Not on our watch: Cultural Genocide in Tibet

The Sikyong (President) of Tibet’s Government in Exile, Penpa Tsering has declared that Tibetan children are under threat of a cultural genocide – if nothing is done to stop it.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-run boarding school system in Tibet, which separates Tibetan children as young as six years old from their families, is the biggest threat facing Tibetan identity today. The Chinese government has forcibly separated 80% of Tibetan children in Tibet from their families and cultural roots to Sinicize them in these boarding schools.

“Tibetan children are forced to learn Chinese language instead of Tibetan and its propaganda, with the aim to change their mind so that there won’t be any Tibetan in another 15 to 20 years”, said Sikyong Penpa Tsering. “A cultural genocide is taking place in Tibet, and China’s policies there are designed to wipe out the Tibetan people’s cultural and linguistic identity.”

Not on Our Watch – Australia cannot stand idle and risk a future Stolen Generation of Tibetan children, ATC will act to ensure this issue is front and centre for Australian parliamentarians and not ignored as China seeks to resume trade and other relations with Australia.

In 2023 ATC will ensure that this matter is brought to the attention of Australian Parliamentarians and will push for strong action from Australia’s lawmakers on Tibet.

With Australia’s sad history of stolen generations, we know the damage done by separating children from their families, their language and culture – ATC will ensure that Australia does not stand idly by while Tibetan culture is under attack. ATC will pressure the Australian government to act.

Support this appeal so that in 2023 we can maximise our efforts to stop cultural genocide in Tibet and stop Tibetan children from being separated from their families, language, religion and culture.

April 2023: Dr Gyal Lo a whitsleblower on the colonial boarding school in Tibet, spoke with us in an interview sharing details of his experience working in the Chinese education system.

June 2023: Sikyong Penpa Tsering spoke to SBS producer and journalist Karla Grant about the grim similarities between the Chinese colonial boarding schools and the Stolen Generation.

We have seen that in the US Congress, the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China has already written to the UN demanding this is investigated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights after their findings that:

· This system of CCP boarding schools is resulting in serious human rights violations and cultural and linguistic erasure.

· Nearly 80 per cent of all Tibetan Children between the ages of 6 and 18 have been systematically separated from their parents and housed in State-run boarding schools and preschools throughout jurisdictions designated by the PRC government as ‘autonomous’ for Tibetans.

· The schools are “colonial” in design and practice, serving the Chinese Communist Party’s goals of ‘Sinicizing” Tibetans through immersion in Mandarin Chinese instruction and a “highly politicised curriculum.”

· The percentage of students living away from their families at CPP-run boarding schools is drastically higher for Tibetan students than for students in other areas of China.

· Tibetan parents are coerced into sending their children to these schools. Tibetan parents are often faced with no choice but to send their children to residential schools because of the closure of Tibetan language and community schools, and also in some cases because of threats for noncompliance and fines imposed if families resist.

· There are “high rates of mental and emotional distress” among students in residential schools due in part to the separation from their families and communities, also because of strict living and teaching conditions at the school and bullying and violence among students.

· These actions by Chinese authorities constitute a fundamental violation of the rights of Tibetan parents and children by interfering with their right to preserve the integrity of their family units and stripping them of their right to choose the educational direction for their children.

· The PRC government is violating its obligation under the Convention on the Rights of the Child “to respect the right of the children to preserve his or her identity, including nationality, name and family relations as recognised by the law without unlawful interference” and to ensure the rights of ‘ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities… to use their own language.”

Overcoming Obstacles - Protecting Tibet Religous Identity report

2022 Australia Tibet Council report on the dire situation of Tibetan religious identity inside Tibet.

Separated from their families, hidden from the world

This Tibet Action Institute report uncovered the shocking number of Tibetan children currently separated from their families under the Chinese Communist Party’s assimilationist policies.

Forced Labour and Family Separation

Social control and extreme surveillance measures first experimented with by CCP boss Chen Quanguo in Tibet were fine tuned and vastly accelerated in East Turkestan (Xinjiang).