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Indian education turns fatal for Tibetan children

September 24, 2008

IANS  | Tuesday, 23 September , 2008

Kathmandu: Thousands of Tibetan children and their families face stiff
punishment at the hands of the Chinese government for enrolling into
schools in India that are run by the Tibetan government in exile, headed
by their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, a rights body said.

The Washington-headquartered International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) has
expressed its misgivings as the ultimatum issued by the Communist Party
of China authorities to the Tibetan Party and government workers expired
last week.

In July, Communist Party authorities in the Tibet Autonomous Region had
issued a directive stating that Tibetan children must confess if they
have been to schools in India and whether they believed anything they
had been taught there, the ICT said in a statement issued late Monday.

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Similar though less stringent measures were imposed in the mid-1990s.
The measures, issued by the Tibet Autonomous Region Party Committee
Discipline Department, state that children who return from schools in
exile and parents who fail to bring children back to Tibet could face
unspecified "disciplinary action".

Every year, hundreds of young children are smuggled out of Tibet to
Dharamsala town in north India, the home of the Dalai Lama, to receive
the religious education that they are denied by communist China in their
own homeland.

To manage the escape, young children trek across high and often
dangerous Snowy Mountain passes to reach Nepal, facing the danger of
being arrested or even shot on the way.

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The Chinese warning comes even as Beijing stepped up its campaign in
Nepal alleging that the Dalai Lama's supporters were luring away young
children of Tibetan origin from Nepal with false promises to
indoctrinate them and press them into his services, an allegation that
was rejected by the Tibetan government in exile.

The new government of Nepal headed by the Maoists has also begun
reiterating its support for the One China policy, which regards Tibet as
an inalienable part of the Chinese republic.

Nepal, that had in the past-allowed thousands of Tibetan refugees to
take up residence in the country, this month began cracking down on them.

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The new government of Nepal has pledged to hand over all Tibetan
refugees who do not possess valid travel documents or the identity cards
issued by Nepal to the UN's refugee care agency and make them leave Nepal.

New Nepali Home Minister Bandev Gautam on Monday reasserted that Nepal
would not allow its soil to be used for activities against its friendly
neighbour China.

The crackdown comes after Tibetans began staging protests against the
Chinese government since March and kept the demonstrations up,
embarrassing Beijing especially on the eve of the Olympic games.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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