Tibetan School Year Begins Beneath New Restrictions, Mandarin-only Education

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The school year for kids residing in Tibetan regions of China has begun under harsh new constraints, together with kids in a single Qinghai county arranged by police from their houses and to Chinese grooming schools, along with also the language of classroom education in another county changed from Tibetan into Chinese, Tibetan sources say.

In many cities in Qinghai’s Rebgong (in Chinese, Tongren) county, local primary schools are closed by government order, and Tibetan kids are being forced from their parents’ wishes into boarding schools in regions far away, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service this week.

“The Tibetan parents have appealed to Chinese governments to not separate their children from them by sending them off to other areas such as schooling,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “And if the government didn’t heed their petition, a number of them staged a demonstration.”

The parents’ protest immediately triggered a crackdown by authorities, together with police vehicles along with blaring sirens reacting quickly to the demonstration scene, and one man protester was taken to custody,” the source stated.

“Many children in the demonstration were so scared by all of the commotion they fainted,” the source said, adding that the kids parents had been eventually forced to send their kids away into the Chinese government-designated grooming schools.

The only protester taken into custody was afterwards published, he explained.

Courses taught only in Oriental

In Qinghai’s Themchen (in Chinese, Tianjun) county, two middle schools at the Bongtak area proved meanwhile united, forcing Tibetan schoolchildren into courses taught only in Oriental and observing a similar merger of local primary schools, yet another nearby source told RFA.

“Formerly, Spartan parents had an option of sending their kids to some Tibetan-language or a Mandarin-language college, along with the Tibetans would send their kids to the Tibetan colleges,” RFA’s supply said, also speaking on condition his name not to be used.

“But today the majority of these colleges are merged, producing ethnically mixed courses, which is a massive concern for people,” the source said.

“The botanical language itself is currently the sole subject taught in Tibetan, leaving Mandarin as the medium of education for all the other subjects taught in college,” the source said, adding that the movement appears aimed toward implementing China’s new policy of eroding language rights to ruin minority cultures.

The enactment of comparable policies in China’s Inner Mongolia region have contributed to recent months to widespread protests and boycotts of those schools, with countless ethnic Mongolians detained or forced to resign from public office once they resisted the modifications to the program, which have been kept under wraps before the onset of the new session in the end of August.

China’s Regional Ethnic Autonomy Law claims that agencies in ethnic autonomous areas have the right to make decisions regarding schooling, including the language utilized in classroom education, stated U.S.-based China analyst Ganze Kyab Lama.

“However most restrictive policies have gained momentum under the direction of Chinese president Xin Jinping as local officials take care of their own political benefit and profit,” Kyab explained.

Language rights have become a specific focus for Tibetan attempts to maintain national identity in the last couple of decades, together with informally organized language classes from the monasteries and cities generally deemed”illegal institutions” and educators subject to detention and arrest, sources say.

Reported by Chakmo Tso and Dorjee Tso for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English from Richard Finney.


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