01 May 2010 01:39:56 GMT
BEIJING, May 1 (Reuters) - Applicants for official jobs in China's restless far western region of Xinjiang must be able to communicate in both Chinese and one of the local languages, state media said, as Beijing tries to soothe ethnic tensions.
Xinjiang's capital Urumqi erupted in violence last year leaving around 200 people dead, as majority Han Chinese fought Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim people who call the region home.
Decades of migration have massively raised the number of Han who live in Xinjiang. But few of them speak Uighur, or any of the other languages spoken there, a cause of resentment for minorities who have to learn Mandarin if they want to prosper.
Many Uighurs resent Chinese controls on their religion, culture and language.
"The regulation will enable officials to better serve the people, encourage the learning of languages and promote exchanges between people of different ethnic groups," Xinhua news agency quoted government spokesman Kang Tingfeng as saying.
Candidates for government jobs who fail to meet the language requirements will have to go on a three-month course to get their abilities up to scratch, the report added.
"After the training, the candidate's language abilities will be tested again. If the candidate fails the test again, he/she will be given another opportunity to study in the following year's training programme. If the candidate fails the test a third time, his/her job application will be rejected," it said.
Some parts of Xinjiang, like the heavily Uighur city of Kashgar, have had these requirements for years, Xinhua added.
Similar rules also exist in Tibet, another restless area of Chinese control. (Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Ron Popeski)