• Education Consultant Issues Comment on How Private Home Tutors Prepare Young People for a Globalised World
    Personal Tutoring

    Education Consultant Issues Comment on How Private Home Tutors Prepare Young People for a Globalised World

    Owing to Tutors International’s UHNW clientele, many of their Clients own multiple homes and/or travel extensively for work and leisure. Travelling Tutors accompany families on their travels. As well as providing consistency and stability in circumstances that would otherwise disrupt education, it allows the education being delivered to incorporate the places and cultures of the various locations. It means that tutors can integrate the core curriculum and the world outside in a way that better reflects living and learning after the traditional school years. It also prevents the problematic idea that learning must happen in a classroom. This notion can generate resentment towards learning environments, as well as limit the mind into considering education and life experiences as operating in separate demarcated spaces.

    A travelling tutor also permits a more interdisciplinary approach to learning. A private Tutor able to take their student on an excursion can tailor the experience to the student’s interests, and then broaden their knowledge in multiple disciplines. For example, if a student was struggling with Physics, and found themselves in the Bahamas with their family, the Travel Tutor could take them on a sailing trip. This way they could incorporate concepts of Physics and Geography into the sailing trip, then perhaps conduct a writing session about the experience that helps with linguistics and creative writing. It’s a far more engaging and authentic method of experience-based learning that promotes global education over syllabus-defined teaching.

    Adam Caller explains:

    “The different cultures and environments children can potentially experience while travelling as a family can provide a highly valuable tool for learning and inspiration. The tutors we recruit have the ability to plan curriculum and activities that allow children to explore these new environments.”

    Home Tutors. Global Education.

    Not all high net-worth families do require a Travel Tutor; many opt for a full-time private tutor who resides with the family. It may be that the Tutor lives in the home with the family, in an outbuilding on their property, or just off-site but they tutor in a full-time capacity. A home tutor and a global education may seem like a contradiction in terms, but Tutors International believe that a personalised private tutor in the home may well be the best way to incorporate globalised learning.

    When a personalised home tutor operates in a full-time residential capacity, they can deliver one-to-one tuition to their student in a way that suits their interests, talents, goals and circumstances. It’s a flexible and responsive model. It allows more agency for families and Tutors when making decisions about how each particular child should be educated.

    Adam Caller comments:

    “Even the most gifted students can shut down and lose interest if they aren’t being challenged or inspired. Tutors International has repeatedly found that understanding and including the child’s own interests and passions in their learning can be enough on its own to renew their interest in academia.”

    A high-quality personalised home tutor can situate the home within the context of the world, and invite the world to within the confines of the home.

    Reconciling Globalisation and Cultural Identity

    In 2010, Sir Ken Robinson gave a talk at the RSA about how the modern education system is outdated when it comes to preparing young minds for the modern world. He asks two key questions:

    “One, how do we educate children to take their place in economies later in the 21st Century when we don’t know what they’ll look like; and two, how do we reconcile globalisation with retaining individual cultural identities.”

    Adam Caller echoed these sentiments when interviewed in Vanity Fair:

    “We could not be heading in a more inappropriate direction for educating the next generation. […] If we want our children to become leaders of tomorrow, then what does their education need to look like that’s different? What skills will they need to have in order to be leaders in a society where artificial intelligence will be doing a lot of things that we currently take for granted?”

    Full-time home tuition goes a significant way in offering solutions to these challenges. Even though we don’t know what the future will look like, and therefore don’t know what we should be preparing the next generation for, home tuition with a personalised tutor can incorporate transferable skills, Project-Based Learning (PBL) and development in personal growth. These will not outdate. In regard to the difficulty in reconciling globalisation and individual cultural identity, a private tutor can bridge these dichotomies. By incorporating place and global learning into their teaching, Tutors contextualise their student’s learning, whilst being able to honour the culture, values and attitudes of the household in which they teach.

    Mainstream School vs. Full-Time Home Tutors

    Homeschooling is not the best option for every single child, but it may be well suited to more children than many people realise. The idea that children will be unsocialised compared to attending a mainstream school is often the key concern for many parents. Adam Caller comments on why these concerns are not always necessary:

    “A full-time private tutor gives the family and the educator agency over the education they deliver. A key benefit of this agency means that teaching can be incorporated into excursions and leisure activities. The Tutor might wish to teach their student about forces via a tennis match, for example. Having a full-time tutor to tailor activities, as well as be a mentor for the student, means children actually ending up with like-minded and diverse friendships from a variety of areas and activities, as opposed to whoever they happen to be sat next to in school.”

    A Global Education for a Globalised World

    The customised recruitment process takes time, so Adam Caller urges all potential clients to get in touch as soon as possible to ensure that Tutors International can help. A preliminary enquiry is completely free and allows you to discuss your options and find out more.

    If you are considering a full-time private tutor to perfectly suit your lifestyle and offer academic excellence, make an enquiry with Tutors International.

    About Tutors International

    Tutors International provides an unparalleled tutoring service that matches the right tutor with the right child, in order for the student to fully reach their personal potential and academic excellence. Providing a service for children of all ages at different points in their educational journeys, Tutors International is a reputable tutoring company founded on a commitment to finding the perfect tutor to realise the specific goals and aspirations of each student. Tutors are available for residential full-time positions, after-school assistance, and homeschooling.

    Founded in 1999 by Adam Caller, Tutors International is a private company based in Oxford, a city renowned for academic excellence. Our select clientele receives a personally tailored service, with discretion and confidentiality guaranteed.

    Contact Details
    Web: www.tutors-international.com 
    Email:[email protected] 
    Phone: +44 (0) 1865 435 135
    Tutors International
    Clarendon House
    52 Cornmarket Street
    Oxford
    OX1 3HJ
    UK

    SOURCE Tutors International

  • New Restrictions on Private Tutoring Industry: Motivations and Reactions
    Personal Tutoring

    New Restrictions on Private Tutoring Industry: Motivations and Reactions

    The recent announcement of sweeping new restrictions on China’s over $100 billion private tutoring industry has sent education stocks tumbling and investors reeling, led private tutoring schools to curtail expansion and lay off teachers, and left many families wondering how to obtain the extracurricular tutoring necessary for their children to succeed in China’s hyper-competitive, exam-driven educational system. Bloomberg offered an overview of the broad crackdown on an industry that has been criticized for being “severely hijacked by capital,” including a bullet-point summary of the new measures:

    • Require private companies that teach compulsory school subjects to go non-profit.
    • Ban them from going public or raising foreign capital.
    • Ban all tutoring related to the core school syllabus during vacations and weekends — the prime hours for such companies.
    • Forbid outright acquisitions.
    • Banned foreign firms from acquiring or holding shares in school curriculum tutoring institutions, or using VIEs (variable interest entities) to do so.
    • Those already in violation need to rectify the situation
    • Forbid online tutoring and school-curriculum teaching for children under 6 years old.
    • Ban teaching of foreign curriculums or hiring foreigners outside China to teach. [Source]

    Although the regulatory changes were long rumored, their scale and severity dismayed many observers. A Shanghai-based private equity (PE) investor whose firm invests in online education apps for children commented that “Every company is going to take a hit with large layoffs coming. There is zero VC (venture capital) and PE investors can do at the moment. We are all waiting for death.” CDT Chinese editors quoted an anonymous industry employee’s lament on Weibo: “I just thought I was going to work. I never imagined I’d be joining up with a ‘criminal gang.’”

