ebook reader

I got to try one of these out the other day, It’s a Sony ebook reader which is meant to be the future for digital publishing. It’s really slim and about the size of a paperback and can hold over 100 books on it depending on the size of the hard-disc.  I work in digital publishing so hear a lot about these things and how they will revolutionise everything but I’m not so convinced ?:-)

Granted It’s very clever and lots of design has gone into the screen which looks as crisp as I’ve ever seen a screen – apparently it uses real ink to make it look more like a real book.  Having said this I am yet  to stare at it for hours on end in order to see if my eyes hurt just as they do when you look at a computer monitor for too long. ..The battery life is almost endless with 7500 page turns before it needs changing.

I do see the advantage of being able to have 100 books on one reader, for students it could be a very useful resource and would alleviate the need to have textbooks for everything. For the traveller who can’t get editions abroad, they could have all the books they ever want stored in one location.  So for a select few it could prove to be a very useful gadget to have.

The problem is that at the moment there are very few e-format books that can be bought and downloaded from the major publishers. And so part of what I’m doing in my current job is to help get all the titles converted so they are available in E format.

As you’ve probably guessed, I’m quite cynical about this.  I don’t really think many people (beyond those in digital publishing!) will go out and by one of these devices with their own money. Firstly they’re really expensive, £250 is the figure going around, just for the reader – then you need books and they cost the same price as the print equalivant!

There’s no way I’d pay £30 for an eBook, even if it was the best book ever written. :X-P:

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Some pics from the snow this morning.  I’ve haven’t seen this much snow fall in London since I was about 5.  It hardly ever snows here and when it does it seldom gets cold enough to settle in the city. 🙂  Perhaps the rareness of it all has caused everything to temporarily shut down…Snow on Sydenham Highstreet

There must be 3 inches at most, but there are no trains and the buses have all been cancelled on ‘health and safety grounds’.   I daresay in the summer when there’s

a coupe of days with +30C temperatures, people will be dying from sunstroke, hosepipes will be banned and trains won’t run ‘because its too hot’.

It Just shows how useless people in the south of England are at adapting to different types of weather.

Other countries with far fewer resources at their disposal manage just fine. Afterall, the roads in Changchun are frozen for 3 months of the year

but they manage so much better than people do here, and on far fewer resources.    The media gets into such a hysteria over it all, making the situation worse than it really is.  Perhaps they just want something to report on?? ?:-)

I did actually try to get to work and started to walk the 6 miles or so, but I turned back and gave up as I was  constantly thinking  ‘who else in my office would bother walking this far to work‘ .   It’s cynical I know, but why bust-a-gut when you know that no-one else has bothered and you’ll get paid regardless….

In a better place  people would be rewarded for getting into work in such situations or simply would not get paid for not being there.

No excuses!   I’m sure if this was the case then most people would find a way into the office, I know I would!

Perhaps one day, people on this little island will learn to get on with life when the weather isn’t overcast and grey, (aprox 50 days per year) though I feel this will take such a seismic cultural shift, I doubt it will ever happen in my lifetime.

Coughs and Colds

I write this sitting in the office during my lunch break, unusually the sun is shining outside and the office is pretty much empty. The pic below shoes what I see in the evenings out of the window, It’s something I still can’t quite get used to.

Things have died down, though annoyingly I am still busy with lots of things going on. Over the last few months the atmosphere at my work has changed, the CEO has announced a pay freeze (on everyones pay except his, some thing never change!) and I am certain that more people will lose their jobs next year (despite what the business says to the contrary).

I guess you have to be positive, so in a perverted way, it gives an ideal opportunity for business to offload the dead wood, those that come to work do very little (apart from watch BBC sport online) and blame the job cuts it on the economy.


It’s that time of the year when people start to get colds and coughs and the perennial ‘flu bug’ goes round. What I’ve noticed over the last few weeks is that there is this mentality (certainly where I work anyway) where people will come to work anyway if they are not feeling well, in the hope that it will go away and they will grin and bear it.

You can’t question the work-ethic of such thinking, but for me it’s very short-sited, selfish and ultimately stupid.

