Translation and Interpreting in 150+ Languages
On ne passe pas chinois!
November 1, 2010 - By: - In: In the News / Awards - 5 comments

In my last post, I described the struggle of the Quebecois to preserve French in a continental sea of English at all costs―as noble and absurd a cause as the struggle against the Huns before Verdun in the Great War. Certainly the most tedious of all my most tedious posts, describing the struggles of courts and legislators, judges and lawyers in Canada, that most civil of societies, eh?

So in this post I ask you to examine the alternative of the ridiculous antics of a free people, and look instead at the darker antics of tyrants with ballet box immunity.

Radio Free Asia (RFA) first reported that over 7,000 Tibetan students protested in Rebkong  [Chinese: Tenzin], based on an account from Rebkong Tenzin, a Tibetan living in India and citing sources in Tibet.

“‘The students came from six different schools in the area,’ he said. . . . The protesters carried banners, written in both Tibetan and Chinese, reading ‘Equality Among Nationalities’ and ‘Expand the Use of the Tibetan Language,’ sources said.

Monks from nearby Rebkong Rongpo monastery joined in the protest after it began, though the students at first asked them not to take part, said a monk in Rebkong.

‘They feared that the monks’ involvement could provoke the Chinese authorities to send armed Public Security Bureau officers to crack down on the protesters,’ the monk said.”

A Tibetan blogger reported that local Communist Party officials and the head of the county’s education department drove out to meet the chanting, placard-waving students, and urged calm.

“They assured [them] that their grievances would be addressed by senior authorities,” the blogger wrote.

But other sources told the agency that the local Communist Party Secretary had already issued orders that Tibetan was no longer to be used in textbooks―and was to be replaced by Chinese.

RFA quoted a source saying, “They never opened the issue for discussion.”

The London-based group Free Tibet said one frustrated local teacher told them, “The Chinese are enforcing reforms which remind me of the Cultural Revolution,” an era when Red Guards destroyed many of Tibet’s famous Buddhist monasteries, which were considered centres of learning.

“The use of Tibetan is being systematically wiped out as part of China’s strategy to cement its occupation of Tibet,” the group claimed.

Last year a bold report on Chinese-Tibetan tensions by a respected group of Han Chinese legal scholars, emphasized the importance of language to Tibet’s culture―saying guarding it could help heal divisions between Tibetan people and the government in Beijing.

“A people’s language becomes an emblem of that people’s culture,” the scholars stressed. “Language and future development prospects for a people are inextricably bound.”


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