    There has been much speculation about the underlying motives for these restrictive new policies, which emerged against a backdrop of increasingly assertive central government regulatory authority including a campaign to rein in tech companies; rising public concern about academic competition and inequality; and government attempts to encourage citizens to have more children.

    A July 31 piece in The Economist linked new restrictions on the online-education business to the broader antitrust crackdown on tech giants such as Alibaba and Tencent:

    […] But in the months since then the scope of the regulatory crackdown has grown ever wider. China’s two internet giants, Alibaba and Tencent, are being worked over by the antitrust authorities. Earlier this month Didi Global, a ride-hailing service, was caught in the net just days after it listed in New York. And in the past week the education-technology industry has become a target. New regulations bar any company that teaches subjects on the school curriculum from listing abroad, having foreign investors or making profits. When it comes to teaching schoolchildren, no one should get rich. [Source]

    James Palmer, writing for Foreign Policy, placed more emphasis on the social impetus and implications of the decision, as well as rising xenophobia:

    It’s tempting to relate the regulations of private education to Beijing’s war on technology companies and monopolies—and regulators are certainly empowered by the government push against private business. But these new measures also reflect a widespread belief in China that the private tutoring sector has bad effects for urban upper-middle-class parents and children, both in costs for the parents and the psychological impact on children.

    […] The measures are also part of growing xenophobia in China. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) spends a lot of time worrying about ideological education. Measures restricting the study of U.S. and world history, for example, were put in place years ago. As the CCP sees it, banning foreign curricula and foreign teachers could prevent the creeping influence of foreign ideas and discourage Chinese students from applying to overseas universities. [Source]

    Commentator Chang Ping, writing for Deutsche Welle, framed the crackdown on both private schools and after-school tutoring companies as an attempt by the CCP to impose greater ideological control on the curriculum by monopolizing the educational system and reducing diversity within the educational sphere:

    Social media summaries [of these new policies] have stressed the fact that students no longer need to take an English-language exam in the final year of primary school, and that “A Student Primer on Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” has become a required part of the curriculum. So which is it: is studying English putting too great a burden on students, or studying “Xi Jinping Thought”?

    […] In the absence of underlying concepts such as democracy and freedom, a system of “moral education” that purports to reduce the burden on students is groundless, a tree without roots. Beneath its pleasant guise, the government’s high-profile crackdown on off-campus tutoring institutions and private education is essentially a pretense to monopolize education and centralize brainwashing. If “Xi Jinping Thought” becomes a compulsory part of the school curriculum, then extracurricular English tutoring can be viewed as a kind of private-sector remedy. In these circumstances, cracking down on off-campus tutoring institutions and private education deprives people of their right to receive a diverse education. [Chinese]

    In China Business Review, Hannah Feldshuh associated the crackdown on the education industry with the government’s ongoing efforts to increase China’s lagging birth rate:

    Rising costs of living, a winner-takes-all college entrance system, and largely entrenched gender roles that place the burden on women to juggle work and family all play into Chinese millennials’ apathy toward having bigger families. In response to these multipronged factors, the government has recently turned its focus to the industries that it sees as adding to the pressures and expenses of raising children. 

    The education industry stands to lose the most from the government’s current approach, through impacts on personnel, direct restrictions on certain services, and potentially permanent limitations on consumption that could cripple the industry, especially foreign players.

    […] China’s after-school tutoring and extracurricular market is a large and growing sector, viewed by many as crucial to ensuring children’s long-term educational and career success. A study of China’s tutoring market estimates that the sector had more than doubled from 2011 to 2021, from RMB 203.2 billion to a projected RMB 564 billion by the end of the year. As of 2017, over 50 percent of middle and high school students enroll in after school tutoring, with 21.9 percent of elementary schoolers and 12.7 percent of kindergarten students enrolled. 

    In recent months, regulators have focused on means of restricting educational expenses, viewing them as key contributors to citizens’ hesitancy toward having more children. China’s after-school tutoring and extracurricular market is a large and growing sector, viewed as crucial to ensuring children’s long-term educational and career success. [Source] 

    Apart from the inevitable dislocations that this long list of new restrictions will bring, it remains to be seen whether they will achieve the desired policy goals or tamp down any of the economic and educational inequalities that contribute to public anger and social instability. Writing for Bloomberg, Adam Minter opined: 

    In late July, the Chinese government decreed that companies in the after-school tutoring industry could no longer make a profit, raise capital or go public. The goal was to reduce pressure on parents and children consumed by a fear of falling behind in China’s ultra-competitive education system. In time, officials hope, a more equitable system will encourage couples to have larger families and boost the country’s lagging population.

    These are worthy goals. But the government has misdiagnosed the problem. “Cram schools” are a rational response to a system that lacks the resources to meet the needs of an ambitious middle class. A ban will in all likelihood force the private industry underground, where wealthy parents will have the means to hire tutors. That will leave middle-class parents, already anxious about the future, priced out of one of the few services that they think will boost their children’s chances of success. [Source]

    The Guardian’s Helen Davidson quoted Dr. Liu Ye, a sociologist and senior lecturer in international development at King’s College London, who pointed out that the reforms do not address a state education system that remains deeply unequal and highly competitive:

    The [private education] supply catered to the demand from urban families. […] Because of the one-child policy, urban families used education as an investment channel, to reproduce the privileges of cultural capital – good universities, studying abroad. They need the private tutoring [because] it’s so competitive.

    […] It’s no good isolating private tutoring if we don’t address the uneven distribution of education provision [across China] … The crackdown hasn’t been accompanied by more policy proposals to reduce unequal distribution of education provisions, resources and opportunities. [Source]

  • why Xi is cracking down on video gaming and private tutors
    Personal Tutoring

    why Xi is cracking down on video gaming and private tutors

    The additional lessons Wang Gang bought to help his only child prepare for China’s rigorous university exam, or gaokao, were not cheap. In addition to group courses from a private education company, he also paid Rmb6,000 (€790) for his daughter to take one-on-one maths and physics sessions with a retired teacher over the month-long winter school break.

