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No city jobs, but try Inner Mongolia

Rural internships may be the last choice for Indian doctors, but graduates from the Chinese capital are signing up to rough it out in the villages of Inner Mongolia for three years. Reshma Patil reports.

world Updated: May 22, 2009 10:49 IST
Reshma Patil

The three men sitting in a row on a couch inside the Beijing Union University, and chatting with HT, were all named Wang.

The 22-year-old Wang in a white T-shirt will graduate from the College of Automation next month. The 23-year-old Wang in a black T-shirt is a computer science graduate. The third Wang is a university official overseeing a State-run job scheme while the shadow of the global recession spreads over the campus.

Rural internships may be the last choice for Indian doctors, but graduates from the Chinese capital are signing up to rough it out in the villages of Inner Mongolia for three years. A six-year-old developmental ‘go west’ scheme of the Communist Youth League, to send select graduates deep inside the poorest outposts in western China has new relevance during the economic crisis while 7.1 million Chinese graduates search for jobs. And this is just one of the State policies urging Chinese youth to go back to the villages.

Beijing careers are a magnet for Chinese youth, but Wang Wei Dong recently registered to leave the capital to be an agricultural technician in the rugged reaches of Inner Mongolia. He will earn about Rs 7,000 a month (700 yuan) and his tuition fees will be refunded, though the stint may not boost prospects for a future city career. “It’s hard to find a job because of the financial crisis,’’ Wang told HT, adding that the experience would make him a ‘real man’ after being ‘spoilt’ by family as a result of China’s one-child policy.

IT graduate Wang Zi wants to work in Inner Mongolia villages to ‘make China stronger and better,' his ideals a reflection of the Communist Party's nationalistic hold over youth even as the sensitive 20th anniversary of the military crackdown on student activists at Tiananmen Square approaches on June 4.

University official Wang Zijun said that among the 26 finalists from the university, three were computer science majors. The People’s Daily, the Party’s mouthpiece, reported recently that the 96,785 graduates from over 1,000 universities who registered this summer are the highest number in recent years. The maximum of 10,000 registrations came from earthquake-ravaged Sichuan, but over 5,000 also signed up from boomtown Chongqing, China’s largest municipality.