Children should study in their own language: UN Rights chief over education policy in Tibet

Guangzhou, China:

UN human rights Chief Michelle Bachelet stressed on the importance of children learning in their own language. Chief also spoke to Chinese officials about the Tibet education plan.

Since 2020, Chinese authorities in Tibet have implemented the unified Chinese textbook system making Chinese medium education mandatory in schools at all levels and grades.

Both state and private schools are required to adopt the new sinicized textbooks, which mostly contain Party propaganda and exclude contents relevant to Tibetan culture and language.

“It is important the linguistic, religious and cultural identity of Tibetans be protected, and that Tibetan people are allowed to participate fully and freely in decisions about their religious life and for dialogue to take place,” the UN rights body chief said in a statement today.

“I discussed education policies in the Tibet Autonomous Region and stressed the importance of children learning in their own language and culture in the setting of their families or communities,” she said.

At least since 2012, private initiatives to promote Tibetan language and culture have been suppressed, and individuals advocating for Tibetan language and cultural education have been detained and tortured. Private educational institutions previously approved by the authorities are being closed down while monastic institutions are forced to prioritise Mandarin Chinese teaching and propagation.

Recently, the focus on teaching in Chinese has increased in all Tibetan schools and the political ideology of Chinese President Xi Jinping is now the main theme for instruction.

Chinese troops occupied Tibet in 1950 and later annexed it. The 1959 Tibetan uprising saw violent clashes between Tibetan residents and Chinese forces.

The 14th Dalai Lama fled to neighbouring India after the failed uprising against Chinese rule. The Dalai Lama, the supreme Tibetan Buddhist leader, established a government-in-exile in India.

News Desk

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