Because we recently came into contact with a notable Chinese Labor Lawyer with his JD from Renmin University Law School, we are able to confirm to you that more than half of all the foreign teach contracts signed in China may be illegal, and thus not binding. Below is what would make a contract in China "illegal":
* No employee can be compelled to work unpaid overtime hours
* All employees must be provided a written job description of their position when hired
* Foreign employees must be provided invitation and release letters (free of charge)
* Foreign employees can only be hired by properly registered and licensed companies with a minimum registered capital of 3 million rmb.
* Internships may not exceed 90 consecutive days and unpaid internships are prohibited.
* Probationary periods cannot exceed one month for every year of contracted employment
* Foreign dontract employees are not required to perform any task that is not specifically defined in their written job description.
* No company can hold nor detain the passport nor identification papers of any employee.
* No employee is allowed to work for any company that evades payment of any taxes in China at the municipal, provincial, and central levels.
If you work for a public school or university in China the above PROBABLY does not apply to you because they are supposed to use only the standard SAFEA contract template. So what if you do fall into one of the above categories and you want out? Well you have three options since China still does not allow people to represent themselves in court. Option 1: If you are in Beijing or Shanghai, we can introduce you to the lawyer once you send us a copy of your complete unedited contract by electronic scan to legal[at]ChinaForeignTeachersUnion.org and he will charge you a f;lat 10,000 yuan fee to nullify your contract without loss of pay, nor visa. If he is not successful he will refund 50% of your money. Option 2: You can hire your own attorney on your own terms wherever you reside and show him a printout of this post. Option 3 Our new lawyer associate will write a letter to your principal on your behalf citing the violations without actually filing a claim in court for 5,000 yuan. According to him about half of the employers who receive his letter will release you rather than expend funds on a lawyer of their own.
Also be aware that no recruiter or job agent can legally sign any agreement "on your behalf" in China.
See this link for more information about WHY employers don't want legal problems with foreign employees: http://www.bjstuff.com/profiles/blogs/cftu-confirms-china-foreign-teachers-employees-not-obligated-to