Four law firms told Reuters that requests for representation involving foreign teachers had surged in the past six months by between four and tenfold, while teachers and schools confirmed arrests and temporary detentions for minor crimes had become commonplace.
Switzerland-based Education First (EF), which runs 300 schools across 50 Chinese cities, has seen a “significant” increase in detentions in China for alleged offences including drugs, fighting and cybersecurity violations, according to a June 27 internal notice sent to employees and seen by Reuters.
It said 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 the school had also received warnings from embassies about the rise in arrests.
A spokeswoman for EF declined to comment on the content of the notices but said the company “values our close collaboration with the Chinese authorities,” adding that it “regularly reminds staff of important regulatory and compliance policies.”
An international school in Beijing and a teaching agency in Shanghai separately confirmed arrests had risen sharply.