Traditionally, Tibetans rarely washed, believing it bad for their health (at the high altitude’s icy temperatures, maybe with some justification).
It is also a matriarchal society, where women have been able to choose to bear children with several different lovers without reproach.
Yet an accelerating assimilation campaign waged by the ruling Chinese Communist Party is threatening to utterly erase Tibet’s unique way of life.
The latest salvo was revealed Monday, when three U.N. experts warned that roughly 1 million Tibetan children have been separated from their families and forcibly placed into Chinese state-run boarding schools, as part of efforts to absorb them “culturally, religiously and linguistically” into the dominant Han Chinese culture.
In August 2018, one activist who simply arranged Tibetan language classes was sentenced to five years in prison for “inciting separatism.”.
“In this context, initiatives to promote Tibetan language and culture are reportedly being suppressed, and individuals advocating for Tibetan language and education are persecuted.”.
But the residential schools campaign threatens to make today’s Tibetans the last generation on the plateau that could culturally claim the name. »