China refutes European Parliament's smears against boarding schools in Xizang

(Xinhua) 08:08, December 20, 2023

BEIJING, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said on Tuesday the European Parliament's attacks and smears against boarding schools in China's Xizang Autonomous Region are actually a kind of violation of the children's right to education, which is damage to the human rights conditions in the region.

Spokesperson Wang Wenbin made the remarks at a daily press briefing, in response to the query that the European Parliament adopted a resolution criticizing the Chinese government's forced assimilation of Tibetan children through boarding schools in Xizang, and called on the European Union and its member states to take actions.

"What's said in the relevant resolution of the European Parliament is disinformation," Wang said. "It smears China's image and interferes in China's internal affairs. We deplore and strongly oppose this."

Wang noted in Xizang, the rights and freedoms of all ethnic groups, including the freedom of religious belief and the freedom to use and develop their own spoken and written languages, are fully protected.

"The human rights conditions in Xizang are better than ever, as witnessed by the international community," he said.

He pointed out that in the case of Xizang, due to highly scattered population, children have to travel long distances to get to school, which is very inconvenient. If schools were to be built in every place the students live, it would be very difficult to ensure adequate teachers and quality of teaching in each school.

"That is why local governments set up boarding schools according to actual needs to ensure all children's equal right to education. It is entirely up to the students and their parents whether to go to boarding schools or not. Students can choose to go home on every weekend, holiday and festival, as well as during the winter and summer breaks," he said.

Parents can visit their children at school any time and take their children home whenever needed, Wang said, adding that relevant schools open courses of traditional culture, such as Tibetan language and literature and folk dance, and provide traditional food, and students are allowed to wear traditional dresses at school.

"We urge the European Parliament to stop spreading disinformation, stop using Xizang-related issues to interfere in China's internal affairs and stop all words and deeds that might undermine the mutual trust and cooperation between China and Europe," said the spokesperson.

"In recent years, in European countries, we have seen growing violation of the rights of refugees and migrants, growing xenophobia and racism, inadequate attention to economic, social and cultural rights as well as the right to development, and selective application and double standards when it comes to freedom of the press and forced labor," he said.

"If the European Parliament truly cares about human rights, it should address Europe's own issues first and pay attention to human rights violations in places like Gaza, rather than apply double standard and selective negligence, and instrumentalize and weaponize the human rights issue," he said. 

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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