China orders Tibetan parents to shed religious symbols, acts when visiting schools


(, May11’21) – Chinese authorities in at least one county of the prefecture-level Nagchu City in northern Tibet Autonomous Region have ordered parents to leave behind their rosaries, prayer wheels and other religious items or symbols when visiting their children’s schools, according to the Tibetan Service of May 10.

Wearing of rosaries, whether on the neck or wrist, to be used for counting beads in tandem with reciting of prayers is a common practice among Tibetans, especially parents. So also wearing of sacred cords knotted and blessed by lamas in similar manners. Carrying of prayers wheels is especially common among the elderly.

But according to a circular pasted on notice boards of schools in Sog (Chinese: Suo) County of Nagchu (Naqu) last month, Tibetan parents are banned from visiting their children’s schools with these religious accoutrements. They are also banned from reciting mantras or other prayers after entering school gates, the report cited a Tibetan eye-witness living in the county as saying.

“Schools are places to cultivate and produce socialist scholars, and should not be used as places in which to follow rituals and traditions,” the notice was quoted as reminding parents and students.

The anonymous source has said, “The restrictions are now in place in all junior and middle schools in Sog county, and students have been told to make sure their parents or guardians know the regulations must be followed.”

This latest move comes in addition to existing restrictions which bans Chinese Communist Party members and government employees, including retired workers, from making open displays of religious practice. 

The source has attributed the latest move to strengthening efforts to spread the ideology of the Communist Party of China in Tibetan counties, towns, monasteries, and schools ahead of the upcoming celebrations on Jul 23, 2021, marking the centenary of its founding.


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