He made us kneel on broken glass… #Tibet

”The Chinese teacher asked if we had done our homework. We said we turned it in already. He said we were lying. He made us kneel on broken glass. He made us pull up our pants. I kneeled for a whole period, about one hour. My knees bled I still have a scar. . . . Then [he] broke some glass and kicked it into my shin. Some of the glass stuck in my leg, and I bled. . . .” -Nine years old

Teachers employ corporal punishment routinely in primary schools in Tibet.  And for the Tibetan children, corporal punishment in educational institutions appears to be the rule. Although the corporal punishment they receive is more a torture and often politically motivated.

Some of the punishment the Tibetan children who have the possibility to attend school are: Teachers beat children with sticks, bamboo staffs, whips, wires, brooms and belts, shocked some with cattle prods, made others kneel for several hours on glass, sharp stones or rectangular iron bars, forced one child to hold ice in his hands for an hour and locked another child in a dark room for four weeks. Tibetan children also described being publicly humiliated, slurred and subjected to other acts of degrading treatment by their teachers and administrative staff. These acts were thus committed ‘by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official.’ Many interviewees also said that, as Tibetans, they suffered more severe punishments than their Chinese peers. Most ‘corporal punishment’ described by Tibetan children therefore constitutes torture, precisely as this term is defined in international law.

Teachers reportedly struck children with a wide assortment of implements, often causing bleeding and in several cases gashes that required stitches. When Tibetan students did not study Chinese well, one thirteen-year-old girl from Lhasa told Lawyers for Tibet, the teacher forced them to lie on a table and then struck them with a broom. Another boy, ten years old at the time, reported that at his primary school in Lhasa, the teacher kicked and beat him with a metal wire for lateness and ‘small errors.’ Whippings were also common, another boy (under the age of ten at the time of his schooling) from Lhasa recalled: ‘If you talked just a little bit, the Chinese language teacher would beat you [with a piece of thin bamboo].’

Another form of corporal punishment that many children described was being forced to kneel in various painful positions; for example, on glass or sharp rocks. One boy, under the age of ten at the time, described being forced to kneel for two to three hours on a rectangular iron bar with a sharp point in the middle. For a minor misbehaviour  he knelt on the flat surface; for a more serious infraction, the teacher forced him to kneel on the sharp point. Kneeling for prolonged periods appears to be a fairly common form of punishment for lateness.

Source: Tibet Justice center


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