Don’t sign any documents that you don’t understand


I am quite surprised to realize that many foreigners in China are very often taken advantage of their inability to read Chinese language.

This happens more in the employment and leasing businesses. I am inquired by two different expats who found themselves in trouble because they had signed some documents presented to them in Chinese only and were told by their employers that such documents were only for effecting certain formalities only and therefore did not mean anything to the expat’s employment with the company.

Quite often, when a foreigner looks out for an apartment, they fall into such similar traps also. The realtors or the landlords often give a ill-drafted leasing contract in both Chinese and English, whereby the English version is hardly readable because of poor usage of English language. It is always the case that the contract will provide that the Chinese language of the contract shall prevail in case of any inconsistency or discrepancy between the two languanges. When there is a dispute arising out of the leasing contract, the foreigner tenant often realize that they have been duped into sign a contract which does not record his or her real intents. But it is very often too late to regret.

I write this post simply because I don’t believe that such a small trick seems to be taking place a lot and the result is often damaging enough to give me a reason to remind people of this scam again.