Saturday, 23 October 2010

Protests at Chinese Attempts to "Wipe out" Tibetan Language

Chinese officials have tried to defuse discontent following days of student protests in ethnically Tibetan areas, saying a plan to teach classes only in Mandarin Chinese was not aimed at wiping out Tibet's native tongue.

Changes won't be forced in areas where "conditions are not ripe," the official Xinhua News Agency cited Wang Yubo, the Qinghai province education department director, as saying. The report did not elaborate on how officials would make that determination.

Thousands of middle school students had protested Tuesday in Qinghai province's Malho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in anger at being forced to study in the Chinese language, Free Tibet said.

But the protests have since spread to two adjacent Tibetan prefectures in the remote region, it said in a statement Thursday.

About 2,000 students from four schools in the town of Chabcha in Tsolho prefecture marched on Wednesday to the local government building, chanting "We want freedom for the Tibetan language," the group said.

They were later turned back by police and teachers, it said.

Students also protested on Thursday in the town of Dawu in the Golog Tibetan prefecture. Police responded by preventing local residents from going out into the streets, it said.

For the Chinese authorities, any sign of unrest among Tibetans is seen as a threat to national sovereignty and a reminder of past uprisings against China's often heavy-handed rule over the Himalayan region.

No comments:

Post a Comment