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Tibetan parents forced to learn Chinese language to teach children: Tibet Watch Tibet-China
File image of a protest held by Tibetans in Paris last year. Photo by Norbu GYACHUNG via Unsplash

Tibetan parents forced to learn Chinese language to teach children: Tibet Watch

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 15 Apr 2022, 10:15 pm

The Chinese government’s campaign to push Mandarin Chinese as the main spoken and written language for Tibetans now includes giving parents the responsibility for teaching their children.

Tibetan parents, mostly nomads and farmers, whose mother tongue is Tibetan, are being forced to attend workshops and classes.

The focus on parents as agents of language promotion is a new tactic for delivering the Chinese Communist Party’s policies which erode the rights of non-Han ethnicities living under Chinese rule, to practise and develop their local languages.

These policies are hidden with ambiguous jargon such as bilingual policy, and a network of colonial boarding schools that prioritise education being delivered in Chinese.

This move comes after the Ministry of Education of China issued a notice in July last year which outlined that kindergarten in all ethnic and rural areas will use the national common language from the fall of the same year.

This new tactic further inserts the Chinese government into the private lives of Tibetan families, putting CCP messages into the mouths of Tibetan parents as they communicate with their children.

It also puts pressure on parents to keep up-to-date with and fully understand the ever changing policies, regulations and laws that govern language.

According to research by Tibet Watch, from February to March this year, at least 16 compulsory workshops for parents were held in a secondary school in Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, with local officials also required to attend.

One of the meetings took place on 9 March, which according to a Tibetan source, “aims not only to teach Chinese language but also reform [participants] thoughts through Chinese education.”

Stepwise instructions were announced during the meeting with parents being told to first learn and improve the “common” language very well, and then assist their children with language learning as part of their contribution to the ‘Chinese Dream’.

A similar workshop was also held in Nyima County, in the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region.

According to a news article published on March 12 on Nyima County WeChat Platform, managed by the local authorities, the county authorities held a meeting for its local officials, Party members and local Tibetans on “learning national common language workshop and test”.

The report says that as well as language lessons those attending were told about Xi Jinping’s vision for China and that they were encouraged to spread everything that they had learned when they went back to their villages.

For Tibetans, these compulsory workshops are in addition to already shrinking opportunities to practice their tradition and culture.

Even in their households, they are not allowed to keep photos of their exiled spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and government officials are not allowed to practise their Buddhist faith.

(Text courtesy Tibet Watch website)