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    Candidate Tells Civil Service Their Recruiters Are Too Literal

    Job applicant rejected because her master’s degree was in comparative literature instead of Chinese literature.

    Bureaucrats cop criticism around the world for being offensively officious — and China is no exception.

    The city of Xuzhou in eastern China’s Jiangsu province has disciplined officials and ordered its human resources bureau to apologize after a woman sued for hiring misconduct. The applicant, Ji Yuan, was rejected for a public service position in 2016 after excelling in recruitment tests. She was told at the last minute that the role required a degree in Chinese literature — while her master’s was in comparative literature.

    Though Ji’s university verified that the major was a subcategory under Chinese literature, the judge ruled Friday that the bureau had sound reasons for rejecting Ji’s qualifications — though it found other wrongdoings in the recruitment process.

    The high-profile case has attracted public attention, with even Party paper Guangming Daily commenting that interpreting qualification requirements too literally was inappropriate. Others have reported similar experiences with public service recruitment: In April 2017, an applicant for a teaching position in eastern China’s Jiangxi province was told that her major in world history didn’t qualify, as the role required a general history major. After media exposure, the city government apologized and included the candidate in the next round of interviews.

    China has recently vowed to clean up public sector hiring, which is fiercely competitive and sometimes fraught. Over the years, there have been repeated accusations that the recruitment process is bureaucratic, unfair, and lacking in transparency. Ji is likely to appeal, according to Beijing Youth Daily.

    Editor: Qian Jinghua.

    (Header image: Women wait to be interviewed at a job fair in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, Nov. 20, 2013. An Xin/VCG)