By Tendar Tsering
Students of Gangjong Sherig Shedhe Woekar Ling in Lhu Chu region of Amdo, eastern Tibet .
DHARAMAHALA, May 14: Chinese authorities in Lhu Chu region of Amdo, eastern Tibet have forcibly closed down a Tibetan orphanage and arrested two of its teachers.
Exile sources have said that the school’s strict adherence to teaching Tibetan language and culture was the reason behind China’s unwarranted actions.
“China closed down the ‘Gangjong Sherig Shedhe Woekar Ling’ orphanage school earlier this month and arrested two of its teachers,” Lobsang Sangyal, a monk in exile with contacts in the region told Phayul.
“The school was sealed off on charges of giving priority to Tibetan language and culture instead of Chinese propaganda and Chinese language,” Sangyal added.
The orphanage has over 50 students, all orphans and semi-orphans from the nearby regions.
Last year, the principal of the school, Atsun Tsundue Gyatso was arrested by Chinese authorities. His arrest came after he authored a book on Tibet’s history and the current situation.
Tsundue’s whereabouts and wellbeing have since remained unknown.
Following the defiant expression of Tibetan identity with the wave of self-immolations and mass protests in Tibet, monasteries, schools, and educational institutions managed and run by Tibetans have been frequently targeted by Chinese authorities.
Last month, Chinese authorities in Karzde region of eastern Tibet shutdown a two-decade old Tibetan school ‘Khadrok Jamtse Rokten School’ and arrested two of its senior most teachers.
After the closure of the school, authorities issued strict warnings against attempts to reopen the school and instructed parents to send their children to the government schools in the township.
This year in March, around 700 Tibetan school students in Rebkong carried out a large protest calling for language rights after government authorities issued textbooks in Chinese language.
In October 2010, thousands of school students in the same region had marched on the streets, protesting a Chinese government decision to replace Tibetan with Chinese language as the medium of instruction in Tibetan schools.