A two-month ultimatum ran out last week for Tibetan Party and government workers who have allowed their children to study in schools run by the government in exile in India. In July, Communist Party authorities in the Tibet Autonomous Region issued measures stating that Tibetan children must confess if they have been to schools in India and whether they believed anything they had been taught there, according to the official Communist Party paper, Tibet Daily. Similar but less stringent measures were imposed n the mid-1990s.
The measures, issued by the Tibet Autonomous Region Party Committee Discipline Department,1 state that children who return from schools in exile and parents who fail to bring children back to Tibet could face unspecified ‘disciplinary action’.
Over the past decade, thousands of Tibetan children have made the dangerous journey across the Himalayas through Nepal into India in order to receive an education based on Tibetan cultural values in exile schools and monasteries. Education inside Tibet can be unavailable and unaffordable. The publication of the new measures, which appears to have been issued in mid-July, on various official Chinese web portals as well as in Tibet Daily, goes further than earlier statements by the Chinese authorities by saying that all of the Tibetan children studying in exile were “lured” abroad by the “Dalai Clique” “so that they can be infiltrated [back into Tibet] in a conspiracy aimed at undermining our future capacity.” The measures also state that children returning must confess not only to any participation in “splittist and terrorist activities” abroad, but also to what they thought and believed while in India, and that they may face punishment for the latter.
It is not known yet if any children have been withdrawn from India, nor is it known whether these punishments could apply to any children who have returned in the past few years.
The new ruling, which appeared in the Chinese language on two main Chinese websites www.sina.com and www.chinatibetnews.com — and later in Tibetan, is more stringent than earlier measures imposed in 1994 demanding that Tibetan Party members and government workers recall their children from India. This latter measure stated that if Tibetans did not follow the ruling they would be demoted or expelled from their jobs, and their children would lose their rights to residence permits if they did not return to Tibet within a specified time. According to the India-based Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy, some parents did recall their children, which meant that they were unable to complete their education.
According to Tibet Daily, the new regulations are an essential element of “the struggle against splittism”, and they are in line with the intensified focus on patriotic education among the lay as well as monastic population being implemented by the authorities as part of the crackdown since protests swept across the Tibetan plateau from March 10, continuing into August.
They warn that: “Those with children studying abroad in the said schools and monasteries should be advised to return them within two months, and those who do so within this period will face disciplinary action or not according to the severity of the case.”
A full translation of the measures from Tibetan into English follows below.
TAR Party Committee Discipline and Inspection Department issue “Regulations to decide the issue of children of Party members and state employees taken abroad for education in schools run by the Dalai Clique” (experimental implementation)
In recent years young people have been lured into going abroad by the offer of free education at schools which also provide lodging, food and clothing run by the Dalai Clique, so that they can be infiltrated (back into Tibet) in a conspiracy aimed at undermining our future capacity. In view of this, these regulations have been introduced in order to strengthen Party and governmental discipline, in line with the struggle against Splittism, and as a new angle on strengthening the system. The regulations stipulate that children of Party members and state employees may not be taken abroad to study in schools run by the Dalai Clique (or in monasteries run by them). This has been defined as a strict matter of political discipline, and Party members or state employees whose children go abroad for this purpose will be punished according to Party and government disciplinary regulations. These regulations having been generally disseminated, those who send their children abroad for this purpose will be expelled from all Party welfare organizations and from their status as Party or government workers. Before the regulations are fully disseminated, those who bring their children back must voluntarily report the matter to the organization (department), and according to the severity of their situation they will face disciplinary action to an appropriate degree. Those children must voluntarily and extensively confess to the organization (dept) whether they accepted the reactionary education they received abroad and participated in Splittist and terrorist activities, and according to the severity of their offences, they will face an appropriate degree of disciplinary action. Those with children studying abroad in the said schools and monasteries should be advised to return them within 2 months, and those who do so within this period will face disciplinary action or not according to the severity of the case. Those who hide (the fact that they have children studying abroad) and fail to resign, and those who fail to return them within the stipulated period will face expulsion from all Party welfare organizations and from their status as Party or government workers. The TAR Discipline committee and Inspection dept advises disciplinary and supervisory bodies at all levels in the region to strengthen oversight and supervision of the observance of these regulations by Party members, government employees, future employees and retired employees, and to deal strictly with any infractions.
1 Tibetan: ‘Bod rang skyong ljongs sgrigs ud dang lta zhib thing’