New Chinese decree imposes Mandarin on Tibetan children

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DHARMASHALA : A new Chinese decree has mandated Mandarin for all preschoolers and requires all kindergartens in ethnic and rural areas to use Mandarin as the language of instruction for school activities, says article report citing the human rights group Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

The decree – announced in July came into force this month – reads: “From the fall semester 2021, all kindergartens in ethnic and rural areas that have not used the national standard language for childcare and education activities will use the national language. standard language for activities aimed at creating a good Mandarin education environment for children, ”Tibet-focused information portal Phayul reported Monday.

Beijing’s “Children’s Homophony Plan for Putonghua Education for Preschool Children” aims to “cultivate a solid foundation of standard Chinese language” and also help “build community for the Chinese nation” from an early age, ”Phayul said.

Activists called the decree an attempt to sinicise the education system in ethnic and rural areas.

According to Phayul, Tenzin Sangmo, researcher at TCHRD, said: “The plan is designed to weaken the child’s understanding of his mother tongue in the early years. Although studies have shown that children are able to master more than one language in the early years and a lot of rest in the hands of parents, we must remember that imposing compulsory education in Mandarin in this context would help. a channel for the lessons of sinization and the cultural values ​​that accompany the introduction of a language. “

In batches during the period 2021-2025, teachers will also have to follow a “national aptitude training for the application of common languages”.

Activists believed that because of such decrees, the sustainability of the Tibetan language was going to be difficult.

Chinese police arrested a teenage boy named Sherab Dorjee in Trotsik County, Ngaba County last month, allegedly for asking the local government office to prioritize teaching Tibetan at school, he said. Phayul reported.

Tashi Wangchuk, an ordinary Tibetan who protested for language rights, has been sentenced to five years in prison by Chinese authorities. He was released in January this year after serving his prison term.

Making a voice for language rights has become dangerous in Tibet. The Chinese government uses general accusations as “incitement to separatism” against such militants in Tibet.

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