China alienates, angers Tibetan students with political education

In one of the major protests witnessed this year in Tibet, about a thousand Tibetan students at Sorig Lobling medical school in Chabcha (Ch: Gonghe) protested against the Chinese government. The protest[i] broke out on 26 November in Chabcha (Ch: Gonghe) town of Serchen County in Tsolho (Ch: Hainan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province.

The protest lasted for nearly two hours before armed police came to suppress it. Many students were injured in the protest as local armed police forces engaged in indiscriminate beatings. According to some unconfirmed reports, tear gas shell and even gunshots were used to break up crowds of protesters.

Based on new information received by TCHRD, a prefectural government-issued booklet, containing allegations against the so-called “Dalai clique” and offensive denunciation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, was distributed among the students at the school.

The booklet was also used by relevant officials to explain the booklet to students during one of the political education sessions.

The ten-point questionnaire titled “Ten Ways of Looking at the Present Situation in Tsolho Prefecture”[ii] that TCHRD published earlier is the list of contents for the booklet.

TCHRD has received 25 pages of the booklet including chapters on self-immolation, bilingual education and ‘illegal’ assembly, procession and demonstrations.

In chapter four on page 48 titled, ‘Has bilingual education caused the decline of minority language?’ the Chinese government calls the promotion and implementation of bilingual education policy in ethnic minority regions “a long-term significance for the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese nation.” It further says that the policy to educate the common national language, Chinese, and English also, is a necessity.

The booklet says implementation of bilingual education policy is important and requires participation of each student and each family in the region. It says “If we observe the progress of the Tibetan society – its history, literature and culture, it is not devoid of wisdom of earlier culture. Hence, it is important to share, exchange and learn from one another.”

On page 51 of chapter four, the booklet declares the promulgation of “minority education” program under which a common education policy for both the cities and villages was adopted.

Page 53
Page 53

It mentions, on page 53, the September 2010 provincial-level conference on education where the authorities recognized the importance of bilingual education and decided to put more effort on it. On ‘ethnic minorities’ students with weak Chinese skills, the booklet says they find it hard to graduate, do further studies or find work.

Below is a selective translation of the booklet:

From page 69, chapter 6 on self-immolation:

Page 69 of chapter 6 on self immolation
Page 69 of chapter 6 on self immolation

Some people in the West say the slogans shouted by the self-immolators such as “freedom for Tibet” and “Tibet is independent” clearly show that these represent political goals. But it is crystal clear that young people in their teens and early 20s, who had never left their homeland and monasteries in their whole lifetime did not use such political slogans. How can it be possible that they said these political slogans.

[Those who raised these slogans] are ignorant of the problematic historical background and political causes. They not only quashed the hopes of their parents and the society who brought them up, but also belittled the value of human life and took their own lives. These incidents are same as other violent and terrorist acts. […]

The reason for self-immolation is to split People’s Republic of China and to realize the dream of Tibetan independence.

Page 70
Page 70

Page 70:

The objectives of the self-immolation are to draw attention from the international community, to continue promoting the so-called Tibet issue, and to turn the so-called Tibet issue into international issue. […] The so-called Tibet issue is a political conspiracy created by foreign imperialist forces, anti-China forces, and some splittist cliques. It is a pity that the young people who self-immolate do not understand this.

Recently, after continued self-immolations happened [in Tsolho], the vice-chairman of the provincial congress, Mr Rinchen Namgyal called for more emphasis on good prevailing conditions in the region and highlighted the stability of economic development and social harmony, harmonious ethnic relations, and resolved to work hard on the welfare of the people.

Page 72:

[All crimes related to self-immolation] will be treated as reactionary and terrorist activities … [the government will] strike hard according to the country’s constitution.

[Self-immolation activities] will destroy the national security and social stability.

End page of chapter 6 (page number not visible):

Self-immolators are not “people’s martyrs” but mere puppets of the Tibetan independence forces.

Page 76:

According the nation’s law on assembly, procession and demonstration, one must write to the main [relevant government] office for permission at least five days prior to the event. The letter must specify the [nature of] assembly, procession, or demonstration, as well as the method, objective, leaflets, slogans, number of participants, number of vehicles, types and number of microphones and duration of the event. The organizer of the event must submit details of his name, residential address and occupation.

Page 77
Page 77

Page 77:

This [self-immolation] is aimed at splitting/harming the ethnic unity inside and outside the country, splitting the nation, breaking ethnic unity, and creating disturbances in the society. It was a plan hatched long before, a plan created with political objectives. They use illegal assembly, procession and demonstrations gatherings, rallies and demonstrations to realize their criminal objectives. …

All the incidents that happened in Lhasa and Urumqi [in 2008 and 2009] have one common characteristic. They began with illegal assembly, processions and demonstrations and ended with beating, burning, smashing and looting.

Page 78:

[…] illegal assembly, procession and demonstrations violate the country’s constitution.

First, the country’s constitution gives basic right to freedom of assembly, procession and demonstration. Moreover, with the promulgation of the “Law of People’s Republic of China on Assembly, Procession and Demonstration,” and its “Implementing Measures”, this right is made a reality.

However, without necessary permission from the main [relevant government] office, such activities will be considered illegal. Waving the banner of “freedom”, these illegal assembly, processions and demonstrations violate the nation’s constitution and regulations. Violating the country’s constitution is an illegal act that destroys [China’s] democratic socialism, breaks the law to incite disturbances and seriously harms the law and constitution of the PRC.

Page 16:

There is not a single Dalai Lama who was not recognized by the Chinese government. The 14th Dalai Lama is not an ordinary religious person. He is a political itinerant who wants to split the Chinese Motherland and a political tool of Western opposition against China.

Page 85:

Unity is happiness. Separatism is suffering.

Some people with ulterior motives, after a self-immolation incident happens, ignore the basic teachings of Buddhism, and call these evil behaviour “a rare virtuous act” and engage in collecting merits through prayers.

The first page of chapter four on bilingual education
The first page of chapter four on bilingual education

Chapter four on bilingual education:

According to the head of Tsolho [Prefecture], “ Culture should not be immutable. Like a river, the beauty of a culture lies in its adaptation and its transformation with changing times.”

The practice of bilingual education is in line with the country’s nationalities’ language policy.

The aim of the bilingual policy is to help the ethnic minorities to promote their culture and reach its pinnacle. It aids the economic development of the society. It raises the educational standard of the ethnic minorities.


[i] Thousands of Tibetan students protest China’s political education, 26 November 2012

[ii] Translated text of questionnaire that sparked Chabcha student protest, 27 November 2012

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