China’s Crackdown on Tutor Industry Causes Unrest

Beijing’s new restrictions for the tutoring industry sparked increasing unrest from workers as China cracks down on its private education sector.

Compiled data from labor watchdog China Labour Bulletin showed about 14 protests against wage arrears and layoffs from the education sector across China during August.

China’s new regulations that limit for-profit tutoring services — in an attempt to make education accessible to many — deflated private education companies.

China’s tutoring industry, worth $120 billion, have suffered from Beijing’s crackdown with more private education companies filing bankruptcy.

A protest in Shanghai involved a study-abroad agency whose management fled after going bankrupt without paying its employees. Cities including Changchun, Xian, and Shenzhen saw an increase in wage protests from education workers.

Aidan Chau, a researcher at China Labour Bulletin, said that more cases are expected once the restrictions are fully implemented.

“Before, companies were still hoping that they could continue, but after July, some school managers just decided to close down and run away,” Chau said, explaining that the crackdown worsened financial problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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