Planet China

Spotty record

‘Failing the physical’ took on a new connotation in Hunan province recently as news broke of a candidate who failed to get into the police force in Xiangxi Autonomous Prefecture. According to the Beijing News, the candidate aced the written test and the interview, but was then ruled out as unfit for police work owing to the physical test. Couldn’t climb a six foot wall? Lacked the required reflexes? Less than 20-20 vision? None of the above were the reasons given. No, he was flunked for facial acne. The Beijing News queries whether such a provision is even legal, noting that under the law civil servants need only be in ‘normal physical condition to perform duties’. That, it says, has nothing to do with their appearance. In the case of the police, the newspaper admits, ‘special standards’ do apply, such as not having tattoos. But the newspaper remained unconvinced by the reason given for failing the candidate, namely that he possessed “skin diseases that affect the appearance and are difficult to cure”.

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