Author's Note Jan 2016: While everything in this article is true, I have deleted all identifying references to the school and persons associated with it. The school and/or persons associated with it no longer operate as they did in 2009-2010, and have not bothered me now for several years. I think it only fair then to remove identity information. The Franchiser is now identified as [The Franchiser], the Canadian Chinese Franchisee as [The Boss] and the organization as [The School] R.P. BD
In 2009 I went to work for [The School] in Baotou in Inner Mongolia. I walked out after 3 months at which time I was the longest serving staff member.
In employing me, the school had not followed legal requirements and had neither registered me with the local authorities nor provided me with a legally required local work visa. I wrote positive articles about the school while I was employed there and negative ones after I left, including one about the violence that occurred at the Education Department in Baotou.
Every so often I get emails from foreign teachers asking me about [The School]. Some of these have been extremely suspicious and one was openly nasty. I am well aware of the lies told about me, and am well aware that some foreigners are not only emotional simpletons, (undoubtedly a result of political correctness), but extremely ignorant of Chinese law in relation to the employment of foreign teachers. For that reason I published the article entitled: Questions You should Ask Private Schools in China.
Today I want to make two statements about foreign teachers and the [The Franchise] Schools. These are:
1. I have never written fully about [The School]. There is a lot I have not yet published, but everything I have published is both true and 'first hand' knowledge. If you don't care to believe what I have written, then so be it. It is not my job to convince you of anything at all. Forewarned is forearmed. It is illogical to write to me to tell me that you, a person who was not there; that you, a person who can only listen to [The School] monologues; that you, a person who is being treated quite well by [The School], know the 'real truth'. It is also illogical to write to me, a person whose last meeting with [The School] management was in May of 2010, and ask me for information about their current day-to-day operations. Such emails are a waste of time. Believe what you will and do as you please.
2. It is not my job to prevent foreign teachers from working for [The School] in China, and nor is it my job to protect foreign teachers from any harm, or offer remedies when they are harmed through working for this private school organization. When you make a decision to work for that company, it is YOUR decision. If you choose not to believe anything I have written, then that is YOUR choice and YOUR responsibility.
I had one person write me who used a male European name, but the language, despite being grammatically correct, was couched in Chinese cultural thinking. After several email exchanges it became obvious that the person who 'allegedly' wrote to me in the first instance, neither wrote that letter, nor had read any of the material referred to in the email.
Another person claiming to be a black woman from Chicago wrote to tell me she had a lot of dirt on the Boss of [The School] Baotou, and asked if I would publish it. I told her, and I publicly herein tell EVERY PERSON WHO WRITES to me, that if you wish to publish something, you will need to provide me an email address for publication, as well as a copy of your passport and a copy of your contract.
The lady mentioned above kept writing every so often promising to send me material straight away, but never did, and even sent me a link to some article which made criminal accusations against the [The School] president. I got the distinct feeling that I was being conned into hastily writing hearsay about [The School].
Recently another person wrote to me asking me questions about what [The School] Baotou is 'really like'. The questions were ridiculous. I advised the person that provided [The School] Baotou was able to provide a legitimate local visa and followed the law to have them legally registered to live in Baotou, then they had nothing to fear.
At the time I was in Baotou, both in relation to my employment and to the subsequent employment of the female American referred to in the article about violence at the Education Department, [The School] was not following the law. They were not legally entitled to hire foreign teachers.
Any teacher who is legitimately employed, and properly registered, is able to pack up and leave if the going gets tough, but any teacher whose 'bona fides' (as a foreigner living and working in Baotou) are not legitimately established, could find themselves being deported from China.
I would hope that all the problematical behavior of management at [The School] has long since changed, and that they are currently fulfilling their legal obligations. I would hope that anyone who goes to work there would be well treated or at least not abused, cheated or lied to.
But foreigners who to write to me to ask my advice are either 'plants' working for [The School] or just plain foolish. What I have written about [The School] is published. Believe what I wrote or don't. It is not my problem.
I did at one stage forward to a government officer, correspondence received from a foreigner still living in America. (That American had received advice from [The School] which, if it were followed, would have created legal problems for him). The government officer informed me that I had provided that person with sufficient warning about the legal requirements and if the foreigner came and got into trouble, then it is not my concern. Everyone must be responsible for their own behavior.
So, to all you foreigners who have read anything I have written about [The School], please be advised that I have no interest in hearing your tears unless you are prepared to provide me with your 'bona fides', and I have no interest in wasting time writing personally for you what I have already made publicly available.
[The School] has either learned their lessons or they haven't. They will either never again mistreat foreign and Chinese staff or they will continue to do so. It is not my concern. Nor is it my business if they 'set you up' with a girlfriend. (Let he who has an ear hear what the spirit saith!)
I am no longer in Baotou. What happens there is not my business. I do feel sorry for those struggling [The School] franchisees who may have had difficulty finding foreign teachers, but up until Mr. [The Franchiser] so blatantly demonstrated his true character in Baotou in May of 2010, all of my writing had been about the one [The School] School in Baotou. In whatever way the franchisees may have suffered because of the events that occurred in Baotou, I can only say that the blame falls fairly and squarely on [The Franchiser]. It was his behavior that brought disrepute to all [The School] schools.
R.P.BenDedek (pseudonym) is the Author of 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran' (http://www.kingscalendar.com ), and is a guest columnist and stand-in Editor at Magic City Morning Star News. An Australian, he has been teaching Conversational English in China since 2003.
Writers Journal Kingscalendar
"The King's Calendar" is a chronological study of the historical books of the Bible (Kings and Chronicles), Josephus, Seder Olam Rabbah, and the (Essene) Damascus Document of The Dead Sea Scrolls.