Tibet: Anniversary of the people’s uprising (March 10)

A call for measures against the destruction of Tibetan families

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) has called on the German Federal Government to show more effort to try and stop the Communist Party of China (CPC) from destroying Tibetan families. “The authorities have systematically separated around one million Tibetan children from their parents and grandparents over the last few years. Now, they are forced to endure daily indoctrination by the Chinese colonial power in state-run boarding schools, where they are mainly taught Mandarin and are submitted to Chinese propaganda,” reported Hanno Schedler, STP expert on genocide prevention and the Responsibility to Protect. “Now, 64 years after the people’s uprising in Tibet, the CPC is still going to a lot of effort to expand its control over Tibet. The aim is to alienate young Tibetans from their roots by means of forced separation. As a consequence of this policy, the Tibetan language and culture are suppressed more and more.”

One month ago, UN experts had come to the conclusion that the system of state-run boarding schools for Tibetan children is a measure to forcibly assimilate them to the Han-majority – which is to be seen as a violation of international human rights. In the boarding schools, Mandarin is the dominant language, and there are no lessons on the Tibetan language, history, or culture. As a consequence, Tibetan children are no longer able to speak the language of their parents and grandparents – and they lose connection to their own community. More and more Tibetan village schools are closed down and replaced by boarding schools in lager towns.

“Together with other like-minded states, Germany should publicly address the destruction of Tibetan families. In her speech at the UN Security Council, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock had rightfully criticized the kidnapping of Ukrainian children by Russia, calling for a continuation of the UN Commission of Inquiry into Ukraine. We hope that she will find similar words at the United Nations regarding the cruel and widespread measures to separate Tibetan children from their families,” Schedler added.

The Chinese government is using forced family separations as a part of its policy of forces assimilation both in Tibet and in Xinjiang / East Turkestan – the main settlement area of the Uyghurs. In the course of a side event to the upcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva (Monday, March 13), a group of Tibetans and Uyghurs will report on their situation and address the United Nations and its member states with demands.

On March 1, 1959, thousands of Tibetans had protested against the Chinese rule. The protests were brutally put down. Around 87.000 people died during the first year after the people’s uprising. A further 1.1 million Tibetans fell victim to China’s repression in the following decades. In 1959, the Dalai Lama was forced to flee from Tibet, and he has been living in exile in Dharamsala, India, ever since. He is still demonized by the Chinese government, but is highly respected by the Tibetan people.