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Tibetan orphans face street life after China shut their boarding school

(TibetanReview.net, Sep22’21) – Many of the students of Sengdruk Taktse, a privately-run Tibetan school in Qinghai Province meant mainly for destitute and orphaned children, forced to shut down on Jul 8 this year are unable to get admission in any of the government-run schools as ordered by the authorities, said London-based Free Tibet group Sep 21, citing its research partner Tibet Watch.

Only children who could produce their Household Registration Card (Chinese: Hukuo), and their Resident Identity Card (Jūmín Shēnfènzhèng) based on it were give admission in the local government-run schools, the group said.

Sengdruk Taktse was cofounded in 1999 by Khandrul Jigme Kunsang Gyaltsen, an abbot of the renowned Larung Gar Buddhist Academy, giving priority to enrolling the destitute, orphans, and others without the means to access formal schooling. It focused on teaching Tibetan culture and Tibetan language-based education.

Under President Xi Jinping’s ongoing Sinicization campaign, such schools are being shut down throughout Tibet and the children required to enrol in government-run school which focus on Mandarin Chinese-based education – Tibetan being taught only as a language subject on a limited scale.

Given China’s residency rules for availing government facilities, only some of the children have been able to enrol in government-run schools in the local Darlag County of Golog Prefecture where Sengdruk Taktse was operating.

Many of the orphans belong to distant areas like Derge, Khyungchu and Dzachukha and have therefore been denied enrolment in Darlag county schools, the group said.

What is even more distressing is the fact that the local Chinese authorities are not allowing the former teachers of the closed boarding school and others to shelter the now homeless orphans, or to help them get admission in the government-run schools, the group said.

Teachers are kept under additional surveillance and Tibetans in the area are monitored with random cellphone checks, the group added.

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