Tibetan Students Offered Military Training For a Break on School Fees

Reported by Lobsang Gelek for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Tenzin Dickyi. Written in English by Richard Finney. August 11, 2021.

Observers call the move a part of Beijing’s drive to secure China’s long border with India following clashes in 2020.

Tibetan students ages 18-21 are being offered reimbursement of their school fees in exchange for enrolling in a two-year course of military training, as tensions continue to rise along the region’s border with India, Tibetan sources say.

Students in high schools and colleges enrolled in the program may continue their studies after their training has ended, according to a recent Chinese government notice sent to students’ phones by text. Students already receiving state aid for their schooling are required to enroll, however.

The deadline for enrollment in the program is August 15, the official notice states.

“Military training has been a part of our schools’ curriculum in the past, but this is the first time that an official government notice has been sent out to all the schools promoting enrollment in programs of military training,” a high school student in Tibet told RFA in a written message.

Tsewang Dorjee—a researcher at the Dharamsala, India-based Tibet Policy Institute—said China’s losses last year in clashes with India and concern for security along its long shared border are driving the new push in military training for Tibetans.

Read the full report here.