The CCP brings gifted students from Tibet to study in inland China, forcing them to give up their culture, language, and traditions in exchange.
by Yuan Wei
Chanba No. 1 Middle School in Xi’an, the capital of the northwestern province of Shaanxi, is part of the CCP’s so-called “assistance partnership to the Tibet Autonomous Region” program launched a few decades ago to involve the region’s neighboring provinces in “improving the economy and welfare” of Tibetans. Behind its altruistic façade, the campaign is widely used to assimilate and “sinicize” the region’s youth.
The school, built with 187 million RMB (about $ 27 million) of government funds, is Shaanxi Province’s “contribution” to the “assistance” project. Students from Tibet are selected every year to study at the Chanba No. 1 Middle School, and the state pays all fees and living expenses. But, like Uyghurs who are brought to study in inland China on government stipends, they pay the ultimate price for this “exclusive” treatment—they are cut off from Tibetan culture, tradition, and religion, and must submit to CCP’s indoctrination.
During the 7th Tibet Work Forum, organized by the Central Committee of the CCP on August 28-29 this year, President Xi Jinping emphasized that “We must attach importance to strengthening ideological and political education in schools, put the spirit of patriotism throughout the entire process of school education at all levels and types, sow the seeds of loving China in the depths of the hearts of every teenager.”
A source from Xi’an’s education department told Bitter Winter that the state views these Tibetan students as “reliable successors who will build Tibet and guard borders, shouldering the great mission of ethnic unity.” All Tibetan students who have graduated from the school go on to study at universities and are later assigned positions in government institutions in Tibet. He added that the program for Tibetan youth to get an education in inland China is one of the government’s strategies to “sinicize” Tibet.
According to the source, teachers in Chanba No. 1 Middle School regularly organize Tibetan children to watch patriotic films. Students live on the school premises and are only allowed to return home once during the three years of education. They are also assigned local Han families with “strong political views and correct ethnic minority outlook” who are instructed to “pay attention to students’ spiritual growth” and educate them with “correct” values and outlooks that conform to the CCP’s ideology.
The families are prohibited from discussing with assigned students Tibetan Buddhism and “other sensitive topics.” Any mention of Tibetan Buddhism is completely banned in the school as well.
A student from a college for ethnic minorities in the northwestern province of Qinghai told Bitter Winter that all things religious are also banned in his school. If students are discovered in possession of a Dalai Lama image on computers, they are subjected to academic probation and other punishments for “being anti-Communist” or “having ideological problems.” Their studies, graduation, and future employment may be affected by this. “No one dares to touch the topics of religion,” the student said.
According to Sang Jiejia, an exile Tibetan writer, the “Tibet schools” across inland China have helped to “transplant the brains” of the new generation of Tibetans, corrupting these young students into accepting Chinese social values and culture and diluting their ethnic identity, isolating them from their mother tongue and traditional culture.