Last month – while we were in India training 50 young Tibetan and Indian students in the art and strategy of non-violent resistance – we heard the electrifying news of protests by Tibetan students in Rebkong, eastern Tibet.
The students were protesting the Chinese government’s decision to replace Tibetan with Chinese as the language of instruction in Tibetan schools by 2015.
In the following days, the protests spread as more than 8,000 students – some as young as 13 – took to the streets to defend their fundamental right to study in their mother tongue. Watch a compilation of Radio Free Asia’s footage of the protests.
Language forms the foundation of Tibet's unique and vibrant culture; to deny Tibetans their language is an attack on their fundamental human rights. Overnight, language became a flashpoint of cultural resistance inside Tibet, and has sparked a solidarity movement worldwide.
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SFT's Tendor and Ven. Lobsang Monlam
The event was part of SFT’s Renaissance Series, launched this summer to promote the writings, poetry, music, and other works of art and literature banned in Chinese-occupied Tibet.
In spite of China’s escalated repression following the widespread protests in 2008, there is a cultural renaissance underway in Tibet. Writers, musicians, and intellectuals are boldly asserting their views as a form of resistance to China’s colonial occupation. Tibetans in Tibet and in exile are reclaiming their language as part of this renaissance.
Through grassroots action and digital innovation, we can help ensure the Tibetan language flourishes, withstanding attacks from the Chinese government.
Please donate today and support SFT's work to promote Tibetan language rights in Tibet. Every contribution makes a difference.
Your generosity will allow us to carry out our hard hitting campaigns for the Tibetan people's language, culture, human rights, and ultimately, their freedom.