Official’s speech angers Tibetan students

7th November 2014

Head of education board tells Tibetan Principals, Chinese more important than Tibetan language.

On 1 November 2014, pupils from Tibetan schools of Dzoge and Ngaba Counties staged protests calling for “equality in education”. Students were outraged by a speech given by the head of Ngaba's education board during a meeting on 29 October 2014, saying that studying the Tibetan language was a disadvantage. The meeting, attended by heads of education boards and primary and secondary schools of Ngaba Prefecture (which includes seven counties), was for management training for Tibetan schools in the nomadic region. The official emphasised that if students concentrated on Tibetan language rather than Chinese they would be disadvantaged when applying for colleges later on. He told the Tibetan principals attending the meeting to focus on Chinese in order to improve the nomadic area and that success needed to be measured by students' Chinese language abilities. The speech also led to a stream of critical comments on Chinese social networks.

The protest this NovemberThe protest this November

Tibetan language threatened

Previously over seven hundred students took to the streets in Rebkong after discovering their Tibetan textbooks would be replaced with Chinese language books. In many parts of Tibet, Chinese is the main language of instruction in Tibetan secondary schools. As Chinese becomes more prominent, Tibetan children often end up not being able to read or write in their mother tongue, or sometimes even speak it fluently.

Language advocates punished

Tibetans, like Khenpo Kartse, feel that their language is under threat but those who advocate learning Tibetan are labelled as separatists by China and punished.

Take Action

Attacking the Tibetan language is part of the Chinese government’s plan to assimilate Tibetans into China. Tibetans are consistently criminalised and persecuted for promoting their culture. Help us raise awareness by emailing your country’s Foreign Minister and asking them to stand up for Tibet.