    “We are just an ordinary family but we cannot have any regrets when it comes to our daughter’s education,” says Wang, who lives in Baoding, an industrial centre in central Hebei province. “Every point counts in the gaokao. It’s just too important. It will basically decide her life and career.”

    Late last month, however, the Chinese government declared that parents like Wang were piling too much work on their children. In a shock decree that rocked the country’s stock markets and the share prices of Chinese education companies listed in New York, President Xi Jinping’s administration announced strict new curbs on tutoring companies that drastically reshape an industry worth more than €80 billion a year in sales.

    Last week it appeared that Xi’s nanny state was targeting another lucrative industry – video gaming, which China’s president has previously criticised for increasing “the incidence of myopia among students”.

    On Tuesday last a state newspaper published a commentary that criticised online video games as “spiritual opium”. The term is a particularly loaded one for the Chinese Communist party, whose history emphasises the “century of humiliation” that began with China’s defeat by the British empire in the first Opium war of 1839-42 and ended with the party’s revolutionary victory in 1949.

    Even in the absence of any new regulations like those targeting education companies a week earlier, shares in Tencent, China’s largest online gaming provider, fell almost 11 per cent.

    The tutoring and video game controversies provide a window on to the mounting stresses and strains of middle-class life in China’s big cities. To outsiders, the world’s second largest economy can often seem relentless, immune to even the worst pandemic in a century and notching persistently large increases in consumer spending as prosperity spreads rapidly across society.

    But for many residents of its larger cities, their lives have become riddled with anxieties that belie the broader sense of progress – from seemingly unattainable home prices to the hothouse pressure of securing the best education for their children and coveted places at leading universities.

    Ambitious parent

    And in the background there is the fear that nags at almost every ambitious parent – the possibility that their children will grow tired of the race and seek refuge in the world of video games and the internet, which Xi has railed against for harbouring so many “dirty things”.

    Rattled by parental angst, the party’s response has been to adopt the tactics of a nanny state, potentially reversing elements of the compact it has established with urban residents over the past four decades to steadily reduce its interference in their private lives.

    “It is parents’ anxiety that is driving the proliferation of after-school tutoring,” says Christina Zhu, an economist at Moody’s Analytics in Singapore. “That anxiety stems from uneven school quality, intense competition and possibly even a lack of confidence in the social security system.”

    At stake, Xi appears to believe, is the party’s ability to maintain unchallenged political control, which ultimately depends on its capacity to meet what the president has termed “the people’s demand for a happier life”.

    In 2011, when he was still vice-president, Xi told his then US counterpart, Joe Biden, that the Arab spring that was rolling across north Africa and the Middle East had erupted because governments had lost touch with their people, according to two American diplomats familiar with the exchange.

    At the 18th party congress in November 2012 that marked the beginning of his first term in power, Xi acknowledged the people’s aspirations for “better education, more stable jobs, higher incomes, more reliable social security and higher standard healthcare, more comfortable living conditions and a cleaner environment”.

    Xi and the party have now demonstrated that in order to deliver they are willing to upend entire industries and intrude into deeply personal aspects of people’s lives, such as how to educate and raise their children. Shortly after Xi criticised video games in 2018 for harming kids’ eyesight, the education ministry recommended that children should have no more than one hour of non-educational screen time each day.

    “Xi has made it clear that he intends every policy area to be subject to the leadership of the party,” says Steve Tsang, director of the Soas China Institute in London.

    Investors

    Over recent weeks Xi’s administration has demonstrated that it is not too concerned about the collateral damage investors may suffer as the party extends its reach into new areas.

    “Beijing will not hesitate to completely overhaul an entire business environment if it deems it politically necessary,” says Chen Long at Plenum, a Beijing-based consultancy. “All sectors related to providing public goods traditionally viewed as not-for-profit will face greater risks.”

    Xi had foreshadowed the move against China’s booming tutoring industry in March when he told a group of educators that the sector was “a stubborn disease that is difficult to manage”.

    “Parents want their children to be physically and mentally healthy and have happy childhoods,” the president added. “On the other hand, they are afraid their children will lose before they even reach the starting line…This problem must be solved. Education should not be too focused on scores.”

    Ironically, says Zhu at Moody’s, some of the biggest economic victims of Xi’s crackdown on education will be recent university graduates, whose average monthly salary last year was just Rmb5,290 (€700), according to Zhilian Zhaopin, a Chinese online hiring platform.

    “The private tutoring sector provides millions of jobs,” she says. “The entire education sector accounted for 17 per cent of employment for recent graduates in 2020, the highest among all industries.”

    For most recent graduates, buying a flat in China’s most desirable cities is out of the question. According to EJ Real Estate, a property research institute, last year the average annual home price to income ratio was 40 in Shenzhen, the high-tech hub bordering Hong Kong, 26 in Shanghai and 24 in Beijing.

    Cities with ratios of 10 or lower are generally experiencing population outflows and offer little in the way of attractive employment opportunities.

    Lianjia Beike, a housing agency, estimates that new graduates now spend more than 40 per cent of their income on rent.

    Lie flat

    In addition to worrying that some children are doing too much as they prepare for the looming pressures of Chinese urban life, officials and parents also fret about an entirely different phenomenon whereby young people react to mounting social stresses by choosing to tang ping – or lie flat– and withdraw from the world.

    Another concept that has caught on this year in China is “involution”, an anthropological term used to describe a process by which some societies fail to realise their maximum economic potential. In Chinese the term is translated as nei juan, meaning to curl or turn inwards.

    Che Rui, a Beijing parent, signed his daughter up for supplemental Chinese maths and English classes offered by some of the country’s largest tutoring firms a few years ago, as she moved from kindergarten to elementary school. He welcomes the government’s crackdown on the sector – but also still worries about how to keep his daughter active and motivated outside school.

    “The tutoring companies were deliberately creating anxiety,” says Che, who noted that education providers were continuing to bombard him with sales messages even after the government’s broadside against the industry last month. “All discounts and benefits will expire at midnight,” one sales agent warned him over WeChat, the messaging app, if he didn’t rush to sign his daughter up for additional course offerings. “I hope you don’t regret it.”

    Che says he is considering signing up his daughter for swimming, music and other recreational lessons, which are still officially encouraged by the government. “I don’t want her to turn inward,” he adds.

    Many analysts and parents, however, believe that Xi is addressing the symptoms rather than the disease – the gaokao system itself.

    Wang, the father who arranged winter-break cram sessions for his teenage daughter in Baoding, says that “even if there had been a ban, I would still have gone around it by hiring a private tutor”.

