Dharamshala: Chinese authorities in Drakgo (Ch: Luhuo) county in Tibet’s traditional Kham province have ordered Tibetans to demolish a Tibetan Buddhist school after falsely alleging that the school has “violated” the land use law, according to the Tibet Times.
Gedhen Nangten School, under the administration of Drakgo’s Ganden Rabten Namgyalling Monastery, was reportedly taken down by the school officials with the help of volunteer local Tibetans on 31 October 2021 after they received the official decree.
“The Chinese officials have ordered to the school administration to demolish the school voluntarily in the next three days or the government will dispatch units to carry out the destruction”, said the source in the report. The authorities further threatened to confiscate the school furniture and properties as well.
Tibetan children, especially those from a poor financial background, who depends on the school for daily sustenance were evicted and forced to return to their homes following the demolition of the school.
According to a Tibetan source, the demolition was carried out on dubious allegations as the school was accused of violating land use law when it only applies to local residential buildings.
Moreover, in the past, the Chinese authorities have forcefully expelled around 20 students from the school claiming that the students have not reached the appropriate age to attend schools and thus were sent back to their homes.
Gedhen Buddhist School, located in Drakgo, now incorporated into Sichuan Province, was constructed in 2014 by scholars and monks of Gadhen Rabten Namgyal Ling Monastery. Before its closure, it accommodates around 130 students providing both traditional and modern educations, such as language and grammar classes including Tibetan, Chinese, and English, and Buddhist philosophy courses.
In the past, notably in 2008 and 2012, Drakgo county has witnessed various peaceful protests by the Tibetans against oppressive and unjust policies and decrees implemented in the region. The peaceful protests were frequently dealt with brutal repressions and crackdowns. Since then, the Chinese officials have further intensified and prioritized the surveillance and inspection of the local Tibetan’s mundane activities.
Such an incident illustrates the recent surges in the Chinese government’s drive to sinicize Tibetan culture and language, as Tibetan schools continue to be targeted. Tibetan schools being forcefully closed down under fabricated allegations is the recurrent theme.
The forced closure of the Tibetan schools has not only deprived Tibetan children of their right to learn their language and culture but also, coerced them to join Chinese government schools resulting in the continuation of cultural assimilation and language oppression.
– Filed by the UN, EU, and the Human Rights Desk/DIIR