oreign teachers in China are reportedly coming under closer scrutiny with arrests and deportations significantly on the rise this year.
Representatives at four separate law firms said that they had seen requests for representation from foreign teachers surge by as much as tenfold over the past six months, according an investigative piece from Reuters.
The news agency also saw an internal notice sent in June to employees of Education First, the world’s largest private education organization which runs 300 schools in China, which warned that there had been a “significant” increase in detentions in the country for alleged offenses like drugs, fighting, and even “cybersecurity violations.”
EF staff had been “picked up by police at their home and work as well as in bars and nightclubs and have been questioned and brought in for drug testing,” the notice said.
This notice was issued even before the high-profile arrests last month of 16 foreigners, including seven teachers working at EF, on drug charges in the Jiangsu city of Xuzhou.
#Foreign teachers who go against laws or regulations in China shall be dealt with in a serious manner with no appeasement, Ministry of Education official said on Monday https://t.co/dVlmPgzPse pic.twitter.com/E8dRZ1EZ1n
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) July 15, 2019
Foreign teachers that had recently been deported from China told Reuters about frequent surprise inspections and drug tests that were conducted shortly after their arrival in the country and even on their very first day.
The report credits this recent crackdown as being part of Beijing’s push for “cleaner,” more patriotic education and the eradication of foreign influences in Chinese schools.
“What has changed is that many government officials think that kicking out Western influences like English teachers is doing the Party’s work, and the schools are taking advantage of it,” said Dan Harris, a Seattle-based lawyer whose firm represents foreign teachers.
“The risks of going to China to teach far outweigh the rewards,” he warns.