China cites law to defend forced removal of under-15 Tibetan monks from monasteries to state-run schools

Young Tibetan monks are escorted from Dza Sershul monastery, July 10, 2018. (Photo courtesy: RFA)
Young Tibetan monks are escorted from Dza Sershul monastery, July 10, 2018. (Photo courtesy: RFA)

(, Jul14, 2018) – China has defended the decision by its authorities in a Tibetan region of Sichuan Province to remove under-15 monks from monasteries to government-run schools, citing the country’s law on nine-year compulsory education and saying no exemption could be allowed. Tibetan sources have said the monks’ removals were coercive, with threats of severe punishment against monastic officials, teachers as well as parents for disobeying the government order. Scenes of the Chinese government action carrying out the decision were stated to be highly disheartening, with many of the removed monks being stated to be top students in their monastic classes.

“All children who reach the age of 6 shall enroll in school and receive compulsory education for the prescribed number of years, regardless of sex, nationality or race,” China’s highly nationalistic official Jul 12 read out the country’s Education Law as saying.

The report also read out the country’s Measures for the Administration of Tibetan Buddhism Temples to say that minors should not be forced to live in temples.

The report cited the Garze Daily as having reported Jul 9 that the education department of Shiqu (Tibetan: Sershul) County had conducted a special inspection at the end of June. Following it, Xiong Kunxin, an ethnic studies professor at Tibet University, has said, “Those children should not be exempted from compulsory education.”

“Tibetan families traditionally send their children to temples. But times have changed, and people should obey the law,” he was quoted as saying. “Temple education is limited to religious studies, while in public schools children are fully developed, which gives them greater opportunities in society.”

The report said the General Office of China’s State Council, or Council of Minister, had issued a circular in Sep 2017, calling for efforts to ensure the proper education for school-age children. The target was stated to be to reduce the percentage of students who drop out of school during the nine-year compulsory education period to less than 5 percent by 2020.


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