Officials from ethnic minority groups are offered equal opportunities and play an active role in China's political affairs, said an expert from Liaoning Academy of Social Science (LASS).
The country had about 2.8 million officials from ethnic minorities, said LASS president Bao Zhendong, himself a Mongolian, in an interview with Monday's Guangming Daily.
Officials from different ethnic groups enjoyed equal opportunities in training and promotion, he said.
Since 1978, the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) had run annual training programs for local officials from ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, Tibet, Yunnan, Qinghai and Mongolia.
Since 1990, ethnic officials in less developed provinces were offered posts in central government departments and more developed coastal provinces for about six months. This year, 131 officials took part in this program.
Bao said Xinjiang had about 3,000 officials from ethnic minority groups in 1950. The number soared to 46,000 in 1955 when the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region was established, and was now estimated at 348,000, accounting for 52 percent of the region's total officials.
In Xinjiang, about 86 percent of officials at municipal and county levels and 55.36 percent of officials at regional level were ethnic minorities, he said.
While succeeding in their political careers, officials from ethnic minorities bore the responsibility to maintain ethnic harmony, Bao said.
"They should set good examples as they have their reputation and influence among their own people," he said. "I noticed that many Uygur officials worked hard with their Han colleagues to protect common people and maintain social stability during and after the riot in Urumqi on July 5. They are admirable."
They grasped the true nature of the riot, he said. "It is not an ethnic issue nor a religious one, but about the country's unity and people's safety."
(Xinhua News Agency July 20, 2009)