Starting in 2008, the Chinese Communist Party’s Department of Organization and the Ministry of Education have been sending twenty thousand college graduates per year to be “village officials” for a period of five years. The purpose is to build an army of grassroots communist cadres and to ease unemployment for college graduates as well. Ironically, being enrolled in a college or university is the only means for a rural Chinese to be able to obtain resident status in the cities.
The “college graduate village officials” are usually “officials’ assistants” rather than real administrative officials. However, they receive annual subsidies ranging from 5,000 (US$ 766) to 15,000 yuan (US$ 2,296). After three years, they can choose to leave the village and may receive extra benefits if they get permanent government jobs or apply for a post-graduate program.
Source: VOA, April 9, 2011