Can you imagine your 4-year-old son, daughter, and niece separating from the family atmosphere and living alone at a colonial boarding school? Can you imagine your own 4-year child living at a colonial boarding school and losing their identity when you see them?
Tibet Action Institute in affiliation with highly educated researchers released a remarkable report on the Chinese colonial boarding school and received massive social media coverage and exceptional attention from international communities. Lhadon Tethong, the director of Tibet Action Institute stated in her recent testimony during the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China hearing that “Xi Jinping now believes the best way for China to conquer Tibet is to kill the Tibetan in the child”.
Adding my personal experiences to it, I have been to a state-run boarding school for six years and it was where I learned the fraudulent history of the Japanese war over China. It was where I had never learned Tibetan history; it was where I almost lost my own Tibetan identity.
In March 2023 during the Canadian House of Commons Subcommittee on International Human Rights meeting, Dr. Gyalo, an exiled Tibetan educational sociologist elucidated that “the Chinese government has been implementing mandatory pre-school education policy over all Tibet. I did academic fieldwork in Tibet on the Chinese colonial boarding school system and visited pre-boarding schools across eastern Tibet. I learned that there is no alternative option for Tibetan parents who don’t want to send their children away to those governmental pre-schools”.
In February 2023, more than seven UN experts wrote their heartfelt solidarities toward Tibetan Children in Chinese colonial boarding schools and the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner published an article emphasizing that “UN experts alarmed by separation of 1 million Tibetan Children from their families and forced assimilation at Chinese colonial boarding schools”.
On March 23, 2023, International Campaign for Tibet also urged UN Human Rights Council to end the mass forced resettlement of Tibetan nomads and herders and to the boarding school system for Tibetan children. Both are cornerstones of the Chinese Government’s policy of assimilation of the Tibetan people.
During the 52nd session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, more than 11 countries: Australia, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the USA expressed concern about the human rights situation in Tibet.
On March 28, 2023, during the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China hearing, Mr. Penpa Tsering, the democratically elected president of the Tibetan Government-in-exile mentioned that “The Chinese government’s one nation, one language, one culture, and one religion are aimed at forced assimilation and the erasure of the national identity of Tibetans.
“Tibetan children are taught in Mandarin as the Chinese Communist Party is keenly aware that the Mother tongue is a primary mode of cultural transmission. It is one of the fundamental components of the continuity of people’s identity from one generation to the next”, – Richard Gere, the chairman of the International Campaign for Tibet.
The situation inside Tibet is getting worst and Tibet has been receiving the worst ranking in the context of self-determination and human rights. According to the latest annual report of Freedom House, Tibet was spotted as the least free country globally. The Chinese government doesn’t allow international journalists to explore Tibet and cultural genocide in Tibet is a detrimental repercussion of Chinese strategic education models.
It is estimated that more than one million Tibetan Children have been separated from their families and put in Chinese colonial boarding schools. I believe this is a genocidal system of the Chinese Communist Regime to obliterate Tibetan cultural heritage and way of life.
*The views and opinion expressed above are those of the authors*
Kunchok Norbu: English Researcher at the Central Tibetan Youth Congress, Dharamshala.