Tibetan arrested for denouncing Chinese language policy – Radio Free Asia

Authorities in northwest China’s Qinghai province arrested a Tibetan university graduate last year for denouncing Chinese policies forcing Chinese language education in Tibetan areas, RFA has learned.

Loten, 23, was arrested on December 20 in Matoe County (in Chinese, Maduo) of the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Golog (Guoluo) after opposing on social media the replacement of Tibetan textbooks in schools local, according to a source said to be living in exile.

“He said China’s policy will eventually disconnect young Tibetans from their own language in the future,” the RFA source said, citing contacts in Matoe and speaking on condition of anonymity for the reasons. of security.

Loten is currently being held at an unknown location in Xining, the capital of Qinghai province, the source said. “His family was only informed of his arrest by phone and has not yet been allowed to see him. They were told that Loten was now receiving a political education, ”he added.

As of September 21, 2021, the Tibetan language was shelved as the language of instruction in Tibetan schools in Qinghai, with more emphasis now on written Chinese classes and basic Chinese skills, the RFA source said.

“Many Tibetan parents are concerned about these changes and the policies implemented by the Chinese government, but they have no way to do anything about it,” he said.

Qinghai authorities previously detained two Tibetan students identified as Gyuldrak and Yangrik, both 19, in Golog County of Darlag (Dari) in August for opposing plans to use the Chinese language as the only one. language of instruction in Tibetan schools, sources told RFA in previous reports. .

The policy had already aroused widespread opposition among Tibetans in neighboring Sichuan, where private Tibetan schools have been closed and children sent to public schools as parents fear their children may be tied to their native language and culture. national, sources said.

“It has become evident in recent years that the Chinese government does not intend to relax its intransigent policies and tight control inside Tibet,” said Namgyal Choedup, representative of the Tibet Office in Washington, DC, speaking to RFA.

“Tibetans have a firm belief in protecting their Tibetan identity, but the Chinese government’s sinicization of the Tibetan language and religion threatens the survival of Tibetan Buddhist culture and values ​​in Tibet.”

“We have spoken urgently to the US government and US officials from time to time about the deteriorating situation in Tibet. The policies implemented in Tibet by the Chinese government are actually doing more harm than benefit to Tibetans, ”Choedup said.

The Chinese language taught at an elementary school in Matoe County, Tibet, in an undated photo provided by a local resident.

The Chinese Communist Party‘s efforts to replace teaching local languages ​​with teaching in Chinese have aroused anger not only among Tibetans, but also among the Turkish-speaking Uyghur community in Xinjiang and northern China’s Inner Mongolia.

Plans to end the use of the Mongolian language in ethnic Mongolian schools sparked weeks of class boycotts, street protests and region-wide crackdown by riot squads and security police state in fall 2020, in a process described by ethnic Mongols as “cultural genocide.”

Once an independent nation, Tibet was forcibly invaded and incorporated into China 70 years ago.

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

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