Dr. Gyal Lo is a Tibetan activist, educational sociologist, and a leading expert on China’s assimilation and education policies in Tibet.
Born in Tibet, Dr. Lo obtained his master’s degree from the Tibetan Language and Culture Department at Northwestern University for Nationalities in Lanzhou, China. He subsequently became an Assistant Professor in the same department, where he taught for the next decade and undertook extensive research on Tibetan education. After leaving the country to obtain his PhD at the University of Toronto, Canada, Dr. Lo returned home in 2015 but was refused his past employment due to political sensitives over his time abroad.
Dr. Lo’s return to Tibet also brought concerning news of his two grandnieces and their enrolment at a mandatory pre-boarding school. Newly developed at the time, these schools were designed to assimilate and indoctrinate Tibetan children aged 4-6. They exist in addition to boarding schools for Tibetan children aged 6-18.
After witnessing the impacts of pre-boarding school on his grand-nieces, Dr. Lo undertook academic field work for the next five years, visiting over 50 boarding schools and documenting their impacts on the children and their communities at large.
Alongside his academic research, Dr. Lo attained a professorship at Yunnan University in 2017. However, three years into his contract, his position was terminated amidst a worsening political climate in China. Dismissed on the grounds that he was a “foreign Tibetan with a western background,” Dr. Lo would leave the country soon after in December 2020.
Upon resettling in Canada, Dr. Lo decided to speak out and become an activist for the preservation of Tibetan language, culture, and rights. In February 2023, he testified at Canada’s House of Commons’ Subcommittee on International Human Rights with his extensive knowledge of China’s colonial boarding schools in Tibet.