They invade your country, through a military occupation enforce a tyranny which targets your culture, while administering a policy of mass-population transfer. Clearly your cultural identity is under threat. But hey no worries because the very same regime which has engineered such an assault, and forced your language onto the brink, announces it’s releasing a cell phone app to encourage and maintain your mother tongue. Time to party? A sign that your oppressor really does respect the traditions and language of your people? Or yet another calculated sleight-of-hand, disinformation to deceive and deflect international criticism and concern?
The Chinese propaganda mouthpiece, the Global Times, reports today that so-called ‘Tibet regional government (sic)’ is to release a mobile app which it claims will support and encourage the learning of Tibetan. Which is rather like a drunk driver responsible for serious freeway casualties declaring that he has a bandaid!
Tibet’s language has long been a target of the Chinese regime, which has been implementing policies to erode and dilute Tibetan cultural and national identity. Apart from enforcing the teaching of Chinese upon Tibetan children it is also debasing the Tibetan language by manipulating and corroding the Tibetan vocabulary by introducing and promoting with words and expressions derived from Mandarin.
Would you like to know what postive action the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is taking to support and protect the Tibetan language? We would too, especially as today is International Mother Language Day, which aims to highlight the importance of peoples linguistic and cultural diversity. The threat to languages it ranks as: vulnerable, definitely endangered, severely endangered and critically endangered.
We ran an online search ‘UNESCO concerned about Tibetan language’ and could find no reference, variants were used and still no results showed. It appears the global champion of linguistic diversity doesn’t regard Tibetan as under any danger. Yet the evidence coming from occupied Tibet has documented the increasing marginalization of Tibetan, threatened by mass-colonization of Chinese speakers. While Tibetans who seek to protect their language are jailed and the informal teaching of Tibetan by monasteries was banned December 25 2018
None of these facts seem to concern UNESCO or Mr Chris Mosely, editor of its report: Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger 2010 in which Tibetan does not appear as an endangered language The online interactive version of that supposedly authoratitive report is not running, and for some reason it’s been difficult to locate a downloadable PDF version.
We wonder also what Norway’s Ministry Of Foreign Affairs, which partnered the UNESCO report, would think about the indifference towards the considerable threats to Tibet’s language? The Norwegian capital of course proudly hosted the Dalai Lama to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in which he highlighted to Norway’s political establishment, the assault upon Tibetan culture arising from China’s occupation of Tibet.
The ongoing offensive against the Tibetan language is born from a political ideology which ultimately seeks to eradicate Tibetan cultural identity. From its founding communist China embraced the Marxist theory which held ethnic culture and nationalism as a temporal anomaly which would finally be replaced by a unified proletarian culture. Within the context of its occupation of Tibet the Chinese regime applied such dogma with a particular ferocity, that process is intensifying, with the nationalistic addition of regarding China as being the center of civilization.
To realize these ambitions China’s authorities are seeking to eradicate the Tibetan language and in so doing remove any sense of a distinct Tibetan identity. Yet UNESCO instead of raising concerns to the Chinese government lauds China’s dictator, Xi Jinping and appoints his wife as a Special Envoy. It’s been said elsewhere that such international programs can be used by states in a cynical way to further policies of cultural domination and eradication. A warning which is being wilfully ignored by Director-General, Audrey Azoulay and her colleagues!
There’s no more appropriate way to describe the assault against Tibetans in occupied Tibet as cultural genocide. It is a calculated and systematic program to assimilate Tibetans and their traditions, the objective for the Chinese regime is to eradicate any sense of Tibetan national or cultural identity.
This is implemented through mass colonization of Han Chinese into Tibet, forcing Tibetans nomads into concentration settlements, where they become utterly dependent upon the meagre handouts of the Chinese authorities. The urban landscape has also been Sinocized with towns across Tibet virtually indistinguishable from those in China. While in Tibetan homes families are fed a 24/7 stream of Chinese language TV.
For China’s tyrannical authorities such measures are not enough, in addition they target Tibetan children and have been replacing the teaching of Tibet’s language with Mandarin. In truth there are no schools in Tibet, in their place are indoctrination centers, designed to program students to identify as Chinese.
Tibetan dissident Mr Tashi Wangchuk witnessed this cancerous erosion and three years ago decided to take action in support of the Tibetan language. Having traveled to Beijing in order to formally lodge his concerns he was arrested and disappeared into a Chinese prison. Being a Tibetan, defending Tibet’s culture and spoken-tongue is now a crime!