News / Asia

    Tibetan Students Protest Alleged Plan to Use Mandarin Exclusively in Class

    Thousands of Tibetan students stage protests in Rebkong, northwestern China's Qinghai province, 19 Oct 2010
    Thousands of Tibetan students stage protests in Rebkong, northwestern China's Qinghai province, 19 Oct 2010

    Tibetan students in western China are reported to be back at school after they carried out protests over unconfirmed plans to use the Chinese language exclusively in classes.

    Witnesses reported calm Wednesday, one day after several thousand Tibetan middle and high school students in China's western Qinghai province protested reports that schools would be required to teach in Mandarin only.
    Witnesses say the protests were peaceful and that police did not interfere.

    Stephanie Brigden is with the advocacy group Free Tibet, which has been in contact with witnesses in Qinghai. She says the authorities did not interfere in the protests possibly because they did not know what to make of them.

    "I think partly the police and the military were unclear on the nature of the protests," she noted,  "so, historically we have seen the police reacting with disproportionate force when Tibetans have made demands for the Dalai Lama to return, for Tibetan independence. But this protest was very much led on what you could arguably call a soft issue of language, so it is very unclear how the police should respond to that."

    Schools in Tibetan areas use Mandarin and Tibetan alongside each other. Teachers have told news organizations that they have received no orders to switch to Chinese entirely.

    Qinghai officials had no immediate comment on the latest protests, but the Qinghai government earlier this month published a document calling for the need to promote a bilingual system.

    Brigden says the public fear that Tibetan language would be cut from schools shows the gulf of credibility between official rhetoric and what Tibetans actually hear on the ground.

    "I think this is a good example of the difference between what is promised and what is delivered. This is the case, whether we are talking about education rights, whether we are talking about who is benefiting from development in Tibet, or we are talking about whether torture takes place in Tibet," Brigden said.

    The issue of adequately promoting minority languages is sensitive in China, where ethnic Han Chinese make up more than 90 percent of the population. The Chinese government has for decades promoted Mandarin Chinese as a way of unifying a diverse country. Many Tibetans say they have little choice but to learn Mandarin if they want to get ahead in modern China.

    Modern Chinese art expert Li Xianting learned of the Tibetan language deficiency when he recently helped organize an exhibition of contemporary Tibetan art in Beijing.

    Li says he was very surprised when one of the young Tibetan artists, who was literate in Tibetan because his parents were professors, told him some of the other Tibetan artists were not writing Tibetan words correctly.

    He says it is not fair to Tibetans that they do not get enough instruction in their own language. He says he thinks globalization should mean multiculturalism, not the eradication of local cultures.

    You May Like

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora