Tibet : Student Protests Spread
Thousands of Tibetan students pressed ahead with protests for the second day running amid fears they will be forced to adopt a Chinese-language only school curriculum.About 8,000 students took part in the demonstrations on Oct.20 in Tsolho.The protests erupted a day earlier in Rebkong in the same province over the language concern as fears gripped Tibetans that their culture, language, and national identity in regions ruled by China will be further eroded.Monks had joined the march on the first day of the demonstrations as participants carried banners, written in both Tibetan and Chinese, reading “Equality Among Nationalities” and “Expand the Use of the Tibetan Language,” sources said.
The protests started Wednesday with about 2,000 students demonstrating in a teachers' college and two medical schools. More students joined in as the day progressed.
“This morning around 8 in the morning, about 2,000 students of Tsolho Teachers College, and two local medical schools assembled at the school ground. They observed silence and protested against the Chinese language policy in the area," a Tibetan wrote on an RFA blog.
"Later they filed in lines and marched towards the town center. They raised slogans demanding restoration of language ownership," according to the blogger.
About 4,000 students of the Tsolho Tibetan Language Middle School and Vocational school also marched in the protest against the planned change in language policy.
Then, more than 2,000 students of Tsekhog (in Chinese, Zeku) Tibetan Middle School joined the protest lines to back the demand for language rights.
A Tibetan from Chabcha said students in the area joined the demonstrations to vent their anger "against the new government document that stated that all the subjects like science, maths...will be taught in Mandarin."
The Tibetan language will be regarded as an optional language and by 2015, it will be treated as an "ordinary" language, the person said.
"There will be no credit if Tibetan language is selected as an optional language in higher institutions.”