Mastery of the Tibetan language will become a requirement for non-native cadres in China's Tibet Autonomous Region.
All seven prefecture-level cities in Tibet have started organizing Tibetan language training for non-native cadres, according to the regional bureau of compilation and translation on Monday.
Qoizha, deputy director of the bureau, said they have handed out 40,000 books on basic Tibetan language for daily conversation.
President Xi Jinping
stressed at a conference on ethnic work in September 2014 that in ethnic regions, ethnic minority cadres should learn Mandarin, and Han cadres should also learn ethnic languages. The language skill should become a "requirement" for cadres.
"One cannot serve the local people well if one cannot speak the local language," Xi said.
Tibet has adopted a bilingual policy since the regional legislature passed a law in 1987 stipulating both Tibetan language and Mandarin as official languages in the region.
Qoizha said over 90 percent of Tibet's population of 3 million is of Tibetan ethnicity. Breaking the language hurdle can help non-native cadres better interact with local communities.
In the past 20 years, close to 6,000 cadres and technical professionals from various Chinese provinces and municipalities have been sent to help develop the southwestern autonomous region of Tibet. Cadres usually stay in the region for three years.
According to Wang Fengchao, deputy head of the Organization Department of the Tibet autonomous regional committee of the Communist Party of China, seven cadre cohorts from 18 provincial regions have been sent to 74 counties and cities in the southwest region since 1994, when the cadre aid program was launched. They have worked in fields such as the economy, technology, education, and medical science.
Zhao Lei, a cadre working in Zantang Township of Shannan Prefecture, said simple conversation in the local tongue can bring a feeling of intimacy between people.
He said he hopes to learn more Tibetan so he won't have to depend on his Tibetan colleagues for interpretation wherever he goes.
Cering Banjor, Party chief of the No. 4 Chadang Village in Nagqu Prefecture, said the village committee has helped Han cadres find language partners for the required language training. Most of them have been able to use Tibetan for simple conversations.
Qoizha said in addition to Tibetan-language reading materials, the regional government plans to produce bilingual language-learning TV programs to help civil servants learn the language.