Foreign teachers in China are facing a steep increase in arrests and deportations, according to investigations by the Reuters news agency. Journalists spoke to four China-based law firms, all of which said they have seen a sharp rise (an increase of between four and ten-fold) in requests for representation from foreign teachers in China over the last six months.
Reuters also claims to have seen an internal message circulated among teachers at Education First (EF), which runs 300 schools in China, warning that employees have an increased risk of being picked up for offenses such as drug taking, fighting, and even “cybersecurity violations”.
This memo reportedly came before the high profile arrests of 16 people, including seven foreign teachers, at an EF school in Xuzhou, Jiangsu province, last month.
Foreign teachers in China have been arrested at bars and nightclubs as well as their homes and workplaces after being subjected to on-the-spot drugs tests, the EF notice said.
Recently deported teachers confirmed to Reuters that they were targeted in surprised inspections, sometimes on the very first day they arrived in China.
Advanced drugs tests used by authorities can now detect cannabis from a hair sample for up to 90 days.
Reuters claims the crackdown is part of the central government’s push to irradiate foreign influence in Chinese schools and adopt more patriotic and “clean” practices.
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These arrests don't shock me at all. I worked for EF Education for more than a year, in my area excessive drinking is a daily occurence. Sitting at the pub after work drinking until daylight frequently. Staff using drugs they brought with them from USA especially pot. You can smell it on some people!
Aug 26, 2019 18:39 Report Abuse
Reuters is just stirring the pot and not understanding the culture here. There is a crackdown on corruption against Chinese officials, and the reduction of traditional corruption/illegal practices of business people. China has always been wary of the power that businesses accumulate, and they're right to do so. The vast majority of English training schools in China operate without licenses, or the permission to hire foreigners. They're not registered, and are dodging taxes, by paying bribes to officials or to the criminal elements within Chinese society. Xi has promised to rein in these elements, and English language schools are a very profitable area for such people. Throw in the attempt to reduce the use of foreigners from non-native English speaking countries or those without the required qualifications for teaching. Can't say it's a terrible thing to attempt myself. There's little to no screening of "teachers" at kindergarten or primary levels and there should be. And yes, I've worked in China for over a decade at all levels of teaching, both with Public schools or private language mills like New Oriental, Royal English, and EF. It's just too easy to say this is another crackdown on foreigners. I've seen a variety of them before over the years... this isn't one. Yet. It's simply a crackdown on those working illegally. i.e. non-native English speakers teaching English. China has never claimed to be a free and fair society for all. It's a police state. I don't know why so many people come here, break the rules and be surprised when the authorities bust your balls for it. If you want that fairy-tale reality of yours, perhaps don't pick a country such a China?
Aug 19, 2019 11:46 Report Abuse
I used to work in China on a Z visa from 2009-2012. It is good that the Chinese government has become more strict when hiring foreign teachers. However, I am also wary of the new technology the Chinese government uses to monitor their citizens and foreigners. This new system can be abused. As for some foreigners complaining about the new regulations and the so-called shitty pay they are receiving, I wonder why they are working in China if there is so much to complain about. If they believe they are worthy of more payment with their degrees (if they have any at all), then their home countries can pay them the salary they are demanding from their Chinese employers.
Aug 16, 2019 22:47 Report Abuse
PR nightmare at EF. EF's pay is LOW, 9-15k (first year) and treat foreigners as cow cash, yet they charge high to Chinese customers. Sometimes, I see "Chinese" teacher giving lessons in Business English. I would imagine the lovely accent he/she is delivering to his/her students.
Aug 16, 2019 09:08 Report Abuse
I remember back before for you needed to get your degree and documents stamped by the Chinese embassy this guy I knew worked at EF and they made fake documents for him to bring to HK and get a work visa. And EF is one of the bigger English school chains in china doing that kind of shady shit...you can imagine what the others do. Yeah, and their pay is shit like you said. The one thing they have though is their advertising, that's top-notch. When you search for anything English teaching in china they would always pop up.....well that is before the whole weed scandal thing.
Aug 16, 2019 10:15 Report Abuse
I agree with what the government is trying to do. Sometimes the students concentrate so much on foreign influences that they forget their roots. As for drug tests. Its about time. What took them so long? I do feel very sorry for all the innocent teachers that have to go thought it all but they should please thank the previous idiots that came through China and messed things up. When I started out you simply did a Hong Kong run every couple of months to renew your tourist visa and everything was fine but then all the drug addicts, pedophiles and alcoholics came to China and messed things up. Don't now sit there and blame the Chinese government. They are simply protecting their citizens and should be commended for doing such a good job. I wish my own country would take a couple of lessons from them.
