City govt seeks overseas officials

By Deng Jingyin Source:Global Times Published: 2012-9-12 0:25:05

Officials from Beijing Tourism Administration at the Summer Palace. Foreigners and overseas Chinese can now apply for a position within the administration. Photo: CFP
Officials from Beijing Tourism Administration at the Summer Palace. Foreigners and overseas Chinese can now apply for a position within the administration. Photo: CFP

Beijing government has announced that for the first time, it is allowing foreigners to apply for positions as government officials.

Both foreigners and overseas Chinese are welcome to apply for a government talent program, which is designed to attract overseas scholars and entrepreneurs for seven special positions in the Beijing government, the Global Times confirmed with the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Human Resources Tuesday.

"It's the first time that we've decided to recruit senior managers and specialized talents from overseas to work for the government. It doesn't matter if you are Chinese or not," the bureau's media officer, surnamed Cui, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

If the candidate can meet the requirements, he or she can apply. Successful applicants will be employed as assistants to senior officials or as the director of some major projects.

Despite this, the job information is only posted in the Chinese language on the HR bureau's website, and on, a site that recruits people from overseas for jobs in China.

According to Cui, in 2012, they set aside seven special government positions in the tourism, transport, health, information technology and commerce departments for the applicants. 

Requirements include having worked for at least five years in senior professional technical positions or senior management positions.

The type of person the scheme is targeting include those who have worked as professors or research fellows in overseas universities and research institutes, or as senior executives at overseas government departments, international organizations and enterprises. The upper age limit for applicants has been set at 55 years old.

"They won't be employed as civil servants but they will sign a temporary contract with the departments. We haven't set a salary standard for them, so they [candidates and employers] can negotiate over the salary conditions," Cui said.

Among the seven positions, Beijing Tourism Administration (BTA) said it wants to hire a director for tourism development, to establish better connections with international cities. 

"We have the demand to find talented individuals with international experience, but this is the first time we've tried to recruit in this way," said a BTA official surnamed Fan, who is responsible for human resources.

"If a foreigner can meet our requirements for this job, he definitely can apply for it," Fan said, although he could not reveal any salary details.

However, Renaud de Spens, a sinologist from France, told the Global Times that this type of government position does not interest him, although some foreigners might think working for the Chinese government is a good opportunity.

"I don't think the government will offer a good salary and it's only a short-term contract, but if I can establish some connections with the government or other companies via this job which may be helpful for my future development, I'd consider applying," said de Spens. 

Chinese candidates for official positions should undergo a background "political check," which includes looking at the records of parents or grandparents.

But de Spens said that he thinks this type of background check would be off-putting to prospective foreign candidates.

"I can't accept that; it would violate my privacy," he said.

Gong Weibin, a professor with the Chinese Academy of Governance, said that many foreigners have been working in companies and universities in China, but he still thinks this recruitment process is a breakthrough for the Beijing government. 

"This program should be encouraged. It represents the government's open vision and is a new attempt to attract talented people to the government," Gong told the Global Times Tuesday.

"It's a new way for the government to recruit people, as opposed to just appointing them to a position," he noted.

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