China's tutoring ban hits overseas teachers and cultural links

Every morning, Sam Josti logged on from her US home to teach children halfway around the world, just one of thousands of foreign language tutors giving Chinese students a rare window into Western culture.

But tutors like Massachusetts-based Josti have taken a sharp financial hit after Beijing's harsh crackdown on extracurricular classes pulled down the blinds over the world outside for Chinese students.

Foreign language teaching firms had long tapped into a vast demand for English in China, where armies of parents are eager to get their kids ahead in a cut-throat education system in which a single exam can determine a life's trajectory.

That came to a crashing halt in August when Beijing announced education reforms that banned tutoring firms from hiring overseas teachers.

The rules -- which also forced tutoring platforms to turn their businesses non-profit and barred some classes during weekends and holidays -- are framed by Beijing as necessary to alleviate stress on overworked students and reduce education costs.