In a recent protest against China’s colonial boarding school system in occupied Tibet, which has split up nearly 1 million Tibetan children between the ages of 6 and 18, the National Congress, US-Tibet Committee, Students for Free Tibet (SFT), Chushi Gangdruk NYNJ, and other non-governmental organizations participated, according to media reports.
According to Phayul, the protesters demanded that the Chinese Communist Party close the state-run colonial boarding schools in occupied Tibet.
When explaining the differences between boarding schools in occupied Tibet and those in the free world, including those run by Tibetan exiles, Pema Gyal, a researcher at Tibet Watch, said, “The boarding schools in exile set-up differ in many ways than the ones in occupied Tibet.”
Tibetan students studying in exile boarding schools enjoy both freedom and the right to education and language, but Tibetan children in occupied Tibet are compelled to attend a vast network of colonial boarding schools where they are subjected to harsh restrictions and regulations.
Pema Gyal said, “The Chinese party-state seeks to brainwash innocent Tibetan students by imposing party propaganda via China’s coercive boarding school system with an ultimate goal to eliminate all that makes Tibetans a Tibetan.
According to Nyima Woeser, a researcher at the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), “Under the Chinese colonial boarding school, children as young as 4 to 5 are separated from their parents or family members by reducing contact,” he expressed similar concerns. Putonghua (Mandarin Chinese) is the primary language of instruction in these institutions, therefore both public and private schools use it.