Dharamshala, 10th December: China’s enormous system of colonial boarding schools inside Tibet, which removes children as young as four from their parents, was revealed in research released on Tuesday by Tibet Action Institute. “Separated from their families, hidden from the world – China’s massive system of colonial boarding schools within Tibet,” according to the research, Chinese government policies force three out of every four Tibetan pupils into a vast network of colonial boarding schools, where they are indoctrinated.
According to Tibet Action Institute, the schools are a cornerstone of Xi Jinping’s attempt to replace Tibetan identity with a homogeneous Chinese identity in order to defuse future resistance to Chinese Communist Party (CCP) rule.
According to the research, these state-run schools educate between 800,000 and 900,000 Tibetan pupils aged six to eighteen, as well as an unknown number of four and five-year-olds. The schools are used to mold students into Chinese nationals who are loyal to the CCP.
Students are forced to study largely in Chinese, are prohibited from practicing their faith, and are subjected to political indoctrination after being separated from their families and communities, according to Tibet Action Institute.
“By intentionally uprooting Tibetan children from their families and culture and making them live in state-run boarding schools, the Chinese authorities are using one of the most heinous tools of colonization to attack Tibetan identity,” stated Lhadon Tethong, Director of Tibet Action Institute.
“China’s unprecedented campaign of forced sinicization in Tibet targets even the youngest children and demands the urgent intervention of the United Nations and concerned governments,” Tethong added.
Chinese authorities have gradually phased out local schools in Tibet, replacing them with centralized boarding schools, especially for elementary-aged children, over the previous decade.
Monastery schools and other privately managed Tibetan schools have also been forced to close, forcing parents to send their children away. Authorities utilize threats and intimidation to achieve compliance in cases when parents try to resist, according to Tibet Action Institute.
Tibetan students in colonial boarding schools have suffered serious emotional and psychological harm, according to researchers in Tibet and China.
Because access to Tibet is restricted, it is impossible to verify current conditions firsthand, but interviews with Tibetans who attended previous iterations of Tibet’s boarding schools paint a harrowing picture of children living in deplorable conditions, subjected to physical and sexual abuse, racism, and discrimination, as well as political indoctrination. The report draws on a variety of primary and secondary sources, including firsthand accounts from inside Tibet that describe how China’s education policies affect Tibetans’ daily lives, statements from Tibetans in exile who are survivors of China’s colonial boarding school system, data from official sources, and scholars in Tibet, China, and elsewhere.
“China claims to be educating Tibetan children, but the world knows what it looks like when children are pushed into residential schools run by a state that wants to wipe out their culture, Beijing must be pressed to respect the right of all Tibetan children to receive a high-quality mother-tongue education without being separated from their families, before any more irreparable harm is done,” Tethong added.