Sinicizing Tibet the main purpose of Tibetan schools, classes in Chinese provinces

Chanba No. 1 Middle School students attend a patriotism class. (Photo courtesy: Bitter Winter)

(, Sep18’20) – Sinicization of Tibet has been the goal of the Chinese government pursued from day one of the occupation rule. China’s current President Xi Jinping has only put it on the national agenda in the most outspoken and explicit terms. Two vital area of Sinicisation has been in the areas of religion and education. One of the decades-old initiatives in the area of education for this purpose has been to send each year thousands of the best and brightest of Tibetan pupils to Tibetan schools or Tibetan classes in Chinese schools especially set up in different provinces of China outside of Tibet.

Chanba No. 1 Middle School in Xi’an, the capital of the northwestern province of Shaanxi, has set up one such school with investment 187 million RMB (about $ 27 million) of government funds. It was set up under the so-called “assistance partnership to the Tibet Autonomous Region” programme launched ostensibly for the purpose of “improving the economy and welfare” of Tibetans. Behind its altruistic façade, however, the campaign is widely used to assimilate and “sinicize” the region’s youth, reported, which reports on religious liberty and human rights in China, Sep 15.

The state pays all fees and living expenses of Tibetan schools selected for this school. But they pay the ultimate price for this “exclusive” treatment—they are cut off from Tibetan culture, tradition, and religion, and must submit to CCP’s indoctrination, the report said.

The report cited a source from Xi’an’s education department as saying that the state viewed these Tibetan students as “reliable successors who will build Tibet and guard borders, shouldering the great mission of ethnic unity.” All Tibetan students who have graduated from the school go on to study at universities and are later assigned positions in government institutions in Tibet.

The source has added that the programme for Tibetan youth to get an education in inland China was one of the government’s strategies to “sinicize” Tibet.

He has said teachers in Chanba No. 1 Middle School regularly organize Tibetan children to watch patriotic films. Students live on the school premises and are only allowed to return home once during the three years of education. They are also assigned local Han families with “strong political views and correct ethnic minority outlook” who are instructed to “pay attention to students’ spiritual growth” and educate them with “correct” values and outlooks that conform to the CCP’s ideology.

The report furthers said the families were prohibited from discussing with assigned students Tibetan Buddhism and “other sensitive topics” while any mention of Tibetan Buddhism is completely banned in the school as well.

The report cited a student from a college for ethnic minorities in the northwestern province of Qinghai as saying that all things religious were also banned in his school. If students are discovered in possession of a Dalai Lama image on computers, they are subjected to academic probation and other punishments for “being anti-Communist” or “having ideological problems.” Their studies, graduation, and future employment may be affected by this. “No one dares to touch the topics of religion,” the student has said.


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