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  • Teaching English in China

  • Some say the risk

  • Is greater than the reward

  • Welcome back to China Uncensored.

  • I'm Chris Chappell.

  • We've all been there.

  • You worked hard to get your expensive college degree...

  • only to realize it's left you

  • desperately unprepared for the real world.

  • So what do you do?

  • Obviously the answer is take out student loans

  • to go back to school and get another expensive degree.

  • Don't try this at home, kids.

  • Trust me.

  • But for others who don't go to grad school,

  • the answer could be teaching English overseas.

  • Now I often get asked:

  • Is it a good idea to teach English in China?

  • To which I say,

  • teaching English in an authoritarian surveillance state

  • that arrests people in the middle of the night

  • and sends them to labor camps?

  • What could possibly go wrong?

  • There are about 400,000 foreigners

  • working in the Chinese education system.

  • But, oddly enough,

  • things are going wrong.

  • According to Reuters,

  • there's been a surge of arrests of foreign teachers in China.

  • In fact, one American lawyer

  • whose firm has been handling many of the cases, said,

  • The risks of going to China to teach far outweigh the rewards.”

  • They've written extensively about it on their own website.

  • The risks are serious.

  • Education First is a Swiss company

  • that operates 300 schools in China.

  • They've seen a “significantincrease in detentions in China

  • for alleged offenses including drugs,

  • fighting and cybersecurity violations.

  • Mainly these detentions have resulted in docked pay or deportation.

  • But some of those crimes, especially drug crimes,

  • can be met with severe punishment in China.

  • Especially if, for instance, the country you're from

  • might be having a political dispute with China.

  • But Chris, you say, Chinese authorities should crack down

  • on foreign teachers guilty of drug offenses.

  • Well, they're not just going after teachers

  • who committed drug offenses *in China.*

  • According to Education First,

  • staff have beenpicked 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.”

  • That drug testing involves using hair samples.

  • Hair samples can contain traces of cannabis for up to three months.

  • That can be a problem for teachers who come from countries

  • where cannabis is legal.

  • Like parts of the United States.

  • Or all of Canada.

  • Now is generally not a great time to be Canadian in China.

  • In fact, Canadians in China might want to

  • just pretend to be Americans.

  • It's only fair.

  • Americans abroad have been pretending to be Canadians for years.

  • Anyway, China's Ministry of Education is using these drugscandals

  • to make a push for dealing with foreign teachers

  • in a serious manner with no appeasement.”

  • But don't worry.

  • It's not that the Chinese Communist Party

  • simply hates foreign English teachers.

  • They hate foreigners in general!

  • See, this latest crackdown on foreign teachers

  • seems to be part of a broader rise in anti-foreign sentiment.

  • And of course, the Communist Party

  • wants the education system to be ideologically pure.

  • And a lot of those those misguided foreigners

  • are not particularly helpful when it comes to pushing

  • core socliast values.”

  • The problem, when it comes to education,

  • is Chinese intellectuals.

  • Intellectuals expect more toward democracy

  • and the rule of law from globalization.

  • Some of them express unrealistic dissatisfaction

  • toward the country.”

  • Lousy intellectuals.

  • Complaining about the country just because

  • it doesn't have democracy or the rule of law,

  • or because the government kills its own citizens for meditating.

  • Intellectuals make such unreasonable demands!

  • The Communist Party has always made schools

  • the front line in ideological indoctrination.

  • It comes in waves.

  • Chairman Mao hated intellectuals.

  • His Cultural Revolution forced students

  • to denounce their teachers for backwards thinking

  • and holding Western sympathies.

  • There was more freedom in the 80s.

  • But after the mass student protests in 1989

  • that ended with the Tiananmen Square Massacre,

  • the Communist Party realized that the people

  • had been allowed to think a little too freely.

  • So they launched another wave of patriotic education.

  • And after current Chinese leader Xi Jinping took power,

  • he stressed so-calledcore socialist values

  • and socialist education.

  • Xi gave a speech last year saying

  • it's imperative to uphold Marxism as a guiding ideology

  • and stick to the path of socialist education

  • with Chinese characteristics.”

  • Obviously, it's not imperative to uphold the parts of Marxism

  • that say you shouldn't allow giant corporations.

  • Or let rich elites play around with millions...

  • while the masses are dirt poor.

  • Or frankly, let any private individual own the means of production.

  • Especially Jack Ma.

  • But, you know,

  • the people ought to uphold the *other* parts of Marxism.

  • Like theconquest of political power by the working class.”

  • Uh, wait, don't do that either.

  • Anyway, according to Reuters,

  • Last September, China launched a wide-reaching campaign

  • to remove foreign influences from education,

  • including efforts to ban foreign history courses,

  • outlaw self-taught material and revise textbooks

  • to focus on core Communist Party ideology.”

  • Which means less time for teaching useless things like English,

  • and more time for Xi Jinping thought!

  • And state-run media have been a big part of

  • the demonization of foreign teachers.

  • The most tasteful being my favorite,

  • the Global Times.

