UN experts reiterate call on China to respect Tibetan people’s language rights

In the name of bilingual education, China is increasingly replacing Tibetan with Mandarin. (Photo courtesy: Xinhua)

(TibetanReview.net, Nov26’20) – The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has raised concerns over the replacement by China of Tibetan with Chinese language as the medium of instruction in Tibetan schools and its persecution of Tibetan language rights advocates. A communication date Nov 24 expressing these concerns was conveyed to the Chinese government following the expert body’s 101st session, which was held online from Aug 5 to 7, 2020.

The session was held to consider the follow-up report submitted by China on its implementation of the committee’s recommendations made after its periodic review held in Aug 2018. The committee had asked China to submit a follow-up report on implementation within one year.

Overall, the Committee has found the responses of the Chinese government to the recommendations unsatisfactory, said Geneva-based Tibet Bureau Nov 26.

In its 2018 recommendations, the Committee had called for “information regarding the promotion of, and any restrictions on the use of” Tibetan language. While reviewing China’s information thus submitted, the Committee has raised concerns about the Chinese government’s continued restrictions on use and teaching of Tibetan language.

The Committee had further raised concerns about the Chinese government’s so-called bilingual education policy which was replacing Tibetan with Chinese language as the medium of instruction in schools in Tibet.

And raising concerns about the persecution of the Tibetan language rights advocates by the Chinese government, the Committee had called on China to ensure “public discussion of education issues without threat of reprisals.”

It had also urged China to provide adequate resources for Tibetans to access education in their mother tongue and to ensure that the Tibetans’ rights to mother-tongue instruction in schools were applied.

The committee had also made numerous other recommendations, which China did not even pretend to implement. These included lifting of travel restrictions imposed on ethnic minorities in the PRC, including on the continued denial of passports to them.


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