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Tibet boarding schools are not 'assimilation'

2023-03-14 17:12:00China Daily

Reports about China's "assimilation" in boarding schools in the Tibet autonomous region are smears aimed at misleading the public, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said on Thursday, urging related media outlets to respect facts.

Mao made the remarks after some Western reports accused the Chinese government of "assimilating" people of the Tibetan ethnic group "culturally, religiously and linguistically" through boarding schools.

Students and their parents are free to choose whether to attend the boarding schools, where courses of traditional culture, such as Tibetan language and dance, are widely available, Mao said.

The schools also provide traditional plateau food to the students, who are allowed to wear traditional Tibetan clothes, the spokeswoman added.

As is the common practice across the world, boarding schools are run in all provinces and regions in China to meet local students' needs, Mao said. "The campus is not run as a closed institution, nor is there military-style management."

Students in boarding schools in Tibet can choose to go back home every weekend, holiday and festival, including traditional Tibetan festivals, such as the Tibetan New Year and the Sho Dun Festival, as well as for winter and summer breaks, Mao pointed out.

The boarding schools were set up to help children in Tibet, especially those from herding families, have access to education, Mao said.

In some high-altitude and scarcely populated areas, the children often need to travel long distances to get to school, while resources would be overstretched if a number of schools were set up to cover populations scattered far and wide, making boarding schools necessary, according to the spokeswoman.

The boarding schools, just like those in other regions in China, "attach great importance to the participation of the students' families", Mao said.

Parents are invited to take part in the management and planning of school life through parents' committees and open days, Mao said, adding that they can visit their children at school any time and take their children home whenever needed.

Reports claiming the schools are "assimilation" disregard facts, the spokeswoman said.

"The media outlets should report the true situation of these boarding schools, with respect for facts and in an objective and reasonable attitude, rather than resorting to hearsay or even spreading rumors," she said.

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