The Chinese authorities are taking steps to stop young Tibetans from Tibet who escape to India for their education, reports the Far Eastern Economic Review in its December 20, 2001 issue. The weekly, quoting diplomats in Beijing, says some 5,000 students from Tibet are enrolled in schools in India, having made their way there via Nepal.

The report claims that China has in the past turned a largely blind eye to the outflow of students, many of whom return, and continues that the situation has changed in recent months. It says the Chinese authorities have begun to punish parents whose children are in India, usually by firing them from their jobs. The report ends by saying, “And the flow of students to India has dried up.”

While the Chinese authorities may be increasing pressure on parents not to send their children to India for study in the schools run by the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, it is not true that they have turned a blind eye to this development in the past. In fact, the ban was first introduced in mid 1994 when Chinese government employees were given three-months’ time to bring back their children from India. At the time 37 children in total returned to Tibet.

In the annual meeting of the Tibet Autonomous Region Communist Party Committee held on September 5, 1994, delegates discussed the decisions of the Third Work Forum, which included the recalling of students from India. The meeting resolved on the following: “As for those who have sent their children abroad to be educated in schools run by the Dalai clique, if the parents are citizens, peasants or herdsmen we should enhance our work on educating them, but if they are Party members in government departments or are cadres, then we should let them call back their children within a specified period. Those who do not call back their children should be dealt with seriously, and their children’s residence cards should be cancelled. Those graduates from schools of the Dalai clique who have come to work in Tibet should be controlled strictly; they should not be allowed to work in the Party or the government or in other important departments. Those who are already working in Tibet should be checked, and they should be dealt with in different ways according to the different cases.”

In 2000 this ban was intensified. The 6th General Body Meeting of the Discipline Inspection Commission of the Tibet Autonomous Region Party Committee held from March 15 to 17, 2000 issued the order that “all party cadres and government employees are strictly instructed to observe the orders prohibiting their children to study in schools administered by the Dalai Lama.” Parents were threatened with punitive measures including sanctions, expulsion from jobs and the party, freeze in promotion and salary increase and forfeiting the residential permits of their children. In August that year there were reports of at least 20 students being withdrawn from schools in India.

On May 23, 2001, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy reported on the detention of 50 Tibetan students by Chinese police while returning to Tibet from Nepal.

Despite these Chinese restrictions, young Tibetans continue to escape from Tibet for study in India.