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Tibet Oral History Project: Interview with Kalsang Chime Womatsang on 4/7/2015

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Published on Mar 31, 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: Kalsang Chime Womatsang was born in Derge in 1942. His father was a senior minister in the King of Derge's council. He talks about his studies in Gonchen along with the Prince of Derge, which came to an abrupt end when the Chinese forcefully launched the Democratic Reformation. He gives us an account of how a revolt was planned and implemented. As a young boy, he fled to the mountains with the women and children while the men formed resistance groups. Kalsang Chime Womatsang gives an account of the multiple encounters with the Chinese, outlining how and where confrontations took place and naming many of the casualties. His father was shot many times by the Chinese while trying to secure an escape route for the townspeople. He describes the Chinese military's huge strength and sophisticated arms, while the resistance forces were not only outnumbered but ran out of weapons and food. His mother was also killed by the Chinese as well as a group of 27 children all killed by grenades launched by the Chinese. As a teenager Kalsang Chime Womatsang took part in the resistance and he reveals many details of close encounters with the Chinese and how he was eventually captured. He talks about conditions in the prison, torture, solitary confinement, starvation and forced labor. A failed plan to escape from prison led to further torture and solitary confinement. Altogether he was sentenced to 10 years in prison and seven years as a forced laborer.

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