Below and after the jump, reactions from readers in and around China to some reports (here, here, and here) about foreigners who can't get teaching visas to China renewed, and therefore must leave the country, because they have reached age 60. To boil down the themes that recur in messages I've received:
1) Circumstances naturally vary place to place and institution to institution. Some people say they're having no trouble staying on, at whatever age; others, that a crackdown really does seem to be under way.
2) Lots of other countries have mandatory retirement ages of 55, 60, 62, etc; and if visas there are tied to jobs, foreigners sometimes have to leave.
3) Historically Chinese institutions have used age brackets, or other "categorical" exclusions, as an excuse to move out people they wanted to expel for other reasons.
4) What seems to be an age-related crackdown might actually be aimed at people who have been in China for a long time -- a related but different objective.
Details and testimony below. What this all amounts to I can't be sure, but FWIW many people have reported hearing of a new emphasis on enforcing the letter of often-ignored laws about visas.
-- About the bottom-line practicality of many institutions, a reader in Vietnam writes:
"We taught for three and half years on a series of extended student visas in China."We were also paid in cash once a month."There is always a work around in the PRC if there is sufficient guanxi." ["Connections" -- for more, see here.]
-- More on exceptions and practical reasons for the policy; a reader in China writes:
"I am not an English teacher in China, though I have lived here for 11 years and have known several. As everything else goes here, there are exceptions to the sixty rule. I know a man who is 65+ and teaching in Shandong. He has been in China for longer than I have been here, and I assume that he will be here a lot longer too. I cannot imagine that he is the only one.
"My understanding is that much of this depends (surprise! surprise!) on who know, how well you know them, and how much your university is willing to fight for you to stay. Also, being good at your job and being high profile is not necessarily the best thing to be if you want to continue on past sixty. That sort of 'success' draws attention....