- “No individual or organization is allowed to hold informal classes or workshops to teach the Tibetan language during the winter holidays when the schools are closed,” a Tibetan living in Qinghai told Radio Free Asia. “This is an attempt to wipe out the Tibetan language.”
- Violators of the ban will face “serious legal consequences and punishment,” the source said. This leaves the Tibetan language being taught only in government-run schools, which have begun the work to teach all other subjects in Chinese.
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- The policy begins as early as kindergarten, according to a decree sent earlier in July. By requiring Mandarin as the medium of instruction in kindergarten schools, authorities expect to see “a community for the Chinese nation from an early age.”
- China’s actions go against UNESCO’s decades-long policy on encouraging mother tongue instruction among ethnic schoolchildren. Critics believe they are similar to forced assimilation strategies employed by other countries in their histories, such as the USSR, the U.K. and the U.S.
- “The plan is designed to weaken the child’s grasp of one’s mother tongue in the first few years,” Tenzin Sangmo, a researcher with the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), told Phayul. “Although studies have shown that children are capable of picking up more than one language in early years and much rest in the hands of parents, we must remember that the imposition of compulsory Mandarin education in this context would serve as a conduit for sinicization lessons and cultural values that come with the introduction of a language.”
- Tibetan parents, locals and rights activists have all expressed concerns over the policies, but the Chinese government remains firm. In August, a teenager was reportedly arrested after petitioning to have the Tibetan language prioritized in school, Phayul reported.
- Alongside Tibet, similar linguistic erasures are being reported in Xinjiang, home of the Uyghur population, and Inner Mongolia. Last year, a boycott that protested the replacement of Mongolian with Mandarin textbooks saw the arrest of more than 5,000 people, VOA News noted.