    The Rmb6,000 he spent on a private tutor during that brief period is equivalent to about 40 per cent of his household’s monthly income, and almost one-quarter of the city’s average annual per capita disposable income of Rmb25,200.

    “If you don’t let your child study on holidays, other parents with more resources will and your child will be left behind. Imposing a simple solution on a complex problem doesn’t work,” he adds. “It just shuts the door for ordinary families.”

    Anxiety

    Another much wealthier Chinese father, who has two teenage children and asked not to be named, says “some parents may cheer the crackdown, but the problem lies with the gaokao and the university entrance system”.

    “The anxiety is not going away because it’s not like you’re not in the race any more,” says the father, who went to university in the US and is also educating his children outside China. “Are you rich enough and have connections to do one-on-one tutoring? Online education was the starting point for average people. Their anxiety will come back very soon unless the government completely reforms the education system.

    “Look at South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, ” he adds. “When is tutoring ever going to go away in Asian cultures?” – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2021

  • Investors should beware of broader private sector crackdowns in China
    Personal Tutoring

    Investors should beware of broader private sector crackdowns in China

    China’s tightening grip on private companies is forcing international investors to rethink their strategies. This trend could have serious consequences depending on the course charted by the leadership in Beijing.

    For 30 years, China’s emerging companies have absorbed funds from global investors looking for high-risk, high-return projects, grown, and then profited investors. Now that virtuous cycle could fall apart.

    Since last fall, Chinese leaders have tightened their control over internet giants such as Alibaba Group Holding, Tencent Holdings and Didi Global using antitrust laws, overseas listing regulations, nonbank financial regulations, and rules for handling personal data. They have moved forward in implementing “strengthened antitrust efforts and the prevention of disorderly expansion of capital,” the key policies laid out by the Chinese Communist Party last December.

    Furthermore, regulations on private tutoring schools announced by the party and government on July 24 seem to indicate a wider scope of “disorder” and “expansion of capital” to be controlled. “The tutoring sector has been hijacked by capital,” authorities said, criticizing current conditions in which companies profit from education costs, which average households are struggling to pay. Based on this understanding, the government has outright banned for-profit tutoring institutions for elementary- and middle-school students.

    A similar sentiment was evident on Aug. 3, when the Economic Information Daily, a newspaper sponsored by the state-run Xinhua News Agency, published an article critical of the gaming industry, describing online games as “spiritual opium” while pointing to Tencent.

    There is growing concern in the market that anti-capitalist policies attacking businesses will become more widespread. Industries such as health care and real estate, where there is significant social dissatisfaction and a strong public interest, may be the next to come into regulators’ sights. A medical data company has reportedly frozen its plan to go public in the U.S. for fear of attracting the leadership’s ire.

    The stock market has been rocked by the clampdown on for-profit businesses. Prices of listed Chinese stocks have plummeted, and market players have been forced to change how they invest in emerging Chinese companies.

    If for-profit businesses are prohibited based on the nature of their operations, the “correctness” of the businesses engaged in by both portfolio companies and potential investment targets needs to be reevaluated. Some also fear the chilling effects on entrepreneurs and existing founders, which may lead to less ambitious business plans. Investors have begun adjusting their portfolios to increase their exposure to India and Southeast Asia.

    One investment manager believes that Chinese unicorns — private companies with a valuation of $1 billion or more — are at a high risk of being labeled as pursuing “disorderly expansions.” U.S. hedge funds and private equity funds and SoftBank Group, which hold large amounts of stock in Chinese unicorns, may well be forced to redraw their startup investment strategies.

    Understanding the basic rules of doing business in a particular country is fundamental when making equity investments there. With these rules shifting so dynamically in China, investors must be vigilant.

  • Hot topics: China’s approach to reining in private tuition – YP
    Personal Tutoring

    Hot topics: China’s approach to reining in private tuition – YP

    Hot Topics takes an issue that’s being discussed in the news and allows you to compare and analyse different news articles and viewpoints on the subject. Our question prompts encourage you to examine the topic in-depth and can be used on your own, or with a friend. 

    News: China bans off-campus tutoring in education overhaul 

    China’s government is cracking down on the mainland’s booming off-campus tutoring industry, in one of the biggest overhauls of the education sector.

    Local authorities will ban the provision of holiday and weekend tutoring, and will no longer approve the establishment of new tuition centres, according to sources briefed on a policy document that was formally released by the State Council on July 24.

    For preschoolers, the new rule also bans any form of tutoring, such as English teaching, under the name of “mind training”. The rules will also be applied to  off-campus education for high school students.

    Chinese President Xi Jinping had criticised the after-school tutoring sector in 2018, saying it had “increased the burden of students and families’ financial burden” and “violated the laws of education”, as well as “disrupted the normal order of education”.

    “The motivation behind the government’s move to ease the burden for students is that many people are not willing to have children due to the huge cost of raising kids. There are fewer and fewer newborns in recent years. And that’s the problem the government needs to solve as the top priority,” said Li Qingshan, research director at EqualOcean, an information service provider and investment research firm.

    Chinese authorities have also emphasised that, for students who do not have the opportunity to attend a university, vocational education is another way for them to better themselves. 

    However, middle-class parents are generally not fans of vocational schools, and the new crackdown is causing a great deal of concern.

    “I’m terrified every day. I don’t know if the classes I signed my daughter up for can be completed,” said Ms Zhang, a Beijing-based mother who asked not  to use her full name.

    “I can’t accept having to stop sending my daughter to after-school tutoring classes, because the school-selection mechanism has not changed and every parent wants their children to go to a better school to receive a better education.”

    Staff writers

    The new face of liberal studies in Hong Kong

    Question prompts


    • How are after-school tuition classes in the mainland similar or different to those in Hong Kong?

    • How would you feel if holiday and weekend tutoring was banned in Hong Kong, and why?

    • From News and Context, identify ONE other concern parents may have about the mainland government’s crackdown on off-campus tutoring. 

    Context

    China’s State Council, the top administrative body, announced a new set of guidelines last month to “ease the burden of young students” for kids going through mandatory education, which covers all children younger than senior secondary school age. 

    The new guidelines ordered local governments to stop approving new tutoring companies, force existing companies to become non-profit organisations, eliminate classes on weekends and holidays, and ban tutoring companies from receiving foreign investment. 

    The latest rules are additions to the edict by Chinese President Xi Jinping during a May 21 meeting. In this meeting, he promulgated a set of rules to ease the burden of homework and after-school training for primary and secondary school students. He also instructed the government to rein back on runaway investments in the education industry.

