Teenage Tibetan petitioner arrested in Ngaba by Chinese police authorities

Sherab Dorjee being detained by police
Sherab Dorjee being detained by police. Photo via Radio Free Asia
18th August 2021

Local sources have stated Sherab Dorjee may have been arrested for appealing for education in the Tibetan language

On a school summer holiday on 16 August 2021, a 19-year old Tibetan boy was arrested and taken into custody by Chinese police in Trotsik Township (Tib:སྤྲོ་ཚིག་ཡུལ་ཚོ་) on allegations of rebelling against the Chinese government. Trotsik Township is located in Ngaba (Ch:Aba) County, Ngaba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, which Tibetans recognise as the eastern Tibetan province of Amdo.

However, Sherab Dorjee had only refused to join the propaganda organised in Trotsik Township by Ngaba County police authorities called “Meeting on praising the Communist Party of China and education on the security agenda”. He had also submitted a petition to the education authorities appealing for his school to be allowed to teach in Tibetan.

According to a source, on 14 August, several Chinese police arrived in Trotsik Township and held a propaganda meeting for Tibetan youngsters and later arrested Sherab Dorjee along with a few other students. Tibet Watch learnt that they were all released except Dorjee.

Another source explained that Dorjee might have been arrested mainly because of his recent involvement in submitting a petition against the county government’s orders on schools to instruct only in Chinese when the schools reopen after the end of summer vacation this year. In response, Sherab Dorjee and a few other students from the Tibetan Middle School of Machu County submitted a joint petition to the concerned education office, appealing to them to allow for teaching in Tibetan to continue. Dorjee is the son of Tsewang. His mother passed away many years ago.

Tibet Watch has learnt that Chinese authorities in all township and county levels in Sichuan Province have recently been carrying out numerous campaigns to enforce CCP’s propagandist political education and influence young Tibetans to learn Chinese.

Only a month ago, in the same township of Dorjee, Konmey, a senior monk of Trotsik Monastery was detained by Chinese authorities and his whereabouts are still kept secret. The province-wide coordinated propaganda in Ngaba, the epicentre of Tibetan self-immolations, is also in addition to the recent news report on 8 August, where Tibetans of Ngaba’s Kirti Monastery, its 30-40 associated monasteries and nearby villages, saw army deployments and were banned from observing the 80th birthday of their highly revered spiritual root guru, His Eminence Kirti Rinpoche.

The replacement of Tibetan language, and therefore evisceration of Tibetan identity, has gained momentum in the past decades under ambiguous laws and policies, such as bilingual education, and CCP’s stringent ban on informal Tibetan classes in Tibetan monasteries whose management have long been placed under CCP control. Restrictions and closures are equally imposed on private Tibetan schools, such as Sengdruk Taktse, which provide an education grounded in Tibetan culture. The closures have been imposed without any official explanation provided to the schools’ teachers, alumni and students.

On 21 July 2021, the General Office of the Ministry of Education issued a notice clarifying that from September 2021 onwards, kindergartens in all ethnic and rural areas will be taught in Mandarin Chineseto promote a standardised national language and equity of “high-quality education”. The top-down regulation on Mandarin Chinese proficiency will also require echelons of all governments to fund and invest in National Teacher Training and Provincial Training Program, and for kindergarten teachers of non-Mandarin-speaking nationalities to hold Mandarin Chinese proficiency level up to and above the national level 2B. 

Information supplied by Tibet Watch


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