing enterprises providing 16,700 jobs, and 1,406 industrial enterprises located in the various IDZs providing 84,100 jobs. 

Aksu Prefecture has been integrating industry and vocational education, offering joint education programs by textile and garment enterprises and vocational schools, and has facilitated employment for 32,400 people. 

Assisting key groups to obtain stable employment. Xinjiang has adopted a policy to encourage surplus rural labor to work in or near their hometowns, developing "satellite factories" and "poverty alleviation workshops" in light of local conditions to create jobs, supporting rural organizations for labor service cooperation to facilitate employment, promoting IDZs to stabilize employment, and developing tourism to boost employment. 

Xinjiang has launched a three-year program to intensify its poverty alleviation efforts in 22 extremely poor counties in its south and 4 extremely poor regimental farms under the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps. From 2018 to June 2020, the local government helped 221,000 people from registered poor households in southern Xinjiang to find work outside their hometowns. In Kashgar and Hotan prefectures, a three-year relocation assistance program from 2017 to 2019 for both urban and rural surplus labor helped 135,000 people to find jobs outside their hometowns. 

Xinjiang has provided dynamic, categorized and targeted assistance to people having difficulty finding work and to zero-employment households in the entire autonomous region -- having each and every one of them identified, registered, assisted, and ensured stable employment. From 2014 to 2019, Xinjiang provided jobs for 334,300 urban residents having difficulty finding work, and ensured that zero-employment households found jobs within 24 hours once they were identified. 

For university graduates, Xinjiang has implemented a number of plans to facilitate employment and the creation of new businesses, to guide them to work and grow at primary-level organizations, to encourage them to take up primary-level posts in education, agriculture, health care, and poverty alleviation in rural areas, and to help long-term unemployed youth find jobs. In 2019, the employment rate of university graduates in Xinjiang reached 90.4 percent, and the employment rate of ethnic minorities who graduated from universities in other parts of China and returned to Xinjiang reached 95.1 percent, both figures representing record highs. 

Encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship to generate employment. Xinjiang promotes innovation as a new engine for creating jobs, and advances reform to streamline administration, delegate power, improve regulation and upgrade services. To encourage people who are eager and eligible to start their own businesses, the local government eases market access, improves policies in support of business startups, and sees to it that guaranteed loans, interest subsidies, allowances and tax breaks for startups are implemented. Xinjiang fosters platforms for innovation and entrepreneurship, improves capacity building for startups, and develops makerspaces which are market-oriented, professional, integrated and networked, to provide young entrepreneurs with more platforms and equal access to services. 

Currently, Xinjiang has 5 business incubation demonstration bases at national level and 27 at provincial and equivalent level, which have fostered 1,412 micro and small businesses and created more than 10,000 jobs. Xinjiang supports innovation-driven startups and entrepreneurs as capable job creators, and encourages Internet plus entrepreneurship to multiply employment opportunities. 

In 2019, Hotan Prefecture alone issued RMB910 million guaranteed loans for business startups, which helped 12,500 people to start businesses, including university graduates, rural workers and people having difficulty finding work. Xiao Min and five other women from Changji City, Changji Hui Autonomous Prefecture founded a human resources service company. It has become a leader of the local labor supply chain, integrating human resource services, dispatch of labor, logistics outsourcing, policy consultancy, and IT application. It has more than 4,800 employees from various ethnic groups and serves 318 enterprises and public institutions across the whole of Xinjiang. It has provided jobs for more than 30,000 unemployed and surplus rural laborers, and has created a total value of RMB156 million. 

Providing vocational training to facilitate employment. Based on the market demand for labor, Xinjiang focuses on improving employability of workers and promoting stable employment. It has developed a complete system of vocational education and training, including colleges for higher vocational and technical education, secondary technical schools, technical institutes, job placement training centers, employee training centers, and vocational education and training centers, with the goal of raising the basic quality of trainees and organizing training oriented to specific demands, jobs and employers. In 2019, Hotan Prefecture alone provided vocational training for 103,300 farmers and herders, of whom 98,300 found work, with an employment rate of over 95 percent. 

Leveraging institutional strengths to expand employment channels. China has institutional strengths that promote equality and mutual assistance among all ethnic groups towards common development and progress. It has also formed a mechanism in which better-developed provinces pair up with and provide assistance for various parts of Xinjiang. Fully leveraging these strengths and this mechanism, Xinjiang coordinates jobs in and outside the autonomous region, to create favorable conditions for its local residents to work in other parts of China. 

Since 2014, 117,000 people in Xinjiang have achieved employment with higher income in other parts of the country. Following the principle of "providing training according to market demand and before dispatching workers", Xinjiang has organized employment-oriented training on standard spoken and written Chinese, relevant legal knowledge, general knowhow of urban life, and labor skills. Recipients of relocation assistance are provided by their employers with daily necessities and proper accommodation. In some provinces, enterprises provide them with public rental housing, low-rent housing, or housing for couples. Xinjiang provides timely registration and certification services for those who find employment through relocation assistance, to facilitate their medical care in their host provinces. Employers and host provinces help guarantee their children's access to kindergartens and schools, and help them integrate into local life and share local resources. 

Securing employment and public wellbeing in the face of Covid-19. In response to the impact of Covid-19, Xinjiang has coordinated epidemic prevention and control with social and economic development. It has worked hard to stabilize employment, finance, foreign trade, inbound investment, domestic investment, and market expectations, and has put in place measures to guarantee jobs, daily living needs, food and energy, industrial and supply chains, the interests of market players, and the smooth functioning of grassroots government. The local government has taken multiple measures to alleviate economic difficulties and stabilize and boost employment, and adopted policies offering periodical and targeted cuts in taxes and other employer contributions, aiming to facilitate the resumption of production and business activities, and increase employment generated by investment and industries. 

Through all these measures, Xinjiang has achieved significant progress in increasing employment and ensuring public wellbeing while implementing Covid-19 control on an ongoing basis. This can be exemplified by the following statistics as of the end of June 2020:

-- cuts of some RMB7.6 billion to old-age insurance, unemployment insurance, and work-related injury compensation insurance paid by enterprises, which represents a 50 percent reduction of RMB1.9 billion for large enterprises, and a complete exemption of RMB5.7 billion for micro, small and medium enterprises. 

-- approval to 1,237 enterprises in difficulties to postpone the payment of their social insurance premiums, totaling RMB706 million. 

-- reimbursement of unemployment insurance premiums of RMB904 million to 83,100 enterprises, benefiting 1.8 million employees. 

-- provision of various employment subsidies totaling about RMB1.7 billion to 552,400 people. 

-- creation of 339,700 new jobs in cities and towns, 41,800 new businesses hiring 69,500 employees, and jobs for 31,600 people with difficulty finding work. 

-- placement of 2.6 million surplus rural workers through relocation, a year-on-year increase of 46.1 percent. 

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