Unemployment Monitoring and Early Warning: New Trends in Xinjiang’s Coercive Labor Placement SystemsJune 05, 2022
After the successes of the highly mobilizational labor transfer campaigns (2016 -2020), Xinjiang’s current (14th) Five-Year Social and Economic Development Plan (2021-2025) focuses on consolidating, maintaining and expanding these outcomes. In short, those who were coercively mobilized into work placements are now effectively prevented from leaving them.
Xinjiang’s key regional and local Five-Year Plans (2021-2025) reflect the following significant new developments:
A new full employment requirement whereby all persons able to work are to work (previously, this extended to only at least one person per household)
Strong focus on preventing people from returning to poverty through decreased income, through an Unemployment Monitoring and Early Warning System” (失业监测预警机制, shiye jiance yujingji).
Expanded vocational training, increasing average annual training volumes from 1 million to 1.5 million person-sessions (XUAR government, December 14, 2021).
Large-scale promotion of “order-oriented employment skills training” (订单式就业技能培训, dingdan shi jiuye jineng peixun) wherein companies place orders for workers, and the state takes, trains and delivers them to these companies.
Xinjiang’s 14th Five-Year Social and Economic Development Plan orders officials to “persist in combining local nearby employment and transfer and [labor] export employment, causing every able-bodied person to achieve stable employment” (NDRC, June 11, 2021). Similarly, the 14th Five-Year Employment Promotion Plan states the need to “diligently cause every single person who is able to work to realize employment” (XUAR government, December 14, 2021). This expansion is concerning, as those who are currently not in full-time employment often have other duties, including familial responsibilities; shifting mothers and working-age persons in caretaking roles into such work runs a high risk of coercion. The Xinjiang’s Women’s Development Plan (2021-2025), which outlines detailed targets for the “development” of the female population, specifies an expansion of rural women’s labor transfers (National Working Committee, January 24).