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Tibet Oral History Project: Interview with Gyendun Tashi on 5/18/2012

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Published on Mar 9, 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: Gyendun Tashi became a monk at the age of 11, but left the monastery at age 17 due to the Chinese invasion. He recalls that Communist Chinese first appeared in his village in 1951 guided by Kuri Rukhong, who was formerly a Tibetan monk and later a Chinese spy. An uncle of Gyendun Tashi and an associate killed Kuri Rukhong because he declared that the monasteries must be destroyed. The villagers harbored Nationalist Chinese refugees and were able to resist the Communists for a few years. During a pilgrimage, Gyendun Tashi witnessed the forced sterilization of Tibetan young men and women near Tso Ngonpo. In a most elaborate manner, Gyendun Tashi narrates the various facets of life in his village since the occupation by Chinese, which included numerous skirmishes, hide and seek with Chinese soldiers in the mountains, dropping of arms by Nationalist Chinese to help the Tibetans' resistance movement in his region, and the surrender of weapons. Gyendun Tashi even travelled to China with a group of Tibetan delegates to meet with the Chinese in 1957. Gyendun Tashi went to Lhasa where he joined the Chushi Gangdrug Defend Tibet Volunteer Force to resist the Chinese onslaught. He describes how the Force was initiated, its Chief Andrug Gonpo Tashi, the many encounters with the Chinese, the risks, perils, the scarcity of food and his narrow escape over snow-covered mountains into Mon Tawang, India.

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