Interviewee Profile

Name: Ngawang Sangpo
(Alias: No)

Gender: Male

Interview Age: 65

Date of Birth: 1945

Birthplace: Phumo Changthang, Utsang, Tibet

Year Left Tibet: 1960

Profession: Nomad

Monk/Nun: Currently

Political Prisoner: No

Interview Details

Interview No.: 9M

Date: 2010-04-04

Language: Tibetan

Location: Doeguling Settlement, Mundgod, Karnataka, India

Categories: Oppression and Imprisonment

Keywords: childhood memories, Chinese -- oppression under, Chinese rule -- life under, Chushi Gangdrug guerrillas, escape experiences, herding, refugee in India -- life as, taxes, thamzing/struggle sessions, trade, Utsang


Ngawang Sangpo hails from a small village consisting of 14-15 families. His was a middle-class nomadic family and he recalls going on a trade expedition to Lhopra, where they bartered their butter, cheese, and wool for grains from the farmers. This trade relation existed for many generations and occurred once each year.

Everything in Ngawang Sangpo's village changed when the Chinese arrived in 1957-58. He says they were excellent in deception, first giving gifts to the Tibetans and then gradually oppressed the people, so much so that people began to commit suicide to escape thamzing 'struggle sessions.' Most monks from the local monasteries volunteered to join Chushi Gangdrug [Defend Tibet Volunteer Force]. Ngawang Sangpo tells how the monks had no weapons, but resisted with stones and boulders against the Chinese forces' guns and other weapons.

Ngawang Sangpo's parents feared the Chinese would take him away to school in China like other village children and sent him into exile while they waited for the release of his maternal uncle from prison. Ngawang Sangpo first arrived in Bhutan and then went to India, where he decided to become a monk. He later suffered from seizures and describes being treated by a Tibetan doctor with a golden needle.

Interview Team:

  • Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
  • Tenzin Yangchen (Interpreter)
  • Pema Tashi (Videographer)
Interview Video

Link: Watch On Youtube

Topic: Interview with Ngawang Sangpo on 4/4/2010

Length: 01:54:07

Short Videos

Link: Watch On Youtube

Topic: Liberation by Chinese/Struggle Sessions

Length: 00:02:10

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