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Tibet Oral History Project: Interview with Jamyang Samten on 7/1/2007

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Published on Feb 2, 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: Jamyang Samten was born in a small village called Sarzo Gyalsa. Until the Chinese arrived in their village, he and his family led a contented life farming and tending their animals. Once the Chinese arrived, Jamyang Samten and others like him became paupers while the Chinese turned those who previously had been poor and beggars into the new village leaders. Jamyang Samten and some of his friends rebelled and attempted unsuccessfully to remove the Chinese from their region. As a result of this incident, they were sent to perform hard labor. Jamyang Samten provides a vivid picture of the difficulties he faced in the labor camp, including "question-answer" sessions in which each worker would be forced to reveal faults of the others. After his release from prison camp, fearing future arrests, Jamyang Samten and four of his friends fled to Lhasa. They visited holy places in Lhasa and received blessings from His Holiness the Panchen Lama. Jamyang Samten and his friends then escaped to Kalimpong, India in 1959, where they soon received news that Lhasa had been taken over by the Chinese. Jamyang Samten misses his country and his wife and family he left behind; his one wish is to die in Tibet.

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