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Official denies turning down "introverted" job seeker

(Xinhua)

11:17, May 12, 2012

XINING, May 11 (Xinhua) -- A local government official has denied reports that his office refused a job seeker's application because of her "introverted character," an allegation that has sparked intense criticism.

In the latest scandal to hit China's government worker selection, Huang Hong, a high scorer in the country's civil service exam, was reportedly declined entrance into a government office for her demeanor in March.

Huang, a graduate from Renming University, said her scores in written exams and an interview ranked her first among other candidates for a job in the Qinghai Bureau of China Insurance Regulatory Commission

But Huang was later told she was too "introverted" for the position, and the bureau recruited three other candidates despite their inferior performance to Huang in interviews, according to a story published in China Youth Daily on Thursday.

The report has received millions of comments on Sina Weibo, China's popular Twitter-like service. Some netizens questioned Huang's refusal as unfair discrimination against shy personality traits, indicating Chinese attitudes continuing to turn against introversion, until recently valued in the country. Others blamed rampant corruption in the selection of government workers.

"It's just another ludicrous excuse for turning down applicants who lack good 'guanxi' (family and personal influence)," said one Weibo user.

However, Feng Mingchang, a director at the Qinghai Bureau, told Xinhua on Thursday that his office's applicant selections were not made on such grounds, and that applicants' performance in previous positions had also been considered.

But Feng declined to comment on the specific reasons for disqualifying Huang or for picking others at her expense.

China's civil servant jobs, which the public consider decent and stable positions, have become highly sought-after amid the increasingly grim employment situation in recent years.

Last year, 1.33 million applicants sat the National Public Servant Exam to compete for 18,000 vacancies around the country. Those who passed then attended tests and interviews organized by government departments to select their employees.

Many reports, however, have pointed to the creation of whimsical rules and direct interference at the latter stage to manipulate the result. In 2004, Hunan province asked civil servant applicants to have "symmetrical breasts," a rule that triggered an outcry for unfairly ousting many women.

In April, a court in Shanxi province handed two officials jail terms for taking bribes and tampering with results of a physical test in order to disqualify a candidate during civil servant recruitment last year.

In the case, two human resources officials in Changzhi city falsified the blood test result of Song Jiangming in order to ensure that the runner-up candidate would be recruited instead.

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