I am very lucky in that I seldom get Ill, but I can’t help feeling annoyed by people that come to work with horrible coughs and colds exposing their germs and bacteria to everyone they get near to. It is selfish and stupid. So of course, those that are not sick soon become Ill and the cycle continues to the point where, last week, so many people were actually off work sick, normal operation of the business suffered.

So many people here can choose to work from home if they are not feeling great, but still feel up to working-they don’t even have to come into the office – So why is is that so many people come to work sick or coughing their guts up and spreading their diseases, when they should be at home?

Mis education

People think it will go away (which to be fair, it will do eventually) they can grin and bear it. Macho attitude – weak to admit you are sick.!

Don’t understand/don’t care just how easy it is for you to pass a cold on to another person (i.e handshake)

Attitude and social values –

Some people think its bad to be Ill and will pretend they are ok. Don’t know why this is, may be a certain stigma is attached to people who can’t work, on benefits etc…

Importance –

Some will go to work as there is something they must attend/do.

Even if they are suffering from the plague they must attend.

It’s interesting contrasting this with China.  Despite it being generally dirtier in Chinese cities and less hygienic for sure, many in the west would think the Chinese are hypochondriacs and overreact to illnesses.

There are some nasty bugs in China that you don’t get in the UK, but the obvious reason for this kind of hypochondria (beyond the fact that nobody really wants to be sick) is lack of employment rights (i.e no sick pay/statutory benefits are almost non existent) and health care costing money.

You get sick, you pay.

I don’t get it, it’s one of the (very few) advantages of the social system that exists in the UK whereby you are legally entitled to not have to go into work if you are unwell. You even GET PAID (unless you work for yourself), If you get really Ill, you continue to get paid in some cases for 6 months or more. You even get free health care, ok you have to pay for a prescription, but access to see a doctor does not cost you a penny!


I also think there is a way of doing things that has grown out of personal car ownership whereby people seldom wear warm clothes that were once worn in the UK; thermals, long coats, thick jumpers are a thing of the past. People get out of their warm cars and don’t spend long amounts of time outside like they used to – I think this is a contributor to sickness and Illness as it makes people more susceptible to illness, but I’m not doctor this is just a thought…


Maybe I am cynical in my attitude, but I think that I am almost entitled to my days off work from sickness. If I feel unwell, I wont go to work. In the UK don’t feel I have to justify this to anybody, after all I pay more than my fair share of taxation that supports this very social system :soldier: !!!  I’m not talking about abusing the system i.e. being ‘sick’ and claiming benefits from the government, rather than working. It’s more a case of making the most of what you pay for and not spreading your illness to others in the office.

In China when I was sick I would not get paid or would have to make up the hours missed. However, I paid very little tax, so when I was Ill I knew that I would have to pay from my own pocket. This is a harsher system and detrimentally affects those that are more susceptible to illness like the Old and the very young , but from a purely selfish perspective it’s better for me in my current situation!

Pros and Cons

Having worked in an office environment for almost a year, I have come to fully appreciate how much better your quality of life can be working in different environments each day.  Not just stuck indoors, at a desk, looking at a screen most of the day.  Being around  different people and having the freedom to choose how you approach your daily life does have its advantages.

I guess I am in a better position now to reflect upon these things, I guess strangely what’s best about this is that having the experience gives you the chance to put  things into a perspective that others don’t have; helps you see things in another light.

I spent almost 3 years teaching English in China full or part time and it was one of the most interesting and rewarding things I’ve ever done. At times it was tough, frustrating and difficult, but overall I still beleive it’s a positive thing to do if you ever get the chance.

Saying this,  teaching is an incredibly tiring thing to do. It is not like a desk-job – you have to constantly be on the ball and the amount of speaking/exertion of energy is quite high, which can really drain you.

I would say that it is more tiring than the 7am-7pm day I  have at the moment, even with all the commuting.

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The Gym

I walk to work everyday through central London, I enjoy this. Not only is it an interesting place to walk through, it helps keep me healthy and saves money. 🙂  An absolute no brainer you would think.

When I tell people at work that I do this many people think I am mad. It’s only 2 miles each way, I get to walk along the thames, past st pauls and along some really interesting side streets. There is no excuse for not doing this in the summer as the weather here is not humid and the sun not very strong.

