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Nearly 10,000 vie for a single Chinese civil service post – as a receptionist

Viola Zhou
Tomohiro Ohsumi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Among the 1.3 million Chinese seeking stable jobs in civil service this year, nearly 10,000 are vying for a single post welcoming visitors for one of China's largely symbolic minority parties.

The job in the reception office of the China Democratic League's central committee, the most sought-after post in the civil servant recruitment for 2017, had attracted 9,837 applicants shortly before the application deadline at 6 p.m. on Monday, the China News Service reported.

Although China's anti-corruption campaign has slashed lavish banquets and business travel, positions in official reception offices are still highly desired by young jobseekers facing an increasingly competitive employment market.

The China Democratic League is one of eight minority parties allowed a role in making certain political and policy decisions on the condition that they support one-party rule.

Next year, the league will hire a new staff member to welcome visiting officials and prepare for conferences and other official activities, according to the job description.

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In addition to the status of the Democratic League job and the light duties involved, the position is also popular because of the low qualifications required, Beijing Daily reported.

While many other posts require master's degrees in designated majors as well as Communist Party membership, any bachelor's degree holder with two years' "grassroots experience" can apply for the Democratic League position.

The general office of the Communist Party's central committee is also looking for a receptionist, but applicants must be Communist Party members with degrees in law, economics or management.

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Competition is intense. Of the more than 9,800 applicants for the Democratic League vacancy, only five will be selected for interviews before the hiring committee makes one offer of employment.

Under China's current anti-corruption campaign, the central government introduced a series of frugality rules in 2012, requiring officials to forego extravagant meetings and cut down the size of official visiting groups.

Civil servants in reception departments were among the first affected by the changes. In 2014, a civil service receptionist at township-level in Anhui province told state broadcaster CCTV that he was now able to eat breakfast at home because of the drop in his workload.

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The Huangshan Scenic Area Management Committee transferred two receptionists to other posts in 2013 as fewer officials now visit the tourist site on business trips, CCTV reported.

Zhu Lijia, a professor of public policy at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said government reception departments would continue to downsize because of the anti-graft campaign, but the remaining posts would still attract young people by offering an easy and stable career path.

"At reception, they have the chance to meet different people, including those of high ranking," Zhu said. "That could bring them good career prospects."

In contrast, no applications were received for about 250 of the 27,000 vacancies advertised this year, many of which are low-level jobs in less developed regions, China Youth Daily reported on Monday.

Those struggling to find new recruits include the railway police in Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia, and the customs department in Urumqi, Xinjiang province.

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