The theory of lexical necropolitics through which I explore this situation is based on Foucault’s view of racism as a technique of governance. After introducing Foucault’s work on racism below, I argue that the PRC, as a Han supremacist state, subordinates all minority languages, including Tibetan, to the state-mandated national language, producing annihilation anxieties and Sinophobic backlash. I then examine how certain languages are particularly impacted by this dynamic: abandoned by the state, and perceived as ‘mixed languages’ by Tibetans, these languages are targeted for elimination and their speakers subjected to everyday violence.

Lexical necropolitics: The raciolinguistics of language oppression on the Tibetan margins of Chineseness