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BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese civil servants will face new restrictions when changing jobs as authorities move to prevent them from using official posts to make personal profit, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday.

Those in leadership positions or at the county level and above will not be allowed to work in businesses or for-profit organizations related to their previous administration for three years after resignation.

Lower-level civil servants should also follow the rules, but with a limit of two years, according to Xinhua.

So-called red-collar jobs are considered stable careers with generous benefits, especially those based in major cities and economically developed regions.

Competition for such jobs are notoriously intense.

As of the end of 2015, China had 7.17 million civil servants, according to Xinhua.

But President Xi Jinping's sweeping anti-corruption drive in recent years has stamped out illicit perks from official posts, making the bureaucratic career path less attractive.

Some civil servants have joined the private sector in the hope of chasing more lucrative deals, while others have set up their own businesses.

In the last few years, the number of applicants for government jobs have also started to ebb, especially among young college graduates.

But applications still exceed a million each year, with the average number of applicants for a single job at around 50.

(Reporting by Ryan Woo; Editing by Michael Perry)

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The citizens' meeting

The citizens' meeting

The citizens' meeting