(TibetanReview.net, Aug05’21) – China is said to have made it compulsory for Tibetan children to attend military summer camps during their June-July summer school break to prevent them from attending privately arranged Tibetan cultural and language studies while training them to be loyal to the Communist Party of China and patriotic towards the People’s Republic of China.
London-based Free Tibet campaign group Aug 3 cited a Chinese state media report as saying these centres were crucial steps in providing national defence education for Tibet’s youth to inculcate patriotism, love for China and the spirit of defending national borders. Within a short space of time, children staying at the camp are given a crash course in military discipline, including military drills and physical activities, the report was cited as saying.
The purpose of the centres was stated to be “…to increase the spirit of patriotism and defending the nation, increase physical strength, inculcate mental strength and stamina, and also to increase the spirit of unity among the children”.
Citing a Jul 27 state media report, the group said that the Young Tibetan Snow Hawk Military Summer Camp located on the banks of Draksum Tso lake in Kongpo Gyamda County of Nyingtri City had completed training for a hundred students, aged from eight to 16. The children were reported to have come mainly from primary and secondary schools in Lhasa.
The group cited another official Chinese state media report as saying another national defence training centre, known as Tibet Rong He Military Training Centre, had also been set up. Its sole aim was stated to be “…providing education that will nurture disciplined and obedient children with strong physical strength since they are the hope and future of the nation. Their education is closely connected with the nation and will determine the fate of the nation.”
The group does not rule out that possibility of many more similar summer and winter military education camps being built across Tibet.
“Coinciding with school break now in Lhasa, Tibetans are not permitted to hold private classes to learn Tibetan, and so the Chinese authorities are forcing Tibetan children to attend these military programs where they give political education instead,” the Tibetan Service of rfa.org Aug 4 quoted a local Tibetan as saying in a written message.