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Tibetan student arrested for the ‘crime’ of teaching children their mother tongue

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(TibetanReview.net, Mar01’22) – A Tibetan pursuing her higher study in a university in China had been arrested on Feb 13 for what is believed to be the ‘crime’ of teaching children their mother tongue in her homeland in Chamdo City of Tibet Autonomous Region during school break, said Tibet campaign group Free Tibet on their website freetibet.org Feb 21.

Authorities have not disclosed the official reason for her arrest and there is no information on her current whereabouts.

The woman, Choedon, belongs to Yamda Village in the city’s Riwoche County.

Her family has said there was no other possible reason for the arrest of this student of Southwest Minzu University in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. She was teaching Tibetan to the children in her native village during their school break, which China has been cracking down on in recent times.

Under President Xi Jinping’s renewed China-nationalist Sinicization drive being implemented across the Tibetan Plateau, any effort to promote Tibetan identity and culture, especially Tibetan language, is interpreted as a separatist crime.

China has already, with effect from Sep 1, 2021, replaced all school textbooks in Tibet with Chinese language teaching materials from kindergarten to high school classes. This was followed later on by imposing a ban on teaching Tibetan children their mother tongue during school breaks. Privately-run schools teaching Tibetan culture and language were also closed down and even demolished.

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