    As much as US$10 billion (HK$77.7 billion) of venture capital poured into mainland China’s edtech sector last year alone. This spawned hundreds of  start-ups, apps, and edtech platforms that provided instruction in everything from K-12 tutoring to elementary mathematics, language skills and music.

    The total number of nationwide student enrolments in K-12 after-school tutoring has  increased from 202.6 million in 2015 to 325.3 million in 2019. By 2024, this number is expected to further increase to 659.5 million, according to New Oriental Education, one of mainland China’s largest tutoring services providers. 

    Language training is one of the fastest-growing segments in tutoring, increasing by 13 per cent to 619.1 billion yuan (HK$744.57 billion) in 2019 from 377.5 million yuan in 2015.

    China’s ban on private tutoring is not new. It mirrors a similar move by South Korea in 1980 when the new government, led by Chun Doo-hwan, banned almost all forms of private tutoring in an effort to ease pressure on students in the country’s highly competitive education system.

    However, the efforts proved futile as underground private tutoring continued to flourish with Seoul gradually ending the ban.

    Staff writers

    Question prompts


    • Describe two general trends that are shown in the chart.

    • The chart is a projection of mainland China’s online education market done in 2017. Based on News and Context, explain how the estimated value and growth rate of the industry might change with the new regulations on private tutoring. 

    How far will governments go to regulate tech giants?

    Issue 1: China’s new private tutoring regulatory watchdog to oversee teachers and curricula for private education companies

    In June, China’s Ministry of Education created a new department to oversee the mainland’s off-campus tutoring market and bring regulatory oversight to private teachers and curricula.

    The Off-Campus Education and Training Department will supervise institutions that provide training and tutoring to mainland Chinese students from kindergarten through high school, according to the ministry. 

    It will also work with other regulatory bodies to help private educational institutions set up Communist Party cells and establish rules for incorporation, fees, as well as the content, scheduling and qualifications of training.

    Xiong Bingqi, director of the 21st Century Education Research Institute, a research firm focused on Chinese education, said after-school tutoring was difficult to regulate without a specific body dedicated to it. 

    “The new department has two key missions,” Xiong said. “First, to determine requirements for the industry; second, to set up a system to ensure that all off-campus tutoring institutions are qualified.”

    He also said that a significant hurdle for reform in the Chinese education system would be curbing “group education anxiety”, and that if the government wanted reforms to stick, society needed to focus more on competence instead of education. 

    “There is a phenomenon of placing immense importance on a ‘high education’ background in our society,” Xiong said.

    “Some employers, including government agencies and institutions, unilaterally emphasise high education when recruiting and employing people, which intensifies the ‘famous school complex’ in society.”

    Separately, Sun Jin, an assistant professor at the Department of Early Childhood Education at The Education University of Hong Kong, said the new reforms were a gesture of goodwill to ease the pressure on students, and that schools would need to become central to their education. If parents were to worry about their children falling behind, it would not ease the pressures that created the private tutoring boom, she added. 

    “It is important to ensure schools are able to fulfil the responsibility assigned and to provide necessary and quality support for all students,” she said.

    Sun added that the crackdown might incentivise rich families in China to pay for one-on-one tutoring, but most families could not afford these services and might become even more anxious.

    Staff writers

    Question prompts


    • Based on this Issue and your own knowledge, explain  TWO challenges the Off-Campus Education and Training Department might face in its attempts to regulate  after-school education services.

    • “If the society moves away from paper qualifications, parents will be a lot less anxious, and there will be no need to send their children for extra classes.” To what extent does the information in Issue 1 agree with this statement, and why?

    Covid-19 Delta variant causes concern worldwide

    Issue 2: Ban on private tutoring may create a black market as demand for education services remains high

    China’s ban on private tutoring for children may create a black market with significantly higher prices, according to industry insiders and parents.

    Signs of a black market for tutoring are already visible in local media reports. This comes as a number of cities in the central Chinese province of Hubei, including Xiangyang and Huanggang, have tasked enforcement authorities responsible for cracking down on pornography and illegal publications to also police off-campus training. The move treats private tutoring as a form of petty crime.

    Despite this, the demand from middle-class families for off-campus classes is likely to remain, as students are pressured to perform on state exams, including the mainland’s notoriously difficult National Higher Education Entrance Examination, or gaokao.

    Mary Pan, the mother of a 10-year-old in the western city of Chengdu, enrolled her son in the last available maths tutoring class.

    “Everybody else is still taking courses. In the future, if the [state] rules are implemented but other families secretly hire private tutors, we will probably do the same,” she said. 

    Even though one-on-one tutoring at home could cost 10 times more than institutional services, she said if other parents hired private tutors, then she had no other choice.

    A Beijing-based tutor working for New Oriental, a provider of private educational services in mainland China, who declined to be named, said they would keep teaching until the policy was fully implemented. Even then, the crackdown would not kill their career. 

    They added: “As long as the college entrance exam exists, [tutors] can always make money.”

    Meanwhile, an investor in private tutoring in Beijing, who also declined to be named, said tutors who were not officially employed by any public school could still find customers eager to pay for a boost to their child’s performance. They said the price in Beijing for one-on-one tutoring had surged to 3,000 yuan (HK$3,608) per hour, about half the mainland’s average monthly salary.

    Staff writers

    Question prompts


    • How might underground private tuition worsen education inequality in mainland China? Elaborate on your answer using this Issue, Issue 1 and your own knowledge.

    • Based on your response above, explain to what extent the situation is reflected in Hong Kong and one other Asian city. 

    Question prompts


    • What might the illustration suggest  about ONE possible repercussion of China’s crackdown on private tuition?

    • Based on your answer above, explain whether the government or schools should be responsible for resolving this issue.

    Cryptocurrency activities raise concern

    Quotes

    “The conscientious [education] industry cannot turn into a profit-seeking industry. The off-campus training institutions must be regulated by the law so that they can return to the normal track of educating people.”

    – excerpt from Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech published in Xi Jinping: The Governance of China, Volume Three

    “Without the existence of these extracurricular companies, the role of pushing [my daughter] to study hard will lie on us parents, which will be exhausting. [Many parents are suddenly worried about where they will send their kids to study after school] … They do not want to see their kids’ after-school classes get cancelled.”

    – Tina Xie, a Shanghai parent whose daughter is a primary school student

    “Education has been crucial to [the] CCP’s legitimacy as a people’s party. The recent crackdown on ed tech and private tutoring can be seen as an attempt to respond to the concerns of the poor.”

    – Liu Ye, a sociologist at King’s College London who studies education inequality in China

    Glossary

    black market: exchange of goods or services prohibited by governments

    Chinese education system: in the mainland, each child must have nine years of compulsory education – six years of primary school and three years of junior secondary education. 