The underground transport system in London is pretty unpleasant at the best of times (more like a sewer for people) and during the rush-hour cannot cope with the amount of people who use it. It’s also expensive and dirty and prone to delays – so why do people who travel short distances still use it??

I guess its more out of routine, following the crowd – doing what they’ve alway done.  It’s a mindset, a psychology of indifference- I hope I never end up being like this. :dazed:



Olympics Goldfish Trinket

Saw this in the paper this morning – lots of anti-China press on this. I get annoyed reading some of the right-wing rubbish in the papers about China, clearly written by people who have never been there in their life and so nothing about the context of what they are saying.
People here think this is incrediby cruel and selfish as the fish will only have enough oxygen to live for a few hours before suffocating. This is true and it is disturbing that for the Olympic games people are prepared to go so low as to make money from this – but if there is demand for such a product (as there is in china) then business is business.
To most westerners this is an example of the Chinese selling anything to make a quick profit, but people from here do not understand that the Chinese have a different cultural attitude towards animals, and misplace this as thinking the Chinese are cruel to animals.
Having visied the zoo in Changchun quite a few times, I know that almost all westerners would be appaled at the way in which the animals are treated – especially in being made to perform tricks – jump through hoops on fire, ride bikes and even try their hand at roller skates.


Been working hard. Time has been going so fast recently, have got into the 9-5 routine which isn’t great, but the work is good at least.

Still find myself taking pictures of London walking to work, at lunch and coming home even though I Spend most of my time in an office looking out over the Thames.


Kind of feel a bit like a tourist at times, anyway…


  Wrote this rant a couple of weeks ago in response to some of the stuff been shown on TV and in cyberspace –

What a total joke the torch relay is.

I was in London as the torch procession went through, and I was appalled at how big a police operation was needed just to let 1 person carry a rather small torch through a stupidly long route of 31 miles around London.

Politics aside, whoever made the go-ahead for this torch-relay through London should be out of a job.

It apparently cost the UK taxpayer 1 million pounds (1400wan) just for the policing operation – money which I pay was spent on this is a total disgrace.

Perhaps the bill could be sent to the organising committee of the Beijing Games – why should my tax go into such an event???

The government here is so afraid of upsetting the Chinese government viz-a-viz the Olympics simply because the 2012 Olympics is here in London. They realise that any action taken by them that is seen to be negative by the Chinese, will probably result in tit-for-tat reprisals in 4 years time. How pathetic. It’s only a sporting event – if anything else caused so much fuss and budget overun they would cancel the event, but because it’s the Olympics every rational thought is removed from the equation.

Personally I don’t care what anybody ‘thinks’- it’s a simple question of wasting taxpayers money on an un-necessary and pointless event.

 I have the feeling that this is the tip of the iceberg and that this is just the beginning of billions of pound of taxpayers money being thrown into the Olympic black-hole. No-body really actually know the full price of hosting such an event, or whether it is finanically a goer – the only certainty is that those that run the Olympic movement -the IOC (an unaccountable bribe-taking group of degenerates) – are lining their own pockets.

I don’t believe why many people that say sport and politics are separate – who are they kidding?

I can only think they must be incredibly naive/bordering moronic. When you have people representing their respective countries in an international event then the two will inevitably overlap.

Personally I don’t actually understand why there is a torch relay anyway? Apparently It’s a tradition started by Hitler and the Nazis in the wartime Olympics- so why is it still continued??

I think the answer is that the people behind the Olympics – the very powerful and corrupt IOC – think that the greater the publicity and build-up to the event, the more money can be made though endorsements and merchandise and the like. It’s all about corporate business being able to associate their name with the globally recognised olympic brand and make more money through exploiting this.


At the torch relay in London there were Beijing Olympic flags being given out and these long blow-up tube things that are used to make loud noises when hit together. On the reverse side of the flags wasn’t the Olympic logo, or even the Chinese flag but a large black image saying – SAMSUNG…

For those particularly nationalistic Chinese that think the Olympics is about China’s coming of age from it’s ‘peaceful rise’ – my opinion is that is only a footnote.

