DHARAMSALA, 22 July: Chinese authorities have shut down a Tibetan school in Golok, Eastern Tibet for teaching in Tibetan medium.
Singdruk Taktse middle school was forced to shut down in July amid increasing reports in recent years of Chinese authorities’ systematic shutdown of schools where the primary medium of instruction is Tibetan, Free Tibet reported citing its sources inside Tibet.
“No official reason was given by the ruling Chinese Communist Party for the shutdown of the private Tibetan school, but all the students have been advised to enroll in other government-affiliated schools in the region where they are almost certainly going to be taught in Chinese,” the report said.
Khandrul Jigme Kunsang Gyaltsen, the co-founder and head of the middle school in Darlak County, Golog, eastern Tibet has stated in the report that “the school was established in accordance with Chinese laws, with the approval of concerned prefectural and county governments and that it has abided by the constitution of the People’s Republic of China.”
The report also conformed of “a petition from concerned members of the public appealing to authorities to keep the school open,” which has fallen on the deaf ears.
Though promoting Tibetan language education is guaranteed under the Chinese and international law, “curbs on them tend to be imposed quietly and incrementally” says Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch.
“Chinese authorities’ real view of minority languages: they come second. Literally,” she said after reporting the downgrading of the Tibetan language.
According to the report, Shen Chungyao, the Director of the Legal Affairs Committee of the National People’s Congress, has announced on 20 Jan earlier this year declaring that schools in “minority areas” were no longer allowed to teach their own languages, declaring such education to be “unconstitutional”.
“The Chinese government repeatedly claims that Tibetans are “happy” and seeing “record development” under its rule, but this is a sick joke. In reality, every facet of Tibetans’ identity – the right of Tibetans to control their language, land, and religion – is under attack,” said John Jones, Free Tibet Campaigns and Advocacy Manager.
He further urged the world leaders not to “stand by and let an occupying force erase thousands of years of tradition in Tibet.”
“This highly respected school had done nothing to offend the Chinese government, except to teach young Tibetans their own language and culture.