The buildings, monuments and museums of Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, which the Chinese authorities have renamed "patriotic education sites". Photo: file

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Dharamshala — The Chinese authorities have renamed buildings, monuments and museums in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, as "patriotic education sites" in order to intensify the "patriotic re-education" of Tibetans, especially young people, and to eliminate Tibetan history, culture, religion, language and identity.

According to Tibetan sources, the Chinese authorities in Lhasa have recently renamed buildings, monuments and museums as "patriotic education sites" in order to educate Tibetans about the so-called "history of China's liberation of Tibet" and the "developments" carried out by the Chinese government in the Tibetan areas, to educate them about the thoughts of Chinese President Xi Jinping and to denounce the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet.

The Chinese "patriotic education campaign" is a political campaign that was launched in China in 1991, but was not widely implemented until 1994. The Chinese authorities published hundreds of patriotic education books and distributed them to primary and secondary schools throughout the country. Patriotic education has emphasized Chinese history and traditional culture for Chinese youth and other minority groups.

In addition to Chinese history and traditional culture, the Chinese authorities also added other information and requirements in patriotic education, for Tibetan political prisoners, monks, nuns and ordinary people as in Tibet: such as "opposition to separatism; recognition of the Chinese-appointed Panchen Lama as the true Panchen Lama; agreement that the Dalai Lama is destroying the unity of the motherland; refusal to recognize that Tibet has been or should be independent.

Since the annexation of Tibet by China in 1959, Tibetans have been protesting against China. Large-scale protests against China took place in 1959, 1989 and 2008. As a result, the Chinese government tries to diminish the strong feelings of Tibetans for Tibet and the exiled leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and imposes political and patriotic education on Tibetans in prisons, monasteries, nunneries and communities, but has recently intensified patriotic education.

According to our sources, more recently, the Chinese government has been showing how the Chinese armies were "liberating Tibetans," how the Chinese government was "good for Tibetans," how the Chinese government was "developing Tibet," etc., on television, on social media, as well as in public places through plays and speeches, in order to brainwash the Tibetans, especially the youth.

The Chinese Communist Party has drafted "Readings on Harmonious and Stable Patriotic Education in Tibetan Areas" since 2015, in order to re-educate Tibetans after the outbreak of protests in the eastern Tibetan areas since 2008.

China-Tibet: The one-thing you need to know

Over the past 70 decades, there has been ongoing political repression, social discrimination, economic marginalization, environmental destruction, and cultural assimilation, particularly due to Chinese migration to Tibet which is fueling intense resentment among the people of occupied Tibet.

The communist-totalitarian state of China began its invasion of Tibet in 1949, reaching complete occupation of the country in 1959. Since that time, more than 1.2 million people, 20% of the nation's population of six million, have died as a direct result of China's invasion and occupation. In addition, over 99% of Tibet's six thousand religious monasteries, temples, and shrines, have been looted or decimated resulting in the destruction of hundreds of thousands of sacred Buddhist scriptures.

Until 1949, Tibet was an independent Buddhist nation in the Himalayas which had little contact with the rest of the world. It existed as a rich cultural storehouse of the Mahayana and Vajrayana teachings of Buddhism. Religion was a unifying theme among the Tibetans -- as was their own language, literature, art, and world view developed by living at high altitudes, under harsh conditions, in a balance with their environment.