It’s more about western big business having a platform to advertise to a massive -as-of-yet, un-tapped market. To publicise and market it’s brands to the 1.6 billion Chinese that present a massive business opportunity in the next few years. To put this into perspective – there are about 300 million people in the US and about 500 million in the whole EU – the potential in China is massive.

I believe It’s also about those powerful people that run China doing deals and making lots and lots of money on the back of the Olympic brand. The whole nationalistic idea is a smokescreen for the true purpose of the games. Oh yes and there is a sporting event too.

I am not anti-China, It is great that somewhere like China has the chance to host such an event that It has never had the chance to host before.

If people in 4 years criticised the British government about some human rights abuses and there were protests at the London games, I can bet you that British people would not necessarily see it as a slur on their country and national identity as the Chinese have.

Here the government is separate from the identity of the country; in China it is not. To a huge extent, the communist party is China – you say something bas about the Communists then you are a threat to China.

It’s interesting reading some of the stuff you see in the UK Press about China – it almost all has negative connotations. Very few positive stories make the cut. Is this because there is are no good things to report in China? – of course not, but those are usually not so interesting stories for the viewers- plus news shown on TV here is usually negative by nature.   Just watching the BBC the other day the lead story was that ‘China is now the World’s biggest polluter’.

The coverage was ever so melodramatic, as if a milestone has been passed and that the end of the world is near and through implication China is now to blame for the most of it.   Yes the Chinese are big polluters, but the west has been doing it for more than half a century. 

For me this story was re-hashed old news and I don’t see how it could be justified as the top story on the evening news – so its no wonder when you talk to a westerner about China the first words they say are words like pollution, power-stations or human rights.

I think that people generally believe what they are fed on the news or at least subconsciously absorb the information without thinking about it. Just as the people in China are fed a news-diet of censored government propaganda, in the UK the news organisations also have their own agendas. The problem is that if a story has a potential to be sensationalised and people can relate to it through images, then it sells more papers, gets more viewers. And that’s what the bottom line is.

I’ve read lots of Chinese news sites showing articles with Chinese people getting annoyed about what’s been shown on CNN, the way it’s been sensationalised and some of the particularly dull commentary made by it’s journalists. I think Chinese people have to realise that CNN is simply sensationalising the story in order to capture more viewers/ appeal to their viewership (ie. lowest common denominator /not very thinking people ((mostly Americans in this case)) ) – something that American news channels do as a matter of course.

This is nothing new.

Just as the Chinese press is far from impartial so is the UK press – the difference is that when bad things are said about the UK by the Chinese press, people in the UK really don’t care;

People even show their nationalism throughMSN Whereas in China people are much more nationalistic and proud and therefore more sensitive to criticism (right or wrong) of the state and see it as an affront to the dignity of Chinese people. In the west we are used to hearing bad things said all the time about our country, In China you are you not.

This is in-part due to people in mainland China only ever reading and viewing what the government wants them to read/see i.e never any bad news about the Communist party – unless it’s scapegoating an individual as a means to show how the party is weeding out those so called bad apples!

There is also a slightly sinister side to this I think; when the political might of the Communist party gets behind the whole ‘China’ issue and propagates it’s view of the situation to the people.  The Chinese are very fast to jump on the bandwagon – and I would have to say If the object of their derision is non-Chinese (i.e foreigners) It is very easy to whip-up those people into nationalistic frenzy.

I witnessed this kind of reactionary behaviour during the Japanese textbook row erupted a couple of years ago. Many Chinese were incensed and threatened boycotts of Japanese goods and all sorts of other punitive actions-  But what actually happened was nothing. When it came to the crunch people were not willing to fore-go their JVCs and Toyotas.

The whole Tibet argument is not something new, it has been around for decades. Everybody in the west knows about China and it’s human-rights recordm- this is also old news.

My opinion is that this is not as clear-cut as many of the protesters like to make out, bad things go on in all countries – just they are better at keeping it secret in the west.  In my opinion  western governments have very little moral high ground, if any at all to lecture the Chinese.

It is only now that the stuff in the Chinese media has started to show less towards foreigners and more direction it at the ‘dalai clique’ (who incidentally don’t even want independence for Tibet, simply the ability to run their own affairs within a region of China like Hong Kong) – even the communists know that it’s western business that makes the Olympics what it is, and for all it’s rhetoric, Beijing wants a smooth Olympics at all costs.