    To continue their education, they need to take a locally administered entrance exam, after which they would have the option of either continuing in a senior secondary school, or entering a vocational school.

    gaokao: also the National Higher Education Entrance Examination. It is a standardised college entrance exam held annually in mainland China. The gaokao is required for entrance into almost all higher education institutions at the undergraduate level. 

    Before sitting the exam, students must fill in a form listing the universities they wish to get into. Each university has a minimum intake score that a student must achieve to secure a place. 

    If a student does not meet the requirements for their chosen universities, they will have to retake the gaokao the next academic year. 

    middle-class family: a social group that falls between the upper and working class. According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, about 400 million people – or less than a third of the mainland’s total population – is considered middle class. This is based on the definition of a  family of three earning between 100,000 yuan (HK$120,000) to 500,000 yuan (HK$600,000) every year.

    off-campus tutoring: also known as private tuition. This is usually a form of teaching which is not provided by the state. Off-campus tutoring can take place at the student’s home, the tutor’s home, a private tuition centre or on school premises. Lessons can also be conducted either face-to-face or online.

    K-12: education for children from kindergarten through 12th grade, usually between the ages of five to 18  

    vocational education: education that prepares individuals to work as technicians or to take up employment in a skilled craft or trade. It is also referred to as career and technical education.

  • China’s nanny state: why Xi is cracking down on gaming and private tutors
    Personal Tutoring

    China’s nanny state: why Xi is cracking down on gaming and private tutors

    The additional lessons Wang Gang bought to help his only child prepare for China’s rigorous university exam, or gaokao, were not cheap. In addition to group courses from a private education company, he also paid Rmb6,000 ($927) for his daughter to take one-on-one maths and physics sessions with a retired teacher over the month-long winter school break.

    “We are just an ordinary family but we cannot have any regrets when it comes to our daughter’s education,” says Wang, who lives in Baoding, an industrial centre in central Hebei province. “Every point counts in the gaokao. It’s just too important. It will basically decide her life and career.”

    Late last month, however, the Chinese government declared that parents like Wang were piling too much work on their children. In a shock decree that rocked the country’s stock markets and the share prices of Chinese education companies listed in New York, President Xi Jinping’s administration announced strict new curbs on tutoring companies that drastically reshape an industry worth more than $100bn a year in sales.

    The tutoring business in numbers

    16.6%

    Percentage of all educational expenses that is spent on tutoring by families in rural areas, according to a 2017 Peking University study

    44.2%

    Percentage of all educational expenses that is spent on tutors in China’s first-tier cities, according to the same study

    30%

    Average annual growth of the private tutoring market in 2017-19, reaching a total of Rmb800bn in sales

    This week it appeared that Xi’s nanny state was targeting another lucrative industry — video gaming, which China’s president has previously criticised for increasing “the incidence of myopia among students”.

    On Tuesday a state newspaper published a commentary that criticised online video games as “spiritual opium”. The term is a particularly loaded one for the Chinese Communist party, whose history emphasises the “century of humiliation” that began with China’s defeat by the British empire in the first Opium war of 1839-42 and ended with the party’s revolutionary victory in 1949. Even in the absence of any new regulations like those targeting education companies a week earlier, shares in Tencent, China’s largest online gaming provider, fell almost 11 per cent.

    The tutoring and video game controversies provide a window on to the mounting stresses and strains of middle-class life in China’s big cities. To outsiders, the world’s second-largest economy can often seem relentless, immune to even the worst pandemic in a century and notching persistently large increases in consumer spending as prosperity spreads rapidly across society.

    But for many residents of its larger cities, their lives have become riddled with anxieties that belie the broader sense of progress — from seemingly unattainable home prices to the hothouse pressure of securing the best education for their children and coveted places at leading universities.

    At stake in Xi Jinping’s crackdown, the president appears to believe, is the party’s ability to maintain unchallenged political control, which ultimately depends on its capacity to meet what the has termed ‘the people’s demand for a happier life’
    At stake in Xi Jinping’s crackdown, the president appears to believe, is the party’s ability to maintain unchallenged political control, which ultimately depends on its capacity to meet what the has termed ‘the people’s demand for a happier life’ © Naohiko Hatta/Getty Images

    And in the background there is the fear that nags at almost every ambitious parent — the possibility that their kids will grow tired of the race and seek refuge in the world of video games and the internet, which Xi has railed against for harbouring so many “dirty things”. 

    Rattled by parental angst, the party’s response has been to adopt the tactics of a nanny state, potentially reversing elements of the compact it has established with urban residents over the past four decades to steadily reduce its interference in their private lives.

    “It is parents’ anxiety that is driving the proliferation of after-school tutoring,” says Christina Zhu, an economist at Moody’s Analytics in Singapore. “That anxiety stems from uneven school quality, intense competition and possibly even a lack of confidence in the social security system.”

    At stake, Xi appears to believe, is the party’s ability to maintain unchallenged political control, which ultimately depends on its capacity to meet what the president has termed “the people’s demand for a happier life”.

    The property squeeze in numbers

    Apartment blocks in Shenzhen

    24

    Average annual home price to income ratio in Beijing. In the tech hub of Shenzhen it is 40; in Shanghai it is 26

    40%

    Percentage of salary that new graduates are paying in rent, according to China’s largest housing agency

    4.7%

    Average annual increase in price of new homes in China’s 70 biggest cities in June. In May it was 0.5%

    In 2011, when he was still vice-president, Xi told his then US counterpart, Joe Biden, that the Arab spring that was rolling across north Africa and the Middle East had erupted because governments had lost touch with their people, according to two American diplomats familiar with the exchange.

    At the 18th party congress in November 2012 that marked the beginning of his first term in power, Xi acknowledged the people’s aspirations for “better education, more stable jobs, higher incomes, more reliable social security and higher standard healthcare, more comfortable living conditions and a cleaner environment”.

    Xi and the party have now demonstrated that in order to deliver, they are willing to upend entire industries and intrude into deeply personal aspects of people’s lives, such as how to educate and raise their children. Shortly after Xi criticised video games in 2018 for harming kids’ eyesight, the education ministry recommended that children should have no more than one hour of non-educational screen time each day.

    “Xi has made it clear that he intends every policy area to be subject to the leadership of the party,” says Steve Tsang, director of the Soas China Institute in London.

    Students leave a private after-school class in Beijing. Private tutoring is a $100bn-a-year industry in China
    Students leave a private after-school class in Beijing. Private tutoring is a $100bn-a-year industry in China © Noel Celis/AFP via Getty Images

    ‘A stubborn disease’

    Over recent weeks, Xi’s administration has demonstrated that it is not too concerned about the collateral damage investors may suffer as the party extends its reach into new areas. “Beijing will not hesitate to completely overhaul an entire business environment if it deems it politically necessary,” says Chen Long at Plenum, a Beijing-based consultancy. “All sectors related to providing public goods traditionally viewed as not-for-profit will face greater risks.”

