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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: Kalsang became a monk at the early age of 5 and lived at the monastery until he was 17 and forced to leave. In 1959 the Chinese closed the monastery and ordered the monks to return to their families. Kalsang's family, who were well-off, became targets of the Chinese. He and his family were tortured and humiliated in struggle sessions instigated by the Chinese. They were forced to state "that China was very good, that the Tibetan society was bad and that we were very happy under the Chinese government." Kalsang was required to work in the fields and all the harvests were taken by the Chinese, who gave the workers an insufficient grain ration that often left them hungry. Kalsang's father was arrested and died after eight years in prison. Later Kalsang learned that he too would be arrested so he decided to flee. He was unsure of how to proceed and he hid for 18 months in a small space underneath a friend's house, only emerging occasionally under the cover of darkness. Eventually his friends were able to find someone to show Kalsang the way to Bhutan.