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10/27/2023 China (International Christian Concern) — Students in Tibet as young as preschool are being forced to leave their families and attend boarding schools instituted by the government. 

This is a result of many local school closures throughout the Tibet region and enforced punishments if parents do not send their children to school. The Chinese government conducted these closures over the past twelve years. 

Closures aren’t restricted to the Tibet region, but the practice seems to be much more widespread in Tibetan areas. Many Tibetan activists view this as the government’s attempt to assimilate Tibetans into the majority Chinese culture. This encapsulates all aspects of culture including language, history, and religion. 

China Communist Party (CCP) Leader XI Jinping has implemented many policies and actions to reshape societies and clamp down on religion to prevent unrest in areas with sizable ethnic populations. Jinping has pursued his goal of a unified China by imprisoning those who protest his methods to reshape religious practices and put the CCP before Christ. 

In July 2023, U.S. Representative Mike Gallagher testified on the instances of religious manipulation he saw. Jinping’s government has rewritten parts of the Gospel of John, changing the narrative to end with Jesus stoning an adulterous woman to death and replacing the Ten Commandments with, “Resolutely guard against the infiltration of Western ideology.” 

The international community has sought to address the boarding school issue. The United States implemented visa restrictions for those involved. German. Czech, and Canadian lawmakers publicly called for an end to the boarding schools, and the U.N. experts committee on economic, social, and cultural rights demanded that China “abolish immediately the coerced residential (boarding) school system imposed on Tibetan children and allow private Tibetan schools to be established.” 

China has rejected the criticism. A Foreign Ministry spokesperson said the government would respond to the U.S. visa action by placing visa restrictions of their own on Americans “who spread rumors to smear China or have long meddled in Tibet-related issues.” 

We pray for those who make tough decisions every day in the Tibet region of whether to send their children to school and face the wrath of the government or instill cultural practices and appreciation while they raise their child at home. We also pray for the government officials both in China and in the rest of the world. We pray that they will find a way to discuss the grievances they have with each other while also looking to understand each other.