Dharamsala, November 9 – More than 700 Tibetan monks and nuns, most of whom were from Sershul monastery, were stopped by security forces in Tibet’s Zachukha region in the wee hours of Monday as they tried to march towards Sershul County demanding "equality" and “freedom of language,” reported the Bod kyi Dusbab’s online edition.
Around 50 monks and nuns first started the protests on Sunday demanding that the Chinese government respect freedom of language of the Tibetans.
In another incident, around 300 monks and nuns from the two monasteries of Bum Nyingde and some lay people also held similar protests questioning the Chinese government’s attitude towards Tibetan language. They accused the government of undermining the Tibetan people’s language which they said was the foundation of Tibetan culture.
The protests were sparked off by an incident on October 26 this year when Chinese government officials including the County leaders and an official from the local United Work Front Department arrived at Sershul monastery and confiscated boxes containing money collected as fine for speaking “Drak kay”, a reference used to describe mix of spoken Tibetan and Chinese languages. The government officials told the monks that the system of levying fine on people over spoken language must be stopped. The monks told them that they had forced no one to comply with the fine system and that the people of the area had voluntarily agreed to be fined if they spoke “Drak kay”.
Since 2008, Tibetans in the area have been following a rule of sorts to levy penalty of one Yuan on anyone who does not speak pure Tibetan, the Bod kyi Dusbab cited a source in the region as saying.
There appears to be no apparent connection between the protests in Zachu and the student demonstrations in Qinghai and Gansu over use of Chinese language as the medium of instruction in schools.