    Xi had foreshadowed the move against China’s booming tutoring industry in March when he told a group of educators that the sector was “a stubborn disease that is difficult to manage”. “Parents want their children to be physically and mentally healthy and have happy childhoods,” the president added. “On the other hand, they are afraid their children will lose before they even reach the starting line . . . This problem must be solved. Education should not be too focused on scores.”

    Ironically, says Zhu at Moody’s, some of the biggest economic victims of Xi’s crackdown on education will be recent university graduates, whose average monthly salary last year was just Rmb5,290, according to Zhilian Zhaopin, a Chinese online hiring platform. “The private tutoring sector provides millions of jobs,” she says. “The entire education sector accounted for 17 per cent of employment for recent graduates in 2020, the highest among all industries.”

    For most recent graduates, buying a flat in China’s most desirable cities is out of the question. According to EJ Real Estate, a property research institute, last year the average annual home price to income ratio was 40 in Shenzhen, the high-tech hub bordering Hong Kong, 26 in Shanghai and 24 in Beijing. Cities with ratios of 10 or lower are generally experiencing population outflows and offer little in the way of attractive employment opportunities.

    People play computer games at an internet café in Fuyang. President Xi Jinping is targeting the video gaming industry, which he has criticised for increasing ‘the incidence of myopia among students’
    People play computer games at an internet café in Fuyang. President Xi Jinping is targeting the video gaming industry, which he has criticised for increasing ‘the incidence of myopia among students’ © Lu Qijian/VCG/Getty Images

    Lianjia Beike, a housing agency, estimates that new graduates now spend more than 40 per cent of their income on rent.

    In addition to worrying that some children are doing too much as they prepare for the looming pressures of Chinese urban life, officials and parents also fret about an entirely different phenomenon whereby young people react to mounting social stresses by choosing to tang ping — or lie flat — and withdraw from the world.

    Another concept that has caught on this year in China is “involution”, an anthropological term used to describe a process by which some societies fail to realise their maximum economic potential. In Chinese the term is translated as nei juan, meaning to curl or turn inwards.

    Che Rui, a Beijing parent, signed his daughter up for supplemental Chinese, maths and English classes offered by some of the country’s largest tutoring companies a few years ago, as she moved from kindergarten to elementary school. He welcomes the government’s crackdown on the sector — but also worries about how to keep his daughter active and motivated outside school.

    “The tutoring companies were deliberately creating anxiety,” says Che, who noted that education providers were continuing to bombard him with sales messages even after the government’s broadside against the industry last month. “All discounts and benefits will expire at midnight,” one sales agent warned him over WeChat, the messaging app, if he didn’t rush to sign his daughter up for additional course offerings. “I hope you don’t regret it.”

    Pedestrians walk past apartment buildings in Beijing. Private tutoring is a large employer of recent graduates, who are estimated to spend more than 40% of their income on rent and for whom buying a flat in China’s most desirable cities is out of the question
    Pedestrians walk past apartment buildings in Beijing. Private tutoring is a large employer of recent graduates, who are estimated to spend more than 40% of their income on rent and for whom buying a flat in China’s most desirable cities is out of the question © Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

    Che says he is considering signing up his daughter for swimming, music and other recreational lessons, which are still officially encouraged by the government. “I don’t want her to turn inward,” he adds.

    University anxiety

    Many analysts and parents, however, believe that Xi is addressing the symptoms rather than the disease — the gaokao system itself.

    Wang, the father who arranged winter-break cram sessions for his teenage daughter in Baoding, says that “even if there had been a ban, I would still have gone around it by hiring a private tutor”. The Rmb6,000 he spent on a private tutor during that brief period is equivalent to about 40 per cent of his household’s monthly income, and almost one-quarter of the city’s average annual per capita disposable income of Rmb25,200.

    “If you don’t let your child study on holidays, other parents with more resources will and your child will be left behind. Imposing a simple solution on a complex problem doesn’t work,” he adds. “It just shuts the door for ordinary families.”

    Another much wealthier Chinese father, who has two teenage children and asked not to be named, says “some parents may cheer the crackdown, but the problem lies with the gaokao and the university entrance system”.

    “The anxiety is not going away because it’s not like you’re not in the race any more,” says the father, who went to university in the US and is also educating his children outside China. “Are you rich enough and have connections to do one-on-one tutoring? Online education was the starting point for average people. Their anxiety will come back very soon unless the government completely reforms the education system.

    “Look at South Korea, Japan and Taiwan,” he adds. “When is tutoring ever going to go away in Asian cultures?”

    Additional reporting by Xinning Liu, Xueqiao Wang and Edward White

  • Why China Is Cracking Down on Private Tutoring
    Personal Tutoring

    Why China Is Cracking Down on Private Tutoring

    Welcome to Foreign Policy’s China Brief.

    The highlights this week: Chinese regulators upend the $120 billion private education industry with new measures, Beijing issues an itemized list of grievances to U.S. diplomats, and a COVID-19 outbreak in Nanjing raises concerns over the delta variant.

    If you would like to receive China Brief in your inbox every Wednesday, please sign up here.


    Beijing’s War on Private Education

    The Chinese government has issued stringent new regulations for the private education industry. The rules include requiring tutoring and education services firms to convert to nonprofit status, banning core-curriculum tutoring—aimed at passing exams—during weekends and vacations, and forbidding foreign curricula or hiring foreigners outside of China to teach remotely.

    The regulatory moves, hinted at for months, have hammered stock prices in the $120 billion sector. New Oriental, a firm that dominates English-language learning, plunged from a high of $19.68 on the New York Stock Exchange in February to a low of $2.18 last Friday. Firms such as VIPKid, whose entire business model was built around offering relatively cheap access to Western teachers via digital learning, now have little choice but a desperate pivot.

    It’s tempting to relate the regulations of private education to Beijing’s war on technology companies and monopolies—and regulators are certainly empowered by the government push against private business. But these new measures also reflect a widespread belief in China that the private tutoring sector has bad effects for urban upper-middle-class parents and children, both in costs for the parents and the psychological impact on children.

    In China, education hinges on the gaokao, the all-important college entrance examination. Chinese parents can spend thousands of dollars a year on private tutoring just to keep their kids competitive; the stresses of parenthood were even turned into a hit video game. It’s important to remember that these costs were relegated to a relatively privileged stratum. Three in four Chinese children grow up in rural areas where the average annual disposable income is around $2,635 and access to education is severely limited.

