04/21/2012, 00.00
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Sichuan, school that taught Tibetan forcibly closed

Authorities fear and prohibit all forms of autonomous education: in Tibet and Tibetan-majority provinces in China, one must speak and write in Mandarin. Headmaster and a teacher arrested: The school was open for over 20 years.

Dharamsala (AsiaNews) - Chinese authorities in Kardze County, Sichuan Province, have forcibly closed a school that taught young people in the Tibetan language. The principal and a teacher were arrested and taken to an undisclosed location. According to Beijing, the teaching of Tibetan - the language but also culture, music and history - is a crime comparable to separatism.

Some sources have confirmed the incident. On 2 April, but the news has only filtered through, a group of uniformed officers went to the Khadrok Jamtse Rokten school and ordered its closure. At the protests of the principal Nyendak and the teacher Yama Tsering they pulled out their weapons. The institute has served the local population for more than 20 years and is funded entirely by locals.

Immediately after closing, the authorities sent orders to all households in the area to send their children (more than 7 years of age) to the government school of the City of Kardze. In addition, all have been warned of "serious consequences" in case of the illegal reopening of the school.
Beijing regards educational freedom as a threat to its rule over Tibet. Since the 1949 invasion, the central government has imposed on Tibetans to read, write and work in Mandarin Chinese. The aim is to nip in the bud any possible spirit of independence.

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