Tibetan Student Protests Spread in China

Tibetan Student Protests Spread in China

Tibetan activist groups say a protest by Tibetan students, prompted by concerns that Beijing plans to limit the use of the Tibetan language in schools, is spreading in parts of China.

The London-based group Free Tibet says the protests began with a march Tuesday by thousands of students in the town of Tongren in western Qinghai province. The demonstrations spread over following days to nearby towns.

On Friday, witnesses say hundreds of students protested at the Beijing campus of Minzu University, which specializes in teaching ethnic minority students.

Last month, a Communist Party newspaper quoted Qinghai province party chief, Qiang Wei, extolling the use of a common language in schools.

The party newspaper has also quoted officials saying the plan to make Chinese the "main teaching medium" was announced last month but may not be well understood by the students.

The officials said Chinese language instruction is popular in most ethnic areas because it helps students integrate into society.