Private Tibetan schools closed in Sichuan in Sinicization move

Students attend class at Yiri Ecological Forest School in Chamdo. (Photo courtesy: Xie Wenting/GT)

(, Jun04’21) – In keeping with its campaign to marginalize Tibetan culture and language which has been given a renewed fillip under President Xi Jinping’s ongoing Sinicization campaign, authorities in the traditionally Tibetan region of what is now part of China’s Sichuan province are closing down private Tibetan schools, reported the Tibetan Service of Jun 3.

Students of these private schools, where subjects have been taught in the Tibetan language, are being forced to enroll in government-run schools where Chinese language is the medium of instruction, the report said, citing a local source.

The move is reportedly being made in the name of promoting uniformity in the use of textbooks and instructional materials.

Citing a source in the province’s Sershul (Chinese: Shiqu) County of Kardze (Ganzi) Prefecture, the report said there were once many private schools in the Dzachukha area. However, they were all closed down one after another from the end of 2020 and the children ordered to transfer to government-supervised schools.

Besides, Tibetan nomadic families that did not want to send their children to schools supervised by the Chinese government were now being forced to do so, the report cited the source as saying.

The Sinicization of education move is taking place in the backdrop of continued severe repression of human rights. The report cited a resident of Sershul’s Dza Wonpo Township, a scene of frequent Tibetan protests against Chinese rule, as saying life in the township remained tightly controlled, with possession of photos of Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, being considered a serious crime.

“Communicating with the Tibetan exile community has also become very difficult in recent times, and people will end up in prison if the Chinese authorities catch them doing this,” the source was quoted as saying.


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