The Federal government of Germany has expressed concern over the "increasingly deteriorating" situation in Tibet and has voiced its support for the UN experts' call to end all compulsory boarding schools and forced relocations of Tibetan nomads in Tibet. The concerns were raised in a meeting held with the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid on April 20, 2023.
During the meeting, a representative from the German federal foreign office shared concerns over systematic violations of human rights in Tibet and expressed support for the UN experts' recent findings on the situation in Tibet. The representative called upon China to end compulsory boarding schools and forcible removal of Tibetan nomads in Tibet, citing the state-led forced assimilation of Tibetan language, culture, and religion as the motive behind these actions.
The German foreign office's representative detailed the gross violations of human rights in Tibet by China and emphasized that Germany ensures that the issues of human rights violations are not "lost sight of." This stance was welcomed by Representative Thinlay Chukki of the Tibet Bureau-Geneva, who called it a clear message to China that the deplorable situation in Tibet can no longer be overlooked. Chukki urged China to uphold its international human rights obligations and respect the rights of the Tibetan people.
This move by the German government is likely to add pressure on China to address the human rights violations in Tibet and could lead to further international scrutiny of China's actions in the region.
China is attempting to systematically abolish the Tibetan minority through inhuman measures such as forced assimilation and re-education of up to a million children, noted Renata Alt, the Chairwoman of the Human Rights Committee in German parliament comments on the UN experts' statement on the boarding school system in Tibet on 07 Feb 2023.
"China's boarding school system is another gross violation of human rights committed by the Communist Party against the Tibetan people. This China policy, which clearly violates international human rights standards, must be condemned in the strongest terms! Germany must not look on while Tibetan culture is being systematically wiped out. A China strategy is more urgent than ever", observed the statement.
United Nation experts warned that around a million Tibetan minority children are being affected by Chinese government policies aimed at cultural, religious, and linguistic assimilation through a residential school system.
The experts said that "We are deeply concerned that, in recent years, the Tibetan children's residential school system appears to have acted as a mandatory large-scale programme aimed at assimilation of Tibetans into majority Han culture, in violation of international human rights standards”.
The educational content and environment in residential schools are built around the majority Han culture, with textbook content reflecting almost entirely the lived experience of Han students. Tibetan minority children are forced to complete a 'compulsory education' curriculum in Mandarin Chinese (Putonghua) with no access to traditional or culturally relevant learning. The Putonghua language governmental schools do not offer a thorough examination of the Tibetan minority's language, history, and culture.
"As a result, Tibetan children are losing their facility with their native language, as well as the ability to communicate easily with their parents and grandparents in Tibetan," the experts said. They expressed concern about a reported significant increase in the number of Tibetan children living in residential schools in and outside the Tibet Autonomous Region.
Edited and collated by Team TRC