The Chinese government has stated that members of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and teachers are not permitted to express their opinions of language used on social media and must instead address their concerns directly to the government.
[Posted on T.T Tibetan site 17th April 2020] According to reliable information, earlier this year, authorities announced in the Ngaba region that Tibetan primary and secondary schools were to adopt Mandarin as the language of instruction. Following this announcement, Tibetan teachers, writers, and community representatives expressed their views opposing this move through hundreds of articles, opinions, and critiques. No information is currently available stating whether the Chinese government heeded the resentment among the public. However, authorities have ordered that people are not permitted to share their opinions on social media, and community representatives must be cautious when sharing their opinions.
A source told Tibet Times that despite overwhelming numbers of people speaking out against the move, authorities had not heeded public resentment and instead banned articles and opinions shared on social media. Furthermore, the authorities stated that teachers and members of the CPPCC were warned against sharing their opinions and articles on social media. There is no guarantee that people will not be punished in the future for speaking out against the violation of their rights under any laws, a source said.
A CPPCC member from Ngaba’s,Chongchu County, on WeChat with an online alias “Illumination of Time” on April 15th stated that he and other educational and health professionals that are members of the CPPCC opposed the proposed change in the language of instruction during their CPPCC meeting. They were ordered to raise the issue with higher authorities and not to discuss it on the internet.
Since the issue began, many Tibetan teachers, writers, students, members of CPPCC, and heads of families have expressed their opposition to the proposed change in the language of instruction to Mandarin. They suggested that changing the language of instruction to Mandarin is against the national constitution, the Ngaba region’s Tibetan language law, and the principles of language ownership. Hundreds of articles and suggestions were published in opposition to the move and refusal to accept the proposed change.
An intellectual and teacher from Chongchu County, writing under the online alias “Triangle,” points out that Tibetan students in Chongchu County who receive education with Mandarin as the language of instruction have better Chinese skills than students from nomadic families. However, these students do not go far in their higher education. Tibetan students, around 60 or 70 students receiving education in their mother tongue, outcompete their peers and graduate to higher levels. Another writer Dzoge Thadrol wrote that it is an undisputed fact that education should be primarily in one’s native language. It is a human right that no one should have the power to take away that right.
Many articles and critiques published with their names and photographs to date promised never to give up the fight for language rights and strongly asserted that it is a constitutional right. Recently, an online poll was conducted to determine whether or not Tibetan should be taught as the language of instruction in schools. As of now, three thousand people have voted in favor of teaching Tibetan as the language of instruction in schools.