||This essay will describe the scope of preferences in China, with particular reference to the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in China’s northwest. Xinjiang borders eight countries and account for one-sixth of China’s territory and 10.5 percent of her minority people. At the end of 1996, the region had a population of 16.9 million of whom 10.5 million or 61.9 percent were minority people, a proportion officially unchanged since the national census of 1990. Its importance to the integrity of the PRC is recognized by the regime to the extent of subsidizing some 50 percent of the Xinjiang’s annual budget (Xinhua, March 14, 1997; Zhongguo minzu tongji nianjian, 1994:158; Li Fang, 1993:17). The essay will also discuss how preferential policies impinge on Han-minority relations. The question of tensions that are supposed to flow from affirmative action will be addressed and a few words will be said about how the Chinese case may inform the international debate about affirmative action.