Aug 15, 2019 21:25 Report Abuse
So you admit to breaking the law and working without the proper visa before?? So you were not paying taxes and lying to the parents and students at your school about your residency? What made you so entitled you thought you could go to a foreign country and break their laws?? You're just as bad as everyone else, laws are laws no matter what they are, you cant pick and choose them to suit your conscience. And then rag on people about laws you think should be inforced. You're just a hypocrite.
Aug 16, 2019 06:44 Report Abuse
You need to read more careful. I never said that I did any Hong Kong runs. I was talking about 10 years ago when I worked with the other foreigners and you did not need a working visa to teach in China. As long as you were here legally and your visa was not expired they simply did not care. I have never lied to the parents either about my visa. They are all aware of the fact that I live in China legally with my wife and child As for the laws of China. I have always respected the laws here. You should watch who you call a hypocrite.
Aug 16, 2019 21:38 Report Abuse
So 2009 you did not need a work visa to work in China? It was a free for all? Why did you bother getting a work visa than if the government didn't give a shit? Why do you think the law is so strict now to get a working visa and they are cracking down on "visa runs" to HK and only Native English people can be English teachers? It's because of people like that who were coming here and breaking the law by working illegally by the thousands. Although you think that's Ok to break that law as long as you're not smoking weed or getting drunk? Now I agree pedophiles should be cracked down on hard and drugs users, im with you on that. Last I checked getting drunk is not a crime. These people are also a percent of a percent. It's basically a none issue. It's just an excuse to crack down on foreigners. Even if all the foreigners here were clean as a whistle...they would still find a way to demonize you. Think about it, around 1 million foreigners are living in china, give or take. Most of those are Asian, so people don't even notice them. So let's say 500k are white, black or noticeably foreign. so 500k out a country of 1.7 billion? These are people making the news? This is china's problem? And the vast majority of those 500k are normal people who just stick to themselves and mind their own business. They are just looking for any excuse to come down on you. Now I agree we should not give them a reason to, but they are going to find something anyway because they don't like you here to begin with. Now working without the proper visa is much a much higher percent. Maybe that's the reason they are cracking down? How about all the "teachers" who can barely speak English or the ones who have no idea what they are doing? That's the main reason they are cracking down. Not because of some potheads or whatever. That's just a bit of gas on the huge fire that's already there. Im just pointing out you are picking and choosing which laws you think are ok. Id actually argues that you have it backward. That smoking weed is far less harmful to china than breaking its immigration laws and doing a teaching job you're not qualified for and tricking parents into paying high tuition fee just to have a white or black face teaching English when most of the time their language skills are awful and have no idea how to teach. I think that's far more harmful to society than some asshole smoking some pot in his bathroom or whatever or getting drunk at KTV. Maybe im wrong, I dont know. And ill be a gentleman and apologize for calling you a hypocrite, you still are a little bit lol, but at least you were not breaking the law and then ragging on people for breaking the law. You just think it was ok for them to break some and not other.
Aug 17, 2019 06:26 Report Abuse
Let me tell a quick little story that happened to me a few years back and part of the reason why the laws are the way they are. So I'm working at this school and I just had a demo with these kids. Everything was fine, everyone was happy and had a good time. After this mother came up to me and asked me all these questions, like where you from, what you did in school, do have an ESL teaching certificate, etc. I told her the everything she wanted to know and she still seems like she never really trusted me. She asked if she could see these things. I said sure, the school had everything on file so the owner went and got all the copies of the things like passport, degree ect. And she still never believed it, she wanted to see the originals lol. I told her if she wanted to wait 30 mins I can go home and get these things for you to see. So I went and got everything from my apartment and showed her. After I showed her she seemed very happy and paid right away. I asked the lady why she was so suspicious of all this...she told me she brought her son to another schools demo and the school told her that the teacher was from America and had a bachelors degree in education, well turns out the guy was from russia and never had a degree or a tefl or anything. She found this out because she was the wife of a government official and she could have the school checked and found out. I know people today that have this same setup. The school tells them to say they're Joe from Canada instead of Boris from Russia or whatever. This is a common practice. I dont agree with that at all. Just tell the truth, but they wont because they can get more money from a Joe from Canada than a Boris from Russia.
Aug 17, 2019 07:09 Report Abuse
It is very true. Those boss/companies "train" teachers of what to say. If the foreigner can't answer the questions from parents, the teacher are told to ask the "company manager." Therefore, I do understand the parent's concerns. Parents want proof, since they are paying hefty tuition fees. Parents want to know (and see lesson plans, planned out by teachers) what their kid will learn and skills he/she/student will acquire if the kid enrolls.
Aug 19, 2019 08:56 Report Abuse