Chinese authorities ban out-of-school classes for Tibetan children – Radio Free Asia

Authorities in northwest China’s Qinghai Province are preventing Tibetan children from attending classes outside of their schools during winter holidays in an attempt to further weaken the bond with their mother tongue, according to reports. Tibetan sources.

News of the ban was sent in October in a notice to all districts and towns in the province, historically part of the Amdo region in northeast Tibet, a Tibetan living in the province said. a message written to RFA.

“No individual or organization is allowed to organize informal classes or workshops to teach the Tibetan language during the winter holidays when schools are closed,” the RFA source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. .

Teachers across the province have already been called to meetings to inform them of the ban, the source said, adding that anyone caught violating the government order would face “serious legal consequences and punishment” .

“This is an attempt to erase the Tibetan language,” the source said.

“Subjects like math and science are already taught in Chinese in all elementary schools, and with the exception of formal courses in the Tibetan language itself, all other subjects will gradually be taught in Chinese as well,” he said. -he declares.

Although informal courses and workshops held to teach Tibetan have been helpful to Tibetan students in the past, “all of these facilities and opportunities have now been officially banned from this year, which is a huge concern,” said the Minister. source.

“The government’s ban on these informal Tibetan language courses violates the fundamental rights of Tibetans,” a researcher named Nyiwoe from the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy based in Dharamsala, India, told RFA.

“Bans like this aim to end up destroying [the languages and culture] of all ethnic minorities in the country, ”Nyiwoe said.

Chinese authorities in Qinghai have already banned monasteries from teaching language classes to young Tibetans during their school holidays, and authorities in Qinghai and neighboring Sichuan have also closed private Tibetan schools offering Tibetan-language education, sources say. .

This decision forced the students to go to public schools instead, where they will be taught entirely in Chinese.

Parents of the affected children and other local Tibetans have expressed concern over the demands, saying that removing young Tibetans from their culture and language would have serious negative consequences in the future.

Language rights have become a particular focus of Tibetan efforts to assert national identity in recent years, with language classes held informally in monasteries and towns across Tibet seen as “illegal associations” and teachers. subject to detention and arrest, sources said.

Translated by Tenzin Dickyi for the Tibetan service of RFA. Written in English by Richard Finney.

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