** 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: Bagdro was born to a nomadic father and a farming mother near Lhasa. Due to fear of the Chinese, his parents did not teach him anything about life before the Chinese occupation. He did not even know who the Dalai Lama was. He was perplexed as a child that the Chinese purported to bring liberation and progress, but the Tibetans remained poor while the Chinese prospered. Bagdro experienced the Cultural Revolution. Monasteries were destroyed and sacred texts were desecrated. The Chinese indoctrinated Tibetan children into Communism. He describes thamzing 'struggle sessions' and imprisonments that he witnessed. Bagdro's 4-year old sister was one of the victims of starvation that became widespread after the Chinese occupation. He was forced to beg for money from foreign tourists and for food from Chinese restaurants in Lhasa. Seeing that monks were well-fed, Bagdro joined Gaden Monastery. Monks could say prayers but also had to study Communism. Bagdro finally learned about the true situation in Tibet and was determined to fight for his country. After a protest in Lhasa, he was arrested. He describes the suffering the political prisoners underwent, including torture, forced labor and death due to starvation. He was finally released due to his poor health. He escaped to India to tell the world about the suffering of his prison mates and request a trial in the Spanish Court.