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Borymir's avatar

Elementary school

By Borymir
Tibetan school, Qinghai, China

OK, thanks for your comments and let me add some more explanation. This is actually a school in the poorest region of Western China inhabited mostly by Tibetans and Mongolians (Qinghai used to be a part of historic Tibet, but the Chinese decided that it should be excluded from their province bearing this name today).
The school is quite poor and only basically equipped (with some help of Japanese government).
I was a member of an international group visiting this area, so the Chinese hosts tried their best to show openess and tolerance, but obviously it's just the official propaganda. Both Tibetans and Mongolians have quite limited rights under Chinese rule. These children learn in their own language, but as they grow up they will undergo a brain wash, with barely hidden aim of making obedient Chinese citizens out of them.
Now they are just 7 or 8 yrs old and they learn hard. Their families - mostly simple paesants or rather herdsmen - believe that only literacy and education will help them to get out of poverty. And it's a matter of fact, beyond any political intention of state bureaucracy.
My picture just shows this sincere faith and diligence, rarely seen in Western societies nowadays. That's it.

Image details
Image size
900x621px 349.17 KB
Shutter Speed
1/20 second
Focal Length
70 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Jun 15, 2008, 9:51:14 AM
© 2012 - 2021 Borymir
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so much homework
you will get up at 5:50
if you study in chinese school
AnaBelenRuiz's avatar
and more if you have to travel to school
WaterStreetNorth's avatar
I am new to TheCorrespondent and unfortunately do not travel much. Your image here and those by others are real eye openers. Thank you for sharing.
misaki246's avatar
This only goes to show that we should thank God daily for our blessings.
JACAC's avatar
g r e a t . p h o t o
c o n g r a t u l a t i o n s . f o r . t h e . DD
i . h a v e . s e v e n . b u t . i s . a l w a y s . l i k e . t h e . f i r s t . t i m e
Karinta's avatar
Mmmmm. Interesting piece of photojournalism. Amazing how a story can add such depth to a photo, not that the photo itself is bad.
blanket86's avatar
This is so amazing! Very interesting work!
Angie-Pictures's avatar
Awesome picture! Congratulations on the DD! :iconflowerheartplz:
CasGabb's avatar
Omg! His looks making me dizzy! :D They are so cool.
Asian people always cool for me with their original cultures. But in this photo they have a different style with different atmosphere... I liked it!
vajrasana's avatar
Would it be rude to inquire about the hats?
MizuPics's avatar
Lovely photo and all.

What the heck are they wearing? O.o?

With those hats and colors they look more like kids from Chilean tribes than Tibet. Especially the one with the red hat on the left of the pic. S/he looks very Chilean.
mayafly's avatar
i don't find them heart goes out for them..
moonmystery's avatar
This is not just Tibetans and Mongolians. Many areas in China are poor and have classrooms like such. I myself used to learn in one of these classrooms; so, when I saw your picture I was stricken with nostalgia. I lived in Zhengzhou, He Nan and it was actually a relatively well-off area. However, the classroom I was in was still filled with these types of desks. Except, the school I had gone to had green desks with black surface. ---still very badly conditioned though. I still remember wearing the red ribbon around my neck everyday..... In a way, I can see why others would pity such living conditions...but I also enjoyed it, it was a type of joy that "city" kids never have the chance to experience. Thank you for this photo.
Lmomjian's avatar
Very nice photo, definitely captures the story (which I believe to be accurate).
dustybeijing's avatar
Nice photo, but I sense a great anti-Chinese sentiment in your comments. Granted, I have never been to Qinghai, but I'd question whether your perceived oppression and brainwashing of the local non-Han population by the government is actual or influenced by preconceived Western notions of Chinese rule and Tibetan "independence".

If you want to talk about what is/should be part of China/Tibet and what isn't/shouldn't based on historical boundaries and claims of power, all or parts of India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Myanmar, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan used to be part of the Tibetan Empire. Since the fall of the Tibetan Empire, Buddhism came to be the ruling force in and around the Tibetan Plateau, and China has ruled modern Tibet (albeit on-and-off) for hundreds of years (see [link], [link], [link], where Tibet from 1294 onwards is clearly marked as part of China). Aside from that, Qinghai itself hasn't been considered a part of Tibet since long before the modern Chinese nation re-took control over modern Tibet.

If one is Buddhist, just as if one is Christian, and one is allowed the freedom believe and follow Buddhist ideals (I understand that many Han Chinese in Qinghai are also very influenced by Tibetan Buddhism), what difference does their official ruler make to them anyway? Under the exiled Tibetan leader, would they really be in any less poverty? They weren't doing so well in 1959.

I live in Beijing, and the brainwashing that you speak of is unfamiliar to me. I know many people who, though the government is totalitarian and can be oppressive, speak freely every day their opinions on democracy and Mao and human rights etc. You talk about "Tibetans and Mongolians" having limited rights under Chinese rule. How exactly are their rights limited? Give some examples. One of my good friends is ethnically Mongolian and is doing very well for himself. I've met people of Hui, Uighur, and Mongol backgrounds who are at university in Beijing and others who own businesses here.

I'm not trying to claim that these children are not poor, or that they are any less beautiful and diligent than people are making them out to be. My point is that there are poor people all over China, and you make it sound like there is an evil conspiracy amongst Han Chinese to oppress and enslave all non-Han ethnicities. Really, though? I'll go see for myself one day.
homestuckWizard's avatar
jesterfreek's avatar
if you look very closley you can see that one of the kids is wearing a hat.
Indigo-Serenade's avatar
... It's the kid at the back of the class near the top left, isn't it?
kjcasianboy's avatar sooooo much!!!!....emotions feelling...cant decribe it..feel so soo sad for these children!!!!...WE WILL SHINETHE WORLD ONE DAY!!! INCLUDE THEM..!!!
ElwenAldalinde's avatar
Very thought-provoking, especially from an educator's point of view.
souyos's avatar
This is quite interesting.
It must be hard on the children.
Amazing photography, great job!
drfarrin's avatar
If I could do it without being shot at by the Chinese, I'd go there and help rebuild/refurbish their building and equipment. I'm somewhat handy with a power tool and I'd love to just go in and build.
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