Tibetan students' protests reach China
Protests over plans to elevate Chinese to the main language of instruction in Tibet spread Friday to Beijing,where students at a minority university staged a public demonstration.Between 200 and 300 students participated in the two-hour protest at midday,after which the president of the university and teachers called them into classrooms and asked them to write out their complaints in Chinese.Among Tibetans, the language of instruction in schools is a flashpoint for protest. While many families wish their children to learn Chinese in order to attend college and apply for better jobs, they also worry that Chinese officials are seeking to diminish their language, culture and religion.
"The Chinese are enforcing reforms which remind me of the Cultural Revolution. This reform is not only a threat to our mother tongue, but is in direct violation of the Chinese constitution which is meant to protect our rights," said a former middle school teacher from Tongren saying.
"The Chinese have been talking more and more about promoting the 'common language,' but now they are re-allying implementing these policies with textbooks and also broadcasting," said Tsering Shayka, a Tibetan historian based in Canada, who has been blogging about the protests.