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Tibet Oral History Project: Interview with Chonzom on 6/29/2007

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Published on Jan 19, 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: Chonzom's family was Samadok, those who did pastoral farming. Samadok lived in houses built of stones and mud. There were no schools and Chonzom worked in the fields and also took animals to graze. At the age of 8 Chonzom was offered to the village nunnery as a form of tax. She performed various duties for the nunnery and at the age of 25 she became the accountant. She provides insight into how the nunnery functioned and how they supported themselves. When the Chinese arrived in her village, Chonzom was arrested simply for being in charge of the nunnery. She was imprisoned, beaten, insulted and publicly humiliated. After release from prison she was sent to back to her village and as a punishment, she was made to kill rats and flies and report her killings to the Chinese. Chonzom's uncle urged her to marry another former prisoner and escape to India. She and her husband suffered terribly during their journey to India after they ran out of food. They had to hide during the day and travel only at night. Chonzom describes this as the most difficult phase of her life and believes she was near death by the time they reached India.

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