The International Campaign for Tibet welcomes US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken’s announcement of visa restrictions on Chinese officials for their involvement in the forcible assimilation of over 1 million Tibetan children in government-run boarding schools.

ICT President Tencho Gyatso said:“China’s unconscionable separation of Tibetan children from their families cannot be left unchecked. It shows the depths of Beijing’s plan to eliminate the Tibetan way of life and turn Tibetans into loyal followers of the CCP.

“As the Dalai Lama often says, Tibetan culture, based on peace and compassion, has value to offer to the entire world. This boarding school program targets the most vulnerable and impressionable minds and is aimed at systematically alienating Tibetans from their own culture already at an early age, cementing the Chinese government’s control over Tibet and annihilating the Tibetan culture and way of life.

“We therefore welcome the visa restrictions issued by the United States. Other countries, as well as the European Union, should consider similar steps and also use multilateral fora, such as the United Nations, to hold the Chinese government accountable.”

Lhadon Tethong, director of Tibet Action Institute, whose research has detailed the extent of the boarding school system, said: “By announcing its intention to ban Chinese officials involved in the colonial boarding school system in Tibet, the US government is sending them a message that their crimes are known and they will now be treated as pariahs in the free world. We wholeheartedly welcome the bold leadership shown by Secretary Blinken and encourage other countries to take similar measures against all those responsible for this genocidal policy.”

Statements by other governments

The US is not the first country to raise concerns about China’s separation of Tibetan children from their families in state-run boarding schools.

Recently, Canadian parliamentarians called for sanctions against Chinese officials responsible for the boarding school system in Tibet.

Earlier this year, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights called for an end to the boarding schools in the concluding observations of its third periodic review of China.

The German government has also called on China to end its forced assimilation of Tibetan children, as has a Czech Senate Committee.

Boarding schools

In a statement Aug. 22, 2023, Blinken said, “The State Department is taking steps to impose visa restrictions under the authority of Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act on People’s Republic of China (PRC) officials for their involvement in the forcible assimilation of more than one million Tibetan children in government-run boarding schools.”

Such coercive policies, Blinken said, “seek to eliminate Tibet’s distinct linguistic, cultural, and religious traditions among younger generations of Tibetans.”

“We urge PRC authorities to end the coercion of Tibetan children into government-run boarding schools,” Blinken said, “and to cease repressive assimilation policies, both in Tibet and throughout other parts of the PRC. We will continue to work with our allies and partners to highlight these actions and promote accountability.”

China has illegally occupied Tibet for over 60 years, turning it into the least-free country on Earth alongside South Sudan and Syria.

Read Secretary Blinken’s statement.