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Tibet protests spread

world Updated: Oct 23, 2010 00:17 IST

AP
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Demonstrations have spread among Tibetan students angered by reports that Beijing plans to make Chinese the only language of instruction in schools, an activist group.

The protest marches, which began earlier this week in the town of Tongren, have spread to nearby areas in the western province of Qinghai, which is home to numerous minority ethnic groups, including Tibetans and Mongolians, who retain their own languages. The London-based group Free Tibet said hundreds, possibly thousands, of students joined the demonstrations.

Qiang Wei, the province’s Communist Party chief, was quoted last month by the party newspaper praising the use of a “common languag” in school. Students fear that means that the current bilingual system will be scrapped in favor of the use of Chinese alone, except in language classes.