Have you ever had a nightmare where you couldn’t speak? Stuck in place, gripped by fear, a nightmare where you open your mouth to call out but can’t find the words?
For people living in occupied Tibet, the nightmare of losing your voice is a reality.
We’re producing the very first report on linguicide to combine first-hand testimonies from Tibetan refugees with open-source policy research.
Make no mistake: the Tibetan language is not disappearing. It is being erased by force. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has enforced language policies in what Tibetans call a cultural genocide: a targeted attack on Tibetan identity.
The Chinese government claims to follow a “bilingual education” policy to protect language diversity, but in reality, the system is pushing the Tibetan language to the margins, putting Chinese front and centre.
Linguicide is an attack on multiple fronts.
Controlling the next generation.
Around one million Tibetan children
are forced to attend government boarding schools. Children
as young as four are educated with CCP-approved lesson plans and
taught almost entirely in Chinese. In some parts of Tibet, parents must attend language classes to make sure that Chinese is spoken at home.
Chinese language immersion.
Tibetan place names and road signs
are removed. Poor career prospects for Tibetans who don’t become
fluent in Chinese. Even the name “Tibet” is under threat.
Buddhist monasteries are told to shut down
their free language classes. Tibetan educators are threatened or
detained for offering language instruction to children.