There is a problem that I think the Chinese authorities have with the Olympics – for all the great economic and social achievement over the last 20 years, China is still miles behind when it comes to liberty, the rule of law, freedom of speech and ultimately, human rights. In a sense it has developed socially and economically but not politically – within China this poses no real problem but to some in the West this poses serious issues.

The huge irony in seeing so many pro-china protesters (mostly rich Chinese students) on the streets of London the other day, is that in this country (for now at least!) you are allowed to protest, to show your opinion peacefully – even if the government does not agree with it.  In China you cannot.

6 months on… 半年后

Been back in the UK for 6 months.  😯

It’s been an interesting experience, some things have sometimes not gone as planned and It has been tougher than I expected. Now things are starting to get better, though I still miss my life in China.

There are many frustrating things about moving back to your home country that you don’t consider until you’re actually back here. Thins which you don’t consider before leaving. I knew the transition would be quite difficult, I had planned for it to be tough, but still there are many things about life here that is just so infuriating.

Over the past few weeks I’ve written some of the more frustrating things I’ve come across in trying to reintegrate back into UK life.

What I’ve noticed is that you start get used to things after a while, but that necessarily doesn’t mean that you like those alll of those thongs. For me the biggest advantage (or disadvantage perhaps 😕 ) of being outside the country for a while, is that I now think about many things about my life in the UK that previously I never even gave a second glance to. It’s certainly made me more critical of things and as a result of this sadly I’m getting more and more cynical.

I think there are many things to worry about living here that I never had in China.

It isn’t all to do with money but the incredibly high cost of living is a major factor- but there are other wider issues that concern me about living in the UK.

I think you basically have to realise that there really are no systems in place for British nationals coming back after living abroad for a while. It’s as if you are being punished for daring to leave the motherland! 😈

Many people are supported in various ways in the UK, actually pretty much everyone except you – because you don’t exist – and even if you did you can’t be trusted until you’ve been resident in the UK – but of course you still pay tax – Children, Old people, not-so-old-people, sick people, disabled people, certain ethnic groups, single parents, married couples, unmarried couples, gay partners, transsexuals, fat people and prisoners, the list goes on…

I wouldn’t be complaining if I paid little tax and could opt out fromt the system, but I can’t.

My views about taxation have changed considerably since living in China. I agree that people should pay tax, what I disagree with is paying such a high rate of tax on everything; inproping up an overblown controlling state apparatus, in effect supporting the system I disagree with.

As someone that has come back to the ‘motherland’ (I’m searching for a noun for this) You do not exist.

You are a non-person.

You may think (as I did) So what? What difference does that make anyway? Well, from my experience, it can make things really hard because if you have not been in the country, basically, you are not on any of the big-brother computer systems that dictate whether or not we can do something.

Because I have been out of the country for 3 years, OBVIOUSLY, I have had no UK addresses since then. This is not a difficult concept to grasp. But to the authorities you surely have something to hide, nobody leaves the UK to live abroad, right? To the government you are lower than a person that has just come out of prison, at least in their eyes they knew where they were and what they were doing!

The thing is, I can actually prove where I have been, I have various rental contracts and contracts of employment that show this, passport stamps, visas – but this is of no use to anyone in the UK.

To the UK government if you go to live in a place like China you might as well have gone to live on the moon.

For me this is exacerbated because I left here straight after university, meaning I have no investments in the UK i.e property; had not paid into the tax system, – I had nothing to link myself with here.

Here are some other issues I’ve encountered from not being in the UK:

Not eligible for many jobs. Can’t pass basic security clearance (and so many jobs unnecessarily require this) – criminal records checks. Can’t pass credit reference checks ( and so many jobs unnecessarily require this too!!!) Ineligible for many government jobs (probably a good thing 😉 ).

I just think it’s all gone too far. It’s beyond a joke – westerners may complain about many Chinese not being able to think for themselves, not being able to join-the-dots – but here people have seemingly have lost the ability to use common sense. People are constantly looking over their shoulders, worried about breaking some rule or regulation, frightened about saying something that may offend despite it being the right thing to do… Anyway

Can’t open Bank accounts as – No UK utility bills, not on the electoral roll (even though I have the right to vote, UK nationals can’t vote at UK embassies- must have UK address) no UK tax receipts, no rental agreements, mortgage statements, etc etc etc…..

