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Tibet Oral History Project: Interview with Ata on 4/8/2015

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Published on Mar 23, 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: Ata was born into a middle class family living in Derge, Kham Province. He describes his parents as samadok--engaged in both farming and rearing animals such as yaks, dri 'female yaks' and dzomo 'female animal bred from a yak and a cow.' They grew wheat, barley and peas, and the barter system was prevalent with the exchange of grains for meat and butter. Ata talks about the Reformation during which the Chinese confiscated people's property and redistributed it as well as established the kongri 'commune system.' Families were categorized as wealthy, middle class and poor and the Chinese imposed the "liberation" of Tibet against the wishes of the people. He witnessed the Chinese subjecting people to thamzing 'struggle sessions,' beating and imprisoning them. Ata tells how the people revolted against them and many escaped to Lhasa. Ata left for Lhasa in 1958 and joined the Chushi Gangdrug Defend Tibet Volunteer Force. He describes the guerrilla tactics they engaged in and the types of weapons they used. The guerrillas were outnumbered by the Chinese so they tried to escape. Ata was arrested and endured hard labor in prison until he escaped. He again joined the Chushi Gangdrug which had regrouped in Mustang, Nepal. He remained for 13 years, crossing back into Tibet many times to ambush the Chinese.

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