I recently received a social media message from a teacher recruiting agency in China wondering if I would be interested in going back there to teach. Such messages appear on my social media rather frequently—“here’s a teaching job, would you be interested?” I can’t help but feel sorry for those recruiters because of the country they live in. Explanation:
As I have noted before, I spent about 10 years teaching in China. I obviously had some affinity for the place, or I wouldn’t have stayed as long as I did. The common people, the “slaves” I call them, are, by and large, very nice people who treated me well. I absolutely loved the students; they were kind, respectful, and enjoyable to be around. They aren’t any better or worse, academically, than the average American student. Like in America, some of them are intelligent, some of them are dumb, some study hard, some are lazy. Americans seem to think that “all Oriental students are intelligent and diligent.” There may be some truth to that in America, but in their home country, they are no different from students anywhere else in the world. The best ones usually end up in foreign countries, and that is what you see in America.
A huge problem with Chinese academia is that education is so important that the students are pressured, mercilessly, by their parents to succeed. Thus, the major issue we dealt with, everywhere I went, was with students cheating on exams and lying through their teeth. They HAD to succeed, and in any way possible. So, at a very early age, young people in China learn to cheat and lie. That is an absolute tragedy, and it is something many keep with them for the rest of their lives. The last two employers I had were Chinese, middle-aged or above, and they lied to me and cheated me endlessly until I finally left the country. This is one reason why, in addition to the Chinese government being an amoral communist government, you can’t believe anything that comes out of their news agencies. They lie by custom and habit, and of course, China has cheated, lied to, and stolen from untold numbers of foreign businesses and other countries in order to get to their current world position. How long they can continue, being underpinned by that foundation, is an intriguing question and one that bears watching. Can a society built on lying, cheating, and stealing survive for long? I guess we’ll find out.
But except for dealing with lying, cheating students—and an arbitrary government—I very much enjoyed my time in China. The government, as noted, is very arbitrary and cares less about its people than the Democratic Party does about Americans. Frankly, in the first two schools I worked for (in Dalian and Zhengzhou), I was doing a tremendous amount of good, helping many people, literally all over those cities. I met numerous students from other schools who wanted my help learning English. I wasn’t hurting anyone, I was genuinely helping the Chinese people. But, in both situations, for absolutely no legitimate reasons, the government refused to renew my visa, and I had to leave and try to get another visa in another location. The Chinese government couldn’t have cared less that I was helping their people; like every Leftist government—including the Democratic Party—they didn’t care at all about the well-being of their people. They only cared about power, about exercising control and dominance over others. “Get out, Lewis, we don’t care what you are doing or how many people you are helping. You will submit to us.” I put up with it until, as noted, my last two employers lied to me, stole from me, and cheated me out of China. But don’t think all people in China are like that; they are not, far from it. The “slaves” are decent folk.
And that brings me back to the point I opened this essay with—being contacted by a teaching recruitment agency about a job. My first reaction was, “They obviously aren’t getting any direct contacts. They are hurting, so they are scrounging up old contacts to see if they can find teachers.” Not many people want to go to China anymore, and the government is now making the requirements so stringent that few can truly meet the qualifications. Their government is squeezing these agencies to death. Most of them are run by good people who are just trying to make a respectable living and feed their families. But their own government is hindering them from doing so. That is sad. I grieve for those people.
My Canadian friend returned to China a few months ago, and he just sent me a message: “There are definitely less foreigners here now.” By all indications, that policy is deliberate. Xi Jinping fears Western influence, and China’s long history is certainly one of parochial racism. Now, the last two employers I worked for (the Chinese bosses) were just stupid—and greedy. If they had treated me well, I would have stayed with them. But stupidity—and greed—cost them my services and I left. China isn’t immune to such folly; I saw much of it there, largely because the people are all brainwashed and not allowed to think for themselves. That will indeed produce ineptitude, incompetence, and mind-numbed robots, and, trust me, they are all rampant in China.
I suspect Xi Jinping doesn’t want foreigners in China—or as few as possible. His party has definitely established a system that limits their entry. It is horribly evil, but it’s also sad for the Chinese people, who can’t do one, single, solitary thing about it.
I’m not going into China illegally. I may not be smart, but I’m not THAT stupid.