Basically nothing that I can use to prove where I have been living for the last few years that they will accept. So I am an outcast It’s so annoying as there is no flexibility in the system – you are either in or out.

I feel as if every single corner of your life is tightly controlled by the government, but of course this only affects the law abiding people. It’s normal people who suffer, and so I my eyes you are effectively punished for being law abiding. This is partly why I have come to the conclusion that government and over regulation is the problem, not the solution.

The irony is that the UK is meant to be a capitalist country and China a communist, command economy – but to me it’s almost the opposite. People in the UK think that this is a democratic country, think they have rights, when in reality it is a very shallow democracy and your rights in the UK are being eroded everytime parliamant makes another law. Afterall therei s is no entrenched written constitution in the UK, and all the political leaders have been to the same schools, came from the same backgrounds;- its the same whichever country you live in…

I’m not saying thatthe Chinese government is perfect, far from it. They have some disgusting practices and cause so many people to have hard lives, but my point is that generally speaking for most people living their lives, most of the time the government takes very little interest in your own affairs.

Contracts 合同 Part 2 – Bad Contract

Here are some of the more important parts of a particuarly bad contract that I once signed with Star Education – It’s bad but not the most unfair contract I’ve seen in China. Most teaching contracts are set out in a similar fashion to this and do I hope this can be of help to anyone who wishes to sign a contract to teach in China.

In the contracts there’s all sorts of waffle that really isn’t so important to you, most of it is there as it’s government policy to put these things into work contracts.

Below is taken from the annex or the part of a contract that is written by the host institution (i.e a company/language centre), not the government SAFEA booklet as that’s standard accross China and only used by mainly public universities and colleges.


This is a real trick that could get you into a lot of difficulty with a dishonest employer. Usually you should ALWAYS have the amount of hours you work PER WEEK – and state that what exactly a week is i.e. – Monday to Friday.

Having hours per month means that you will probably have different class times each week, no real fixed schedule. It will mean lots of travelling between schools and will kill your free time.

The employer will say that 20 hours a week = 80 Hours a month, If so then why not put 20 hours per week into the contract not 80 hours per month?

The worst thing is that if you only get paid if you work all of the hours in the contract (i.e handing in timesheets) , and if the company you work for can’t give you all the hours – for whatever reason – you will not get paid fully.   Also if the company says you must work 60 hours this week to make up all of the hours you are meant to work in a month, you have to do it – essentially it puts lots of strain on your time


It is in the employers interest to have contract that specify monthly hours, not yours. It is a practice used by farming companies and some private schools.


This is too general, try to get it narrowed down to exactly what you will be teaching. I.e oral English, English writing or whatever it may be.

Again far to broad. Changchun – although not a big city in China – still has about 7 million people living there.  Also the way the Chinese designate their cities through the various sprawling districts, you could end up working 40km away from the city centreitself as it’s still classed as Changchun.  I once worked an hours coach trip from the centre of Changchun in a place called shuangyang (双阳)which is still considered part of Changchun by the government.

This means that you may have one class in the east of the city in the morning and anoter in the west in the afternoon.  You’ll have no time for lunch because it will take you all the time to get there.  You may have to take a taxi because the buses take too much time and and the end of a days work you may have made very little and be totally exhausted.

Try to get the locations fixed, the names of campuses, buildings if possible.  If you have to work elsewhere – get transport (i.e taxi) paid for – good schools will have no problem doing this.   


Again get it as specific as possible unless you don’t mid teaching all ages.


This is a trick clause and should be removed from all contracts before signing.   Bsaically what it is telling you is that the company/school probably can’t get you enough classes  and so don’t want to pay you all of your salary.   It puts you in a very diffcult position if the employer has no work for you, as you are still employed by them but are not being paid!   A good employer will never have anything like this in it’s contract, if you see it in an initail contract it’s a big red flag.  Avoid.


