Hope all is well in China! When I have been abroad, even when living in other remote countries, I have been very careful as to who touches my hair. I have had a few interesting experiences and find that hairstylists, regardless of language, like to understand what they want and not what we want.
As you say, curly hair takes a long time to grow so why not, depending on the length of your stay in China, take this time to let your curls grow? Your curls look good and I am willing to bet that a long style would suit you, so long as you keep it neat.
On the other hand, if you want to get a haircut, my experience has been that telling the hairdresser to only trim with scissors about half an inch allround works. Make sure to use your hands and fingers to tell him/her where exactly you want the trim to be!
Hope that helped.
All the best.