In China, hundreds of students in the town of Tongren in the multi-ethnic Qinghai province took to the streets last week. They were peacefully protesting against a plan to impose Mandarin as the primary language of instruction.
On Monday, security around the town’s bi-lingual schools was tight. Journalists were turned away by armed security forces and were not permitted to interview students or teachers.
According to the Associated Press, Tibetan teachers who were contacted outside of school, were nervous and unwilling to discuss the recent protests or the language policy, possibly fearing retaliation.
A draft of a Chinese Communist Party ten-year education plan for Qinghai province states that Mandarin must become the only language of instruction in schools.
Tibetans and Mongolians in the province cling to their language as a way of preserving their endangered culture.