People signing the petition at the main square of Mcleod Ganj, Dharamshala, on October 12, 2022. Photo: TPI

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Dharamshala, India –International Tibet Network and National Democratic Party of Tibet organised offline and online petitions asking G7 leaders to pressure China to end the system of forced boarding schools and kindergartens, as well as the closure of Tibetan language schools in Tibet.

On October 12, 2022, the International Tibet Network and the National Democratic Party of Tibet organised an offline petition at the main square of Mcleod Ganj, Dharamshala, H.P., India. They are calling on people to sign the petition to save Tibetan children from Chinese enforced boarding schools and kindergartens. The children are forcibly taken away from their parents and taught Chinese language and culture, trying to make them feel Chinese and not Tibetan.

The petitions will be submitted to the G7 foreign ministers, who will meet in Germany in November 2022.

“We are writing to you as leaders of the G7 to urge you to take firm joint action concerning the Chinese government's relentless colonisation of Tibet and attempts to eradicate Tibetans' distinct identity,” a statement of the organisations said.

“Occupied for over seven decades, China's rule in Tibet is one of the last remnants of 20th-century colonialism. This is epitomised by a vast and alarming system of colonial boarding schools and preschools housing close to 1,000,000 Tibetan children. This includes an estimated 100,000 Tibetan children aged four to six living in boarding preschools, as well as more than three-quarters of Tibetan students aged six to 18 in elementary, middle, and secondary schools,” they added.

“These children are separated from their families and communities, often through coercive measures. As a result, they are prevented from learning their mother tongue and must study a curriculum imposed by the occupying Chinese government. At the same time, scores of Tibetan-language schools have been shut down across Tibet with Tibetan teachers and language advocates arrested for simply teaching in Tibetan,” the organisations said.

“These policies aim to re-engineer Tibetan society and eliminate resistance to Chinese rule by ensuring that the next generation of Tibetans cannot speak their own language and are cut off from their culture and way of life. This effort, and in particular the system of colonial boarding schools, has already had a devastating impact on Tibetan families, causing extreme emotional and psychological distress to Tibetan children,” they said.

The organisations have two demands for the G7 leaders:

  • Urges the Chinese government to halt the residential boarding school and preschool system and the closure of Tibetan- language schools.
  • Denounces China's attempts to eradicate Tibetans' distinct identity, including their language, culture, history, and way of life.