  • Take for instance this lovely article,

  • Guests of China need to deserve what they get,

  • with a close up of a black student for some reason.

  • It complainsForeigners in China have been granted

  • 'super-national treatment'

  • and even extra-legal privileges.”

  • We'll look at that special treatment

  • foreigners are getting in a moment.

  • And this article calls for “a crackdown on 'unqualified'

  • and 'immoral' foreign teachers in the country.”

  • And this article uses a scandal involving 2 people

  • to drum up anti-foreign sentiment

  • against the other 400,000 foreign teachers.

  • It also criticizes parents who believe foreigners

  • can teach English better than Chinese teachers.

  • What a crazy thing for parents to believe!

  • Which is why this article says its a crime for parents

  • to deprive their children of the right to patriotic education.

  • All this means foreign teachers in China

  • are increasingly vulnerable and easily taken advantage of.

  • So what happens to a bright eyed foreigner

  • who comes to China to teach English?

  • I asked fans of China Uncensored to send me their stories.

  • I've altered their names to protect their identities.

  • MP wrote to me that while in China,

  • We must notify our bosses with where we were going,

  • who we were going with,

  • for how long, and why.”

  • DB said,

  • The bathrooms were never cleaned and really disgusting

  • since the school did not have janitors.

  • I had to clean my own room after every class.

  • The students were great.”

  • SD said, “We were given rules to follow on campus

  • and in the surrounding community.

  • I was also informed that we will be watched closely at all times.”

  • That person also said they were punched by a student,

  • who got off because the parents were wealthy.

  • Foreign textbooks with content counter to the official Party line

  • were also seized... and burned.

  • Yeah, book burning is always a good sign of progress.

  • TB told me, “The 'Us vs. them' mentality

  • was prevalent everywhere I went,

  • even in Shanghai.

  • The extra paperwork we have to do every year for the visa,

  • the stares, the looks;

  • what's the point of learning the culture and language

  • if that is how we get treated?”

  • LDH said,

  • “I had local police come monthly to check to see

  • if I still live at the same apartment.”

  • He also mentioned,

  • not getting paid at all or them

  • finding every single excuse in the book

  • to deduct your salary that would make your jaw drop

  • ISB said, “Apart from teaching English,

  • we were told to teach PE,

  • clean the school,

  • serve food and wipe up butts.”

  • BQ said, “Workers here have no rights whatsoever.

  • Unpaid overtime is expected of everyone, including me.

  • I'm paid for 20 hours of work per week,

  • but the school has tried to get me to work 40.”

  • KN said, “I was followed by two plain clothes police

  • and basically assaulted at my front door.

  • They claimed we were harboring a fugitive.”

  • And here's my personal favorite:

  • MW said, “Another thing was being 'corrected'

  • by Chinese coworkers on English grammar.

  • Being told the origin of Christmas was an orphan boy

  • wandering the woods in December

  • who then found shelter under a pine tree.

  • That the plural of peanut, (

  • peanuts) is pronounced 'penis.'”

  • Which means those students are going to have

  • a really interesting time if they ever order snacks

  • at a baseball game.

  • There were other stories viewers told me, too.

  • Things like dealing with propaganda,

  • brainwashing, corruption, and even sexual harassment.

  • Also finding out that they were hired illegally by the school

  • and having the police take their passports away.

  • But not all the stories were negative.

  • A lot of people had positive experiences, too.

  • Many said despite all the craziness they had to deal with,

  • they had an amazing time, met many great people

  • students and adults,

  • and made friends for life.

  • Some people even met their spouses in China.

  • But in the current environment, is the risk worth the reward?

  • Let me know what you think in the comments below.

  • If you're seriously thinking of teaching English in China,

  • make sure you do your research first.

  • And if you've taught in China,

  • share your story below!

  • And before you go,

  • now is the time when I answer a question

  • from a member of the China Uncensored 50 cent army

  • fans who support the show on the crowd funding website Patreon!

  • Shelley floryd asks,

  • think there's a considerable threat

  • of the Chinese/American trade war

  • escalating into actual military warfare

  • (like how people feared the Russian/American Cold War

  • would escalate to nuclear war)?”

  • A great question!

  • There certainly is cause for concern.

  • As I mentioned in a recent episode,

  • the gap in ability between the US

  • and the Chinese Communist Party's military is shrinking.

  • This recent report by the Council on Foreign Relations

  • says China could soon rival the US in fields like AI,

  • robotics, 5G, and possibly biotechnology.

  • So a war between the United States and China

  • could be very bad for both sides.

  • However, I don't think it will come to that.

  • At least not because of the trade war.

  • China's economy is suffering from it.

  • That's an existential threat to the Chinese regime.

  • The last thing the Communist Party can manage

  • is throwing itself into an actual armed conflict with the US.

  • Even though the military tech might be improving, remember,

  • China has not been in an armed conflict

  • since a brief war with Vietnam in the 70's.

  • It has essentially no experienced leadership.

  • So even more so than in the Cold War,

  • I think the chance of a physical military confrontation