Authorities in northwestern China’s Qinghai province have ordered a privately-run Tibetan school to close citing lack of official registration, forcing the school’s pupils to attend a state-run school 20 miles away instead, sources said.
Located in Bayan Khar (in Chinese, Hualong) county in the Tsoshar (Haidong) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, the school was ordered closed by county officials on January 14, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
The school, which taught Tibetan language, Mandarin Chinese, and mathematics to about 20 students, had been funded by money invested by a local Tibetan woman, a shopkeeper named Yangmo Kyi, RFA’s source said.
“For three years, Tibetan students in Chungnyin township had no school at all, so at the request of the Tibetan public, Yangmo Kyi agreed to found one and worked hard to set it up,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“It was a fulfillment of the students’ dreams,” he said.
“Unfortunately, county authorities ordered her to close the school on January14, and now the students have to travel a long way to attend classes far from their homes.”
“They have been handed over to the closest government school, which is 20 miles away,” he said.
Threats for noncompliance
Also speaking to RFA, a second local source described the new requirement as “very inconvenient for the students.”
“Parents who refuse to send their children to the state-run school have been threatened with ‘consequences’ for noncompliance, and have been told they will be held responsible,” the source said, also speaking on condition of anonymity.
“This is a clear example of how the government can’t help Tibetan students in remote areas,” he added.
In May 2014, authorities in Qinghai’s Golog (Guoluo) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture moved to close a school catering to Tibetan nomad children, saying that its operation had interfered with government plans to move the nomads off their pastoral lands, sources said.
And in April, officials blocked a move to hold a traditional Tibetan language competition in a Tibetan-populated county in neighboring Sichuan, citing concerns over the “political implications” of the event.
Language rights have become a particular focus for Tibetan efforts to reassert national identity in recent years, with Chinese authorities frequently closing language classes taught outside the state-controlled education system and Tibetan students protesting against the use of textbooks written in Chinese.
Reported by Lhuboom and Dolkar for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.