Only Pretty, Young Women Need Apply for This Chinese Government Job

By Elizabeth Weingarten

Authorities in Chengdu, China's southwestern Sichuan province, wanted to improve the image of their district. So they're taking a literal approach: Officials decidedĀ  to hire only young, attractive females for provincial law enforcement jobs. The advertisement for the positions offers more specifics: Candidates must be between 18 and 25, over 5'2", attractive, and amicable. Contracts expire when the woman turns 26.

Sounds a lot like modeling. Or blatant discrimination. But the authorities say otherwise.

China's urban law enforcement officers, known as chengguan, have a bad reputation, with many regarding them as little more than thugs. Xindu authorities said they created the women-only team to "present the soft side".

"Their main job is to present a good image so they have to be good looking," said the human resources director of the law enforcement bureau. "And when they get older, they will get married and have children so it will not be convenient for them to do such work. Having them leave at 26 is for their sake."

He insisted it was unfair to describe them as "flower vases" - a Chinese idiom for women who are decorative but of little use. "They need a good temper and communication skills as well," he told a Chengdu news website.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/10/only-pretty-young-women-need-apply-for-this-chinese-government-job/65332/