China orders Tibetan monastics to study, converse in Chinese language

Tibetan Monks in Tibet. (Photo courtesy: Global Times)

(, Oct06’21) – China’s Sinicization of Tibetan Buddhism is taking a bizarre turn with an order having been issued to translate classroom Tibetan Buddhist texts into Mandarin Chinese. Monks and nuns have also been mandated to learn to converse in this “common language” of China, said the Tibetan Service of Oct 5, citing a conference held last month in Qinghai Province.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s call requires religion across the country to be Sinicized and the three-day conference launched on Sep 27 at the Tso-Ngon Buddhist University in Qinghai’s capital Xining was obviously meant to implement this objective.

The report said the conference brought together more than 500 religious figures and students from Tibetan and Chinese Buddhist universities and other educational organizations, including more than 300 students of Tso-Ngon University.

“This policy is just an ignorant power play by the Chinese government,” Geshe Lhakdor, Director of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamsala, India, has said.

“The question now is: who will translate these Buddhist texts, and what kind of job will they be able to do?”

Language has become one of the main targets of Xi’s assimilative Sinicization move. Under it, even preschoolers in ethnic minority regions have to be taught not in the mother tongue of the children but in Mandarin Chinese. Crackdown has been launched across the Tibetan plateau to stop private and non-governmental initiatives that promote Tibetan language and culture through after-school classes and other initiatives.


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