The U.S. State Department is taking steps to impose visa restrictions on People’s Republic of China officials for their involvement in the forcible assimilation of more than one million Tibetan children in government-run boarding schools, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced in a written statement.
Earlier this year, a panel of experts from the United Nations expressed deep concern that “the residential school system for Tibetan children appears to act as a mandatory large-scale program intended to assimilate Tibetans into majority Han culture, contrary to international human rights standards.”
The UN experts noted that after the closure of rural schools, the majority of Tibetan children are compelled to attend the boarding schools, most of which are located far from their families. The Tibetan students must complete a curriculum in Mandarin Chinese, with no access to traditional or culturally relevant learning.
Secretary Blinken said, “These coercive policies seek to eliminate Tibet’s distinct linguistic, cultural, and religious traditions among younger generations of Tibetans.”
The most recent report by the U.S. State Department on human rights conditions in Tibet noted that parents in several Tibetan-inhabited areas are also being required to take Mandarin language training “in order for them to teach their children in Mandarin.” Reportedly, an additional focus of the training sessions for parents is to reform the participants “thoughts” through Chinese education.
“We urge PRC Authorities to end the coercion of Tibetan children into government-run boarding schools and to cease repressive assimilation policies, both in Tibet and throughout other parts of the PRC,” said Secretary Blinken. “We will continue to work with our allies and partners to highlight these actions and promote accountability.”
The United States stands with the Tibetan people whose human rights should be respected and whose unique cultural, linguistic, and religious traditions preserved.