(TibetanReview.net, Dec02’22) – Two US lawmakers have on Dec 1 called on the UN’s top human rights officer to investigate China’s policy of placing Tibetan children in state-run schools where they have only limited contact with their families while they remain immersed in a totally Chinese educational curriculum. The move is part of President Xi Jinping’s Sinicization of Tibet plan which envisages the development of a culturally homogenous People’s Republic of China.
In a joint letter they wrote to Volker Turk, the recently appointed UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA), have said around 80% of Tibetan children were now being sent to Chinese boarding schools where they were taught a “highly politicized curriculum.”
“We see this system as resulting in serious human rights violations and cultural and linguistic erasure,” Merkely and McGovern have written in their capacity as chair and co-chair respectively of the US bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China.
Referring to the coercive nature of this plan, the lawmakers have written, “Tibetan parents are often faced with no choice but to send their children to residential schools because of school closures and consolidations, in some cases accompanied by fines or threats for noncompliance.”
The allegations are based on a 2021 report released by the Tibet Action Institute, founded in 2009 to use digital communication tools and strategic nonviolent action to strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of the Tibet movement in the digital era.
Merkley and McGovern have also referred to the report’s note about “high rates of mental and emotional distress” among Tibetan students sent to Chinese state-run residential schools.”
“We believe these actions by the Chinese authorities constitute a fundamental violation of the rights of Tibetan parents and children by interfering with their right to preserve the integrity of their family units and stripping them of their right to choose the educational direction of their children,” they have written.