Foreign affairs officers (FAOs) when considering applications for foreign oral English teachers check the following attributes and qualifications in this order:
1. Is the applicant a native speaker of English? This will be ascertained by checking your place of birth on the attached digital copy of your passport’s cover page.
2. Does the applicant have the proper appearance? Do you look like a "typical" White person of European descent?
3. Does the applicant have a college degree? This will primarily be considered for university positions and highly competitive private school positions. All other things equal, applicants with advanced degrees will be given preference.
4. Does the applicant have any China or other Asian EFL teaching experience? The Chinese believe that past performance is the best predictor of future performance.
You will notice that letters of recommendation are not on this list because, for the most part, Chinese employers regard them as meaningless unless they are written by a former Chinese employer in Chinese. For example, unlike American high school students, Chinese college applicants are not required to provide letters of recommendation from their high school teachers. Everyone knows that, in China, if such letters were required and taken seriously, the parents would simply “buy” these letters of recommendation by offering their child’s teachers an envelope filled with money (referred to in Chinese as a hóngbāo
, red envelope).
Feel free to obtain and submit reference letters from all three sources you mentioned. Ask your references to write their letters in Putonghua if they can: they are more likely to be read. Still, I don’t suspect these letters will carry much weight with prospective employers, if any.
By the way, does your reference above to an “application packet” mean that you are using a recruitment agency or “nonprofit” service? If so, that is entirely unnecessary in your case.