Firings Over School Protests

Teachers lose their jobs after Tibetan student demonstrations.

2010.03.19
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Machu-Tibetan-Middle-School-Blur-305.jpg The gates of the Tibetan Middle School in Machu county, shown in an undated photo.
Dolkar Kyab

KATHMANDU—The Tibetan headmaster of a middle school in China’s Gansu province has been fired, together with his assistants and the head of the county Public Security Bureau, following student protests at the school, according to Tibetan sources.

Students at the school remain confined to school grounds, sources said.

“The school is surrounded by armed security forces, and all the students are locked inside the campus,” a Tibetan resident of the area said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“They are not allowed to move in and out.  Tension is extremely high in the Machu county area,” the man said.

The man’s account could not be independently confirmed, and a Machu [in Chinese, Maqu] county government official, reached for comment, denied knowledge of the events before hanging up.

Dozens of students at the Tibetan Middle School in Machu staged a protest March 14 on the second anniversary of a region-wide uprising against Chinese rule in Tibetan-populated areas of western China.

“[They] were joined by 500 to 600 other Tibetans,” a local resident said.

“They were shouting against their lack of freedom, and were calling for Tibetan independence,” the source said.

Teachers fired

Following the protest, the school’s headmaster, Kyabchen Dedrol, and two assistants—Do Re and another man, unnamed—were dismissed from their jobs, a source said.

“[The Chinese authorities] also relieved Sonam Tse, head of the Machu Public Security Office, of his title. It is feared that another seven or eight teachers from the Machu Tibetan Middle School will also lose their jobs,” the man said.

The head of the Machu Education Department, with direct responsibility for the middle school, has been allowed to keep his job, though, a source in Machu said.

“Local Tibetans suspect that he was spared because of his Han ethnicity,” the source said.

Academic instruction at the Machu Tibetan Middle School will be suspended for a month so that the students detained there can be “given political re-education,” Dolkar Kyab, a former Machu resident now living in Dharamsala, India, said, citing sources in the area.

Other protests

On March 16, students at a second school, Kanlho Tibetan Middle School No. 3, also protested, but were stopped from leaving school grounds by school security officials and teachers.

Students at another school, the Kanlho Prefecture Middle School, managed to leave school grounds, though, and gathered in the street, a resident of Sangchu [in Chinese, Xiahe] county in Gansu province said, also on condition of anonymity.

“Police and armed PAP [People’s Armed Police] surrounded the students and forced them back into the school compound.  About 20 students were detained and were later released after being interrogated,” the source said.

Students and teachers at the school are still being questioned, he said, adding, “The increased presence of Chinese forces is causing tension and fear in the area.”

Meanwhile, at Ditsa monastery in Tsoshar [in Chinese, Haidong] prefecture in Qinghai province, posters were put up March 14 calling for freedom for Tibet and for the long life of Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

“Soon after the posters appeared, local police and the PAP arrived in the area, tightened security, and took away two monks—Jamyang, 19, and Yeshe, 20,” a local resident said, confirming an account from another source with contacts in the region.

The monks’ teacher, Tulku Woeser, and three of his attendants were also detained, he said.

“Tulku Woeser was released after three days of detention and interrogation,” the source added. “He was released because of his bad health.”

Original reporting by Lhumbum and Chakmo Tso for RFA’s Tibetan service. Tibetan service director: Jigme Ngapo. Translations by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney. Edited by Sarah Jackson-Han.

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Anonymous
Dec 10, 2011 04:51 PM

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