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

III. Full Respect for Workers' Job Preferences

Workers' job preferences have always served as an important reference for the local government of Xinjiang in designing its employment policies, expanding employment channels, creating jobs, organizing vocational training sessions, and providing placement services. This ensures that the people can make their own choices about work and enjoy a happy life. 

Forming a comprehensive picture of the local labor resources. The local government has constantly improved the statistical indicators for measuring employment and unemployment. It has put in place systems for monitoring labor resources in rural areas, employment in enterprises, and supply and demand on the human resource market, and has set up an unemployment monitoring and alert mechanism accordingly. Based on the labor offices at township/sub-district and village/community levels, local authorities have established basic information on the number, age, gender, education level, and employment status of the workforce in their respective jurisdiction. The monitoring and survey results serve as reference for formulating employment policies and plans. Surveys show that by the end of 2019, Xinjiang had a surplus rural workforce of 2.59 million people, among whom 1.65 million were in southern Xinjiang, accounting for almost two-thirds of the total. 

Keeping track of the job preferences and needs of workers. The local government conducts regular surveys of the job preferences of workers, to keep track of their expectations in terms of location, position, salary, future prospects, and working and living environment. This allows the provision of more targeted services, aiming for the best possible match between employees and positions and promoting long-term stable employment. According to a survey in early 2020, with a population of 3,540, the Aybagh Village in Gulbagh Town, Shache (Yarkant) County, Kashgar Prefecture, had a workforce of 1,509 people, of whom 1,288, or 85 percent, were interested in working outside their county. Among these people, 923 wished to do factory work in the expectation of an average salary of about RMB5,000; 365 preferred to make a living by making naan bread, engage in catering or the dried fruit business, or pursue a career in the performing arts. 

In 2019, a survey in three villages of Baghchi Town, Hotan County, Hotan Prefecture counted a total population of 5,307, with 1,699 people capable of work, of whom, 1,493, or 88 percent, were keen to work outside their home villages. Of the remainder, 180 preferred to work locally in township enterprises, village factories, or poverty-relief cooperatives offering an average monthly salary of RMB3,000; the other 26 wished to start businesses locally, engaging in transport and logistics, property management and household services, construction, hairdressing, catering or retail stores. These indicators give the government a clearer understanding of the job preferences of workers so it can better satisfy their individual needs, effectively promote the orderly flow of the workforce, and improve employment stability and job satisfaction. 

Building employment information platforms. The local government has built an extensive contact network with employers to collect and collate job information, which is released timely with the help of information technology through the human resource market, public placement agencies, online service platforms, radio, TV, village and community bulletin boards, enabling people to look for the jobs that suit them best. 

For example, the Aksu Prefecture has released job and candidate information on its public placement service portal and its WeChat account, to build two-way selection platforms for employers and employees. Since 2014, it has organized 621 job fairs, attracting 4,953 companies, providing over 145,000 job opportunities, and helping 38,600 people to find work. A poor villager named Habibulla Mamut from Aykol Town of Aksu City applied for a position with an electrical appliance company in Hangzhou at a local job fair, was offered the post, and earned RMB55,000 that year, raising himself and his family out of poverty. 

Bolstering public employment services. The local government has built a well-defined, dynamic, five-tiered public employment service system for employers and employees, which is well-coordinated at all levels and covers every part of Xinjiang. It has also expanded its services in areas such as policy advice, employment and unemployment registration, career guidance and recommendation, and skills and business startup training. By the end of 2019, there were 144 human resource markets at the county level or above, 149 job placement agencies on the farms of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, and 8,668 primary-level labor offices across Xinjiang, providing employment services to more than 21.73 million people that year. 

Preventing and punishing any incidents of forced labor. China's Criminal Law, Labor Law, Labor Contract Law, and Public Security Administrative Punishment Law all stipulate that the following actions are strictly forbidden and will lead to administrative punishments: forcing a person to work by means of violence, threat, or illegal limitation of personal freedom; or affronting, physically punishing, beating, illegally searching or detaining an employee. Should it be established that a crime has taken place, the perpetrator will be subjected to a criminal investigation. Xinjiang strictly observes the relevant laws and regulations of the state, providing information on the law through education campaigns, strengthening the legal awareness of employers and employees, and conducting routine inspections to ensure that labor laws are enforced. The goal is to bring the establishment, management, supervision and arbitration of labor relations under legal scrutiny, and take resolute action to prevent or punish any incidents of forced labor. 

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