The Committee on Education, Science, Culture, Human Rights and Petitions of the Czech Senate adopted a resolution on May 30, 2023 expressing opposition to China’s policies against Tibetans.
“This resolution sends a strong political message to the Chinese authorities that they should immediately put an end to the boarding schools system imposed on Tibetan children, which is destructive of Tibetan culture and identity, and that they should also stop interfering in the succession of the Dalai Lama. It is another extremely important sign of support to the preservation of Tibetan culture and identity expressed by the Czech Republic and the Czech people,” said Wangpo Tethong, Executive Director of the International Campaign for Tibet Europe.
Katerina Bursik, member of Czechs Support Tibet, said: “The Tibetan issue is losing the attention of the world because it has been unresolved for a very long time and has been overlooked by other causes and events on the international scene. It is therefore important to examine what is happening in Tibet again and again and to draw attention to the human rights violations that are taking place. It is also necessary to be concerned about the future of Tibetans not only in Tibet but in exile throughout the world. I am glad that the Czech Republic, at various levels, from nonprofit organizations to Parliament to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, has not forgotten the Tibetans. The latest resolution of the Senate Committee on Human Labour and Education of the Parliament of the Czech Republic has highlighted two key problems today. These are boarding schools and the freedom to choose spiritual leaders, including the Dalai Lama. I believe that this activity in the Czech Senate may raise a wave in other countries at various political levels, and that we will send a clear signal to the Chinese representatives that the Tibetans are not forgotten and that violations of their rights will not be overlooked.”
In February this year, three independent United Nations experts warned that nearly 1 million Tibetan children have been separated from their families and sent to residential schools, where they are forced to learn in Mandarin Chinese in a curriculum built around Chinese culture. Previously, credible reports substantiated that up to 1 million Tibetan children are systematically alienated from their language and culture in the compulsory boarding schools.
The Czech resolution, which mentions the UN report, calls on the Chinese government to move away from the practice of forcibly placing Tibetan children in residential schools and forcibly assimilating them, and instead to allow Tibetan children to remain in their family environment, be educated in their native language and develop Tibetan culture and tradition.
A recent report by ICT confirms that Chinese authorities in Tibet are continuing their drive to indoctrinate Tibetan children at early ages and to enforce allegiance to the rule and the ideology of the Chinese Communist Party.
On the interference of Chinese authorities in the succession of Tibetan Buddhist leaders, Czech Senators say they are concerned that the traditional practice of selecting and recognizing the reincarnation of Tibetan clerics, including the Dalai Lama, has been disrupted and influenced by the intervention of the Chinese authorities and that this situation constitutes a serious obstacle to the freedom of religion and belief of the Tibetan people.
As another strong sign of support, in November 2022, during the Czech’s EU Presidency, the Senate organized a conference on Tibet in Prague that was presided over by the Vice-Presidents of the Czech Senate Ms. Jitka Seitlová and Mr. Jiří Oberfalzer, with the participation of Jiří Kozák, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Marek Havrda, Deputy Minister for European Affairs.