Discrimination in school

The following information was provided by Jamyang Dargyal who had studied in this school for three years.

Bayan County Nationality School in Amdo (Chinese: Qinghai) is a day-cum-boarding school primarily for ethnic minorities. The school admits Tibetans and Chinese Muslims. In the early 1980’s the school fees and expenses were taken on by the government and a monthly stipend of 24 yaun per student was provided. Most of the boarders in the school were Tibetan while Chinese Muslims and other Chinese stayed with their parents all of whom lived nearby. Since the Tibetan parents lived far from the school, their children were compelled to stay in the school’s hostel.

From early 1985 many Chinese students were admitted to the school which led to the exclusion of the Tibetan language from the curriculum. All of the Tibetans in the boarding school were then required to pay 180 kg. of barley, one kg. of potatoes, two and a half litres of oil, and some charcoal to the school authorities in addition to expenses for stationery.

Tibetans are referred to as “pagmi” (Chinese: phiya) which is a derogatory term for those who wear animal skins. They are also called “chedak” which means one who licks utensils. “Allo” is the Chinese term for “kugpa” or fool which is also a common insult. The Tibetans are systematically humiliated in this manner. The teachers and the authorities in the schools are condescending and dislike Tibetans. In all disputes between a Chinese and a Tibetan pupil it is invariably the Tibetan student who is expelled.

Tibetans are harassed by the Chinese when they leave the school and are often beaten. Tamdin, a pupil at the school, was stabbed and had to be admitted to hospital for two months. These events cumulatively forced a large number of Tibetan students to leave the school. In 1992, 30 Tibetan students left the school (which has a strength of 850) and a similar number are reported to have left the school every year since.

The school has a faculty and staff of 80 people of which there are only five male Tibetans: Kelsang (50), Sonam (35), Shenpa (27), Norbu (48), and Pemakyi (85).

All decisions regarding the functioning of the school are made by the Chinese. Of the 850 students 250 are Tibetans while the rest are ethnic Chinese. The subjects taught in the school are: Chinese Language, Mathematics, Political Science, Science, Geography and History, Environment and English.

Most of the teachers are Chinese. The Political Science teacher is Chinese and he teaches; Marxist and Chinese ideology, the Chinese constitution, and Chinese administration. However the Tibetan students are not interested in any of these subjects.

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PRC Sentences Pro-democracy Leader

On 30 October 1996 the PRC sentenced pro-democracy leader Wang Dan to 11 years imprisonment. Just weeks earlier, Liu Xiaobo, another prominent pro-democracy activist, was sent to labour camp for 3 years for “re-education through labour” without trial for penning an open letter to China calling for Tibetan autonomy and labour reforms.

A speaker for Human Rights Watch stated; “The government has effectively wiped out the Chinese dissident movement for the foreseeable future”. Amnesty International, in an open letter to PRC Prime Minister Li Peng, expressed grave concern at the trend towards increased repression in China, despite international claims that Beijing is working to improve human rights protection in China.

While Wang Dan was charged with “conspiring to subvert the government”, Amnesty International says, “It is clear that the “crimes” imputed to Wang Dan amount to no more than the peaceful exercise of his fundamental right to freedom of expression and association… Amnesty International considers that Wang Dan’s detention violates international standards.” Wang Dan’s harsh sentence has similarly attracted criticism from several countries including Britain, France, Sweden and Germany.

While there are plans to reform the criminal law of the PRC in 1997, including the abolition of ill-defined “counter-revolutionary crimes”, there is widespread concern that the new State Security and State Secrets legislation will similarly provide for arbitary detention and politically motivated prosecution.

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