So leading on from the previous point, when you dont work 80 hours a month you will only be paid pro-rata at 62 an hour.  This is very bad indeed.  Furthermore as most classes last 40 or 45 minutes you will only be paid 42 or 47 yuan per class.   If a class is cancelled (as they often are) you will  have to make up the hours in your free time. 

 To put this in perspective, I know Chinese English teachers who make more than this per hour and they work far fewer classes a week.

Good organisations do not do this.  A class, whether it be 30 mins, 40, 45, 50 or 1 hour is classed as a teaching hour.   Again, if you see this in a contract – run.

4.3, 4.4

 Repeats the above condition. Just remember, why would an employer put a clause like this into a contract?  What are his/her motives?   It certainly isn’t in the interest of his employees… 

You get paid  for the months classes, so if you start mid-month, will only get 2 weeks pay.  Basic meaning is that you will be paid in arrears.   Universities don’t pay in arrears, they pay on a fixed date (usually the 15th) and the pay is for the full month.

 Agreeing to this could cause you to lose half a months pay – as you may never see the pay for the arrears worked.   

Your overtime will be paid at 80 yuan an hour – but only if it exceeds 80 hours a month.  So if you have only worked 70 hours in the month, there is nothing stopping your employer making you work 10 hours in one day and you will not see any overtime.

This clause protects the employer from ever paying overtime to his employees, he/she will give the work to those people that have not made up 80 hours a month rather than pay over time.   Incidently, overtime is always paid at a miniumum of 100 Yuan an hour and personally I wouldn’t put this into the contract.  I would deal with any overtime as it comes, on case-by-case basis, and negotiate at the actual time.  I have been paid 200 yuan an hour for some jobs, It depends on the actual situation. 


 No holiday or vacation pay.  Very bad indeed, everyone should get paid for at least the October and May holidays.  And make up the classes missed.   No winter vacation pay, so will have at least 2 months where there is very little work available and no guaranteed income.  Unless you moonlight. 


Probably the most straight forward part of the contract, you get 800 Yuan for rent each month.  This is extra to your salary and you get it each month regardless of how many hours you work.  800 really isn’t enough to get a decent apartment in central Changchun, for that you need more like 1500 yuan a month.   

Actually I was told that this 800 would not be paid to me as the company had no classes for me – and so I wouldn’t be teaching for 2 months – As you can see that is basides the point, I get this regardless of how much I work.  This eventually led me to perform a runner from the company as it was my only prudent choice of action at the time. 


Note the wording ‘fulfill the contract’ this can be misconstrued and twisted by any employer.  Get dates i.e. 31st July 2007 will get paid …. for  Flight ticket – this leaves no ambiguities.  Also only from Beijing, you still have to get to Changchun.  Wihout discount that’s another 2000 Yuan to your ticket price.  To be honest to get to the UK from Changchun return, if you include all transport costs is 7000+.      

The final passage is next to meaningless as it says should not, which in legal documents means nothing whatsoever.


Again badly worded, can be misconstrued.  Get exact pay dates into the contract.


This is potentially disasterous for the teacher.  If a school re-schedules, you MUST obey any class shifting – even if you are only given 30 mins notice.  This should never be agreed to, it must be reasonable.


Standard government stuff, but is far to sweeping and needs to be tidied-up.  Not to enagage in any mass activities is far too excessive – you could argue that by signing this you cannot teach as that in itself is a mass activity!   😉  


Ignore, not important – almost all contracts have something like this in it.  Just don’t tell party A,  but make sure other work does not clash with one this work. 


Ignore.  Just dont tell them, it’s  none of their business what you choose to do in your free time.  They are trying to cover themselves if you get hurt or injured whilst not working as technically as an employer they are vicariously liable for you.

It's a secret!!It's a secret!!10.4

Designed to scare you more than anything else.   I highly doubt whether this is based on actual fact, but to be honest it’s not important.  You have to ask the rhetorical question – Why would somebody ‘ sudden disappearance/departure of party B from his or her post’ ?

Clearly they have had problems previously and are trying to scare people into not running from a contract that has been dishonoured by the employer.   In my experience people don’t just run for no reason.  Some are home sick and leave very soon after arriving in China, but most do it because their employer is screwing them/going to screw them.