By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Aug 7: Young school children aged 8 to 16 have reportedly been sent to new military education camps established earlier this year in Nyingtri city, which shares the border with Arunachal Pradesh in India. Such military styled facilities for training Tibetan youth during holidays, is constructed in an already sensitive militarized region.
Various sources confirmed that these centers are crucial steps in providing so called national defense education for Tibet’s youth to inculcate love for China, inculcating patriotism in the spirit of defending national borders. The Chinese state media reported that the sole purpose of the centre was to “increase the spirit of patriotism and defending the nation, increase physical strength, inculcate mental strength and stamina, and also to increase the spirit of unity among the children.”
The students were taught discipline through military drills and physical activities at the Young Tibetan Snow Hawk Military Summer Camp and Tibet Rong He Military training centre on the banks of Lake Draksum Tso. Hundreds of students completed training during their summer holidays in schools, which generally run from June to July every year.
The report on Tibet Ring He said that the core purpose of the establishment was to “[provide] education that will nurture disciplined and obedient children with strong physical strength since they are the hope and future of the nation. Their education is closely connected with the nation and will determine the fate of the nation.” It also stated that the programs are under the guidance of eighteen staff members. The Director of the Competitive Sports division of the TAR Sports Bureau, Yao Chi said that the camps hoped to achieve good behaviors, enhance self-confidence and sharpen their tenacious will in the face of challenges.
These camps are similar to vocational skills training institutes and enterprises in Nyingtri focused on Tibetan farmers, nomads and former political prisoners. The land reallocation policies have led to severe changes in the community from agricultural roots to a more capitalistic lifestyle. Free Tibet report argues that since the 2008 Tibetan Uprising, the CCP has been heavily invested in using “artificial intelligence technology to boost surveillance and revamped its assimilatory ethnic policies to break connections, lineages, lifestyle and loyalties.”