New language protests erupt in Sershul County, Tibet

 The protests were said to be not connected to the ones which were staged by thousands of Tibetan school children in Qinghai Province in October against the compulsory Chinese medium teaching being sought to be implemented there. On Nov 8, more than 700 monks and nuns, most of them from Sershul monastery of Sershul (Chinese: Shiqu) County in Karze (Chinese: Ganzi) Prefecture, tried to march to the county seat early in the morning of Nov 8. The marchers demanded “equality” and “freedom of language”. However, security forces stopped them at Zachukha town, reported Tibet Times online Nov 9.

The report said this protest followed an earlier one, on Nov 7, in which 50 monks and nuns took part, demanding that China respect the Tibetan people’s language.

The report said there was also a third protest in about the same area, in which around 300 monks and nuns from the two monasteries of Bum Nyingde (town?) and some lay people took part.

The report said those protests were sparked by an incident on Oct 26 in which Chinese officials, including the County leaders and an official from the local United Work Front Department, arrived at Sershul monastery and confiscated boxes containing fines collected from those who had spoken “Drak kay”, ie, those who had interspersed their Tibetan talks with Chinese words, terms and sentences.

The officials demanded that the practice be stopped. However, the monks insisted that this was a voluntary initiative with no one being subjected under it compulsorily.

The report said that since 2008, Tibetans in the area, being concerned with the preservation of their language in the face of Chinese encroachments in their day-to-day conversations, decided upon a rule to impose a fine of one Yuan on anyone who fails to speak pure Tibetan.

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