    The average government official is also a member of the upper-middle class and has experienced the effects of the education race on their own families and children. That’s likely why the measures, while limiting curriculum cramming, try to encourage hobbies and cultural interests after school. Unlike in the United States, where extracurriculars are a key part of college admissions, they play little role in the gaokao system.

    If the new regulations work to lessen the cost burden on parents and the strain on children, the government hopes it can reverse demographic decline. The price of raising children in China is a powerful factor restricting family size, even after the government increased family-planning limits. Authorities are concerned not only about growth but also about so-called population quality—they want well-off families, not the rural poor, to have more children.

    The measures are also part of growing xenophobia in China. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) spends a lot of time worrying about ideological education. Measures restricting the study of U.S. and world history, for example, were put in place years ago. As the CCP sees it, banning foreign curricula and foreign teachers could prevent the creeping influence of foreign ideas and discourage Chinese students from applying to overseas universities.

    The regulations are not going to stop the very rich, who often have Ivy League ambitions for their children, from seeking out foreign tutoring anyway through discreet personal contacts and U.S. bank accounts. At the high end, the going price for one-on-one tutoring is already $200 an hour, and it may go up after these measures.

    The question is whether the same market will emerge for private tutoring for the middle classes—driving up the necessary cost to stay in the race rather than reducing it. South Korea offers a relevant lesson: The dictator Chun Doo-hwan banned private teaching in 1980, but by the time the sector was relegalized in 1991, it was bigger than ever. A second South Korean attempt to crack down on high-cost private education, started in 2011, has had only limited success.


    China’s itemized list of grievances. During a contentious visit by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman to Tianjin, China, on Monday, Beijing presented two sets of grievances with Washington. The first consisted of demands that the United States halt its sanctions programs, restrictions on CCP officials, and visa restrictions on Chinese students with military or state ties, and that it drop its extradition charge against Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. The second list raised concerns about the targeting of Chinese businesses and anti-Asian racism.

    Past presentations of similar grievances with Western countries have not gone well for China. A 14-point list given to Australia last September attracted widespread mockery and anger in the Australian media and hardened attitudes toward Beijing among government officials.

    Cooler heads presumably understand the list is likely to produce a similar reaction from the U.S. government. But this kind of denunciation has been part of communist diplomacy since Soviet era. As Chinese President Xi Jinping’s rule deepens and the break with the West becomes more ingrained, it makes political sense within China even if it creates a diplomatic headache.


    Rescue workers cross a flooded street following heavy rain that claimed the lives of at least 33 people in Zhengzhou, China, on July 23.

    Rescue workers cross a flooded street following heavy rain that claimed the lives of at least 33 people in Zhengzhou, China, on July 23.NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images

    Flooding fallout. Xenophobia also resonates on the ground in China, as shown recently when foreign reporters attempting to cover the devastating floods in Zhengzhou faced angry mobs whipped up by local officials. The death toll in Zhengzhou, now at 71 and likely to rise, seems to have resulted in part from local businesses and public institutions ignoring flood warnings to keep staff at home. Chinese labor law is strict about working conditions and danger to workers in theory. In practice, it’s rarely enforced.

    Delta variant outbreak. A major COVID-19 outbreak—by Chinese standards—in Nanjing is causing worries due to the rapid spread of the delta variant and the possibility that the city’s airport became a transmission zone. Citywide testing and isolation, a well-established routine in China, will probably contain the outbreak. But concerns about the delta variant are likely to constrain a domestic tourism sector that was slowly recovering.

    Dissident entrepreneur sentenced. Sun Dawu, an agricultural entrepreneur and multimillionaire who became an outspoken critic of CCP policy, was sentenced to 18 years in prison on Wednesday. The sentence is identical that given to Ren Zhiqiang, a retired tycoon who criticized Xi, last year. Sun was a popular figure known for his local philanthropy; he had a sharp eye for the impact of policy on ordinary people, especially farmers.

    Targeting dissident businesspeople is a boon for officials: Not only do they remove a potential political threat, but the individual’s financial assets can also be divvied up as rewards for the faithful. Sun’s son hinted at that, saying that an official had recommended several unrelated businesses to take over the Dawu Group.


    Evergrande in danger. The Chinese real estate giant Evergrande, whose shaky prospects and massive debts have been a serious concern for months, saw its stock fall by 13.4 percent on Tuesday after the board reversed course on a special dividend announced two weeks ago. Evergrande was the most valuable real estate company in the world in 2018, but its fortune was built atop a mountain of liabilities.

    Beijing seems determined to keep it propped up for the moment, fearing that it could turn into Chinese real estate’s Lehman Brothers, with failure prompting a chain of collapse through a debt-laden industry that has been the one of the main drivers of economic growth in China.

    Stock market panic. The Golden Dragon index, which tracks Chinese technology stocks, has fallen by 15 percent in the last couple of days amid the introduction of private education regulations and fears of further action against tech firms. Chinese stocks are now the worst-performing in Asia.

    It seems like Beijing may have finally crossed the red line for analysts such as economist Stephen Roach, a self-described “congenital optimist” on China who warned this week of “disturbing actions” and the start of a cold war. “China is going after the core of its new entrepreneurial driven economy, and it’s going after their business models,” he said.

    Beijing seems spooked by the reaction: The China Securities Regulatory Commission convened an emergency meeting on Wednesday in an attempt to reassure investment banks. As I argued recently, Western financial analysts have underestimated Chinese political risk for years. If that’s snapped, it means the loss of a major pro-China engagement faction in U.S. politics.

    Huawei lobbying. The Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, which has faced a barrage of restrictions in the West in the last few years, is attempting a concerted lobbying campaign in Washington, hoping that the Biden administration will prove receptive. That seems extremely unlikely: President Joe Biden’s team has continued most Trump-era restrictions, and technology remains at the forefront of the U.S.-China confrontation.

    Nevertheless, the firm has recently hired a cluster of new lobbyists, including the once-influential Democratic figure Tony Podesta, whose lobbying group was dissolved in late 2017 after getting caught up in the investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.


    “China Is Using Tibetans as Agents of Empire in the Himalayas,” by Robert Barnett, Foreign Policy

    This investigation into the nearly 250,000 Tibetans coerced into new border fortress-villages in the Himalayas follows on FP’s earlier revelation of Chinese annexations in Northern Bhutan. Tibetans, unlike Uyghurs, are seen as useful to the Chinese state rather than an obstacle to Himalayan expansionism. Their historical cross-border ties and cultural adaptation to mountain life make them ideal agents of empire—at the cost of their own choices and lives, as Barnett details.