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Published on Jan 19, 2018
The interpreter's English translation provided during this interview is potentially incomplete and/or inaccurate. If you are not fluent in Tibetan, please refer to the interview transcript for the complete and correct English translation. Read the interview transcript in English at http://tibetoralhistory.org/Interview...
** This interview about life in Tibet was conducted by the Tibet Oral History Project. This non-profit organization aims to preserve the history and culture of the Tibetan people by interviewing elderly Tibetan refugees about life in Tibet before and after the Chinese invasion. Learn more at http://www.TibetOralHistory.org.
** Interview Summary: Gyurme Chodon was a well-loved child of a wealthy family in Kongpo. Her family owned 70-80 acres of land and employed 13-14 workers. Due to their wealth they paid a lot of tax to the Tibetan Government. She describes her family's property and her three-storied house. The house was destroyed during an earthquake and collapsed on her mother. Gyurme Chodon was punished by the Chinese for not going to school in China by spending six months working on a construction crew. She describes how influential people such as her maternal uncle were subjected to thamzing 'struggle sessions' and imprisoned. After escaping from prison her uncle told his family how prisoners suffered immensely due to lack of food, so much so that they ate human excreta to stave off death from starvation. The whole family decided to flee the village. In preparation for the escape, Gyurme Chodon's family buried many of their household articles expecting to return in a few months or a year. Once in India the family had to work several years on a road crew in Bomdila until the region was bombed during the Indo-Chinese war of 1962. They had to flee immediately without collecting any of the few belongings they had brought from Tibet.