EPISODE 04

RENAISSANCE SERIES | Amplifying Everything Banned in Tibet
Episode 04. ངའི་མ་སྐད་ནང་། ༔ སྐད་ཡིག་བརྒྱུད་རང་དབང་རྩོད་པ།
“In My Mother Tongue”: Freedom Through Language

Watch a compilation of Radio Free Asia footage of the student protests in Amdo, eastern Tibet in defense of the Tibetan language


View a slideshow of photos of the student protests in Tibet and China in defense of the Tibetan language.

Watch this scene from Leaving Fear Behind, showing a Tibetan nomad school in Amdo as it works to preserve Tibetan language and culture.


PROGRAM SCHEDULE
Download full program schedule

I. LANGUAGE IS A HUMAN RIGHT

II. TIBETAN AS A MAINSTREAM MODERN LANGUAGE

III. GRASSROOTS EFFORT TO RECLAIM TIBETAN LANGUAGE

IV. 5 WAYS TO TAKE ACTION IN SUPPORT FOR LANGUAGE RIGHTS

  1. Sign a Petition in Support Tibetan Students’ Right to Learn in Tibetan
  2. Read, print and distribute SFT’s Ten Ways to Promote the Tibetan Language
  3. Sign a Petition for the release of Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen
  4. Download and distribute SFT’s Freedom of Language petition
  5. Sign the petition for Tashi Dhondup, a detained Tibetan musician and help achieve the goal of 50,000 signatures.

When the Chinese government revealed plans to replace Tibetan When the Chinese government revealed plans to replace Tibetan with Chinese language as the medium of instruction in schools in Amdo, eastern Tibet, thousands of Tibetan students took to the streets of Rebkong, Chabcha, Mangra, Machen, Tsigorthang, Chentsa, Trika, and Themchen to defend their fundamental right to study in their mother tongue. Language has become a flashpoint of resistance against China’s marginalization of Tibetan culture and sparked a solidarity movement in exile as Tibetans and their supporters everywhere take action to promote Tibetan language on the global stage.

“IN MY MOTHER TONGUE”: Freedom Through Language will celebrate the richness, expressive power and enduring beauty of the Tibetan language, which forms the foundation of Tibet’s unique and vibrant culture. Join us for this evening of poetry, music, and celebration of the Tibetan language, with guest speakers including the Ven. Lobsang Monlam, creater of Monlam Unicode, Monlam Digital Dictionary, and the newly released Tibetan keyboard for iPhone 4.2.

While China escalates its attack on the Tibetan language, the global digital community has welcomed Tibetan as a mainstream modern language. This week Apple released 30 new languages on the iPhone, one of which is Tibetan; now one can type in Tibetan on the iPhone. More and more Tibetans are tweeting and writing Facebook status updates in Tibetan. These technological developments are beginning to reverse the marginalization of Tibetan as a language, making it contemporary and accessible to today’s generation of Tibetan speakers. Tibetans both in Tibet and in exile are reclaiming their language as an expression of their identity. The Tibetan language is no longer a passive object in need of protection but an active tool of resistance against China’s colonial occupation of Tibet.

Time-line of Student Protests:

October 19: Protests in Rebkong/Tongren- students from 6 different schools (First Tibetan Middle School/ Teachers’ Training School/ Yifu National Middle School are among the 6)
Demands/Slogans: “Equality of People, Freedom of Language”
Participation: More than 1000 people

October 20: Chabcha
Over 2000 students protested from 6-10am
Demands/Slogans:
1. Return the authority of the Tibetan language
2. Equality Among Nationalities
3. Expand the use of Tibetan language
Protests in Chenza; Khrigha; Drakar also

October 21: Golok/Goluo
Three schools, 3000 students (Teachers Training College, Town Middle School, County Middle School)
Demands/Slogans: “Equality of People, Freedom of Language”
Rebkong/Tongren. Gedun Choephel Middle School- around 700 students-

October 22:
Beijing, Minzu/Nationalities University. 400 students
Demands/Slogans: “Preserve Nationality Language and Expand National Education”
Participation: around 400 students

October 23:
Chabcha (Chinese: Gonghe Dzong) – 20 students of the Tibetan Middle School were arrested

October 24:
Several hundred students and teachers from high schools in Chentsa in Malho County (Chinese: Jianzha County, Huangnan, Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture) took to the streets in support of the continued use of Tibetan in local schools.

Thank You:

Ven. Lobsang Monlam
Tibet Action Institute
High Peaks Pure Earth
Khabdha
International Campaign for Tibet