Tag Archives | Tibetan language

Tibetan language rights advocate Tashi Wangchuk sentenced to five years in prison

May 22, 2018

Tibetan language rights advocate Tashi Wangchuk was sentenced to five years in prison today, accused of ‘separatism’ after appearing in a New York Times video speaking of the importance of protecting Tibetans’ ‘mother tongue’.

The verdict, handed down by a court in Yushu, Qinghai, today (May 22) signals China’s harsh and extreme approach to Tibetan culture and the criminalization of moderate, peaceful efforts within Chinese law to protect the use of Tibetan language.

Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet, said: “This could not be a clearer and more absurd indication of the extremist position of the current Chinese leadership, in which Tashi Wangchuk was condemned ultimately for seeking to speak his own language, and expressing his concern about a future when Tibetan children might not be able to do so. In this case, minority rights outlined in China’s Constitution were on trial, and the outcome reflects the emptiness of China’s claims to protect Tibetan language and culture.”

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Tibetans in Tibet and in exile appeal to Chinese courts over use of Tibetan language, express support for Tashi Wangchuk

February 12, 2018

  • A group of Tibetans has written to the Supreme Court expressing their concern about the failure by regional courts to use the Tibetan language, which they state contravenes the Chinese Constitution. In a rare and bold step, the appeal letter, published on the Tibetan-language website Trimleng, an important forum for discussion particularly on legal and policy issues affecting Tibetans in Tibet, is signed with the names of 117 Tibetans who are both in Tibet and in exile.
  • The appeal is also a carefully-worded expression of support for businessman and shopkeeper Tashi Wangchuk, who was imprisoned in January, 2016, following the release of a New York Times video[1] profiling his efforts to request additional Tibetan language classes at schools in his home area of Yushul (Yushu) in Qinghai.
  • A group of 15 internationally known scholars and professors on Tibet, from France, the UK, US, Czech Republic, Canada and Australia called for clemency for Tashi Wangchuk in a letter published in the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong on February 8 (2018).[2] This follows expressions of concern and support for Tashi Wangchuk from German[3] and Latvian[4] Parliamentarians, and an emergency resolution by the European Parliament.[5]
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ICT fears for lack of fair trial for Tibetan language advocate

January 3, 2018

Tibetan shopkeeper Tashi Wangchuk, who has been in prison since January 2016 after he sought to defend Tibetans’ right to education in their own language, is due to be tried on January 4.

Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet, said: “Tashi Wangchuk did nothing more than defend a cultural right to use one’s own language, protected under the Chinese Constitution and international human rights law. He should never have been arrested, and it is indefensible that he now faces criminal prosecution, and the lack of a fair trial, and should be released immediately.”

Tashi Wangchuk was critical of Chinese cultural and educational policies on Tibetans in an interview with The New York Times in 2015, published in both print media and as a video that circulated widely. According to a microblog posted by his attorney, Liang Xiaojun, the Yushu Intermediate Court in Qinghai Province has scheduled the trial for January 4, 2018.

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Hotel restaurant closed down by authorities after staff threatened with fine for speaking Tibetan

January 14, 2016

Following an outcry on social media, the local authorities in Rebkong (Chinese: Tongren), Tibet, have closed down a Chinese hotel after management threatened staff with a large fine if they spoke Tibetan. The hotel, which had only opened last month, made a written apology which was published online, and said that it would be ‘closed for rectification’, indicating that the closure is likely to be temporary.

In response to the closure, the county government issued a statement asserting the importance of the Tibetan language and saying that it should have equal status in practice with Chinese, and should be used first. Although both Chinese and Tibetan are the ‘official’ languages in Tibet, when the Chinese authorities use the term ‘bilingual education’ they mean ensuring the dominance of Chinese.

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First Lady Michelle Obama on the Edge of Tibet: Urged to Focus on Language in Education

March 23, 2014

  • First Lady Michelle Obama, will dine at a Tibetan restaurant during her visit to Chengdu (March 25-26), the capital of a province with a significant Tibetan population.
  • With the focus of her visit on education, the International Campaign for Tibet has urged the First Lady to raise the issue of the importance of a genuine bilingual policy that asserts the centrality of the Tibetan language in areas where Tibetans live.
  • State media announced, just days before Michelle Obama’s visit, plans to ensure that Chinese language will predominate over Tibetan in schools in Tibetan areas.

The visit by U.S. First Lady Obama to Chengdu, including a meal at a Tibetan restaurant, offers the opportunity to inquire about the state of Tibetan language education in the People’s Republic of China.

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European Parliament report condemns human rights abuses in Tibet

December 13, 2013

A new report adopted by the European Parliament raises strong concern about the human rights situation in Tibet, detailing the high number of self-immolations, displacement of Tibetan nomads, religious repression, and the threats to the survival of the Tibetan language.

Although not binding, the European Parliament report sends a strong political signal to other EU institutions on what priorities they should adopt in their work on human rights issues.

The report, an annual report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2012, was drafted by MEP Eduard Kukan (Slovakia, European People’s Party) of the Committee of Foreign Affairs (AFET) and adopted by the Parliament on December 11.

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Tibetan Language: UN human rights experts’ urgent intervention with China


According to documents made available before the 17th session of the UN Human Rights Council, four human rights experts of the Council, on 22 October, 2010 issued a joint urgent appeal to China “regarding allegations relating to restrictions imposed on the use of the Tibetan language in schools in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of China.” […]

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Tibetan students in Rebkong protest

Tibetan teachers write petition in support of Tibetan language; fears for students after detentions

Several hundred Tibetan teachers and students in Qinghai have written a detailed letter to the authorities, enclosed with this report, setting out the reasons why the teaching medium should remain Tibetan rather than Chinese, following proposed education reforms that sparked protests last week involving thousands of students. Protests by Tibetan school and college students over […]

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Tibetan students in Rebkong protest

Protests by students against downgrading of Tibetan language spread to Beijing

Protests by Tibetan school and college students over plans to restrict the use of their language have spread from several areas of Qinghai to Beijing, according to new reports this morning. Several hundred Tibetan students at Minzu (Chinese: Nationality) University of China protested at noon today (October 22) to express their concern about the downgrading […]

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