Interviewee Profile

Name: Tenzin Woeser
(Alias: No)

Gender: Male

Interview Age: 73

Date of Birth: 1937

Birthplace: Yanglay, Amdo, Tibet

Year Left Tibet: 1959

Profession: Monk

Monk/Nun: Currently

Political Prisoner: No

Interview Details

Interview No.: 29M

Date: 2010-04-11

Language: Tibetan

Location: Doeguling Settlement, Mundgod, Karnataka, India

Categories: Chinese Invasion and Occupation

Keywords: Amdo, childhood memories, Chinese -- first appearance of, Chinese army -- invasion by , Chinese rule -- life under, escape experiences, monastic life, refugee in India -- life as, resistance fighters


Tenzin Woeser's parents engaged in farming. They had eight children and he was the sixth child. He became a monk at the age of 7 at Sangdok Monastery, near his village. Two of his older brothers were also monks at the same monastery.

Tenzin Woeser recalls the Chinese appearance in his village as, "The Chinese first came to our village to wage a war. The villagers ran away temporarily into the forests to escape them. The Chinese fired shells at his monastery and killed one monk." Tenzin Woeser describes the propaganda films that the Chinese screened in the village when they first arrived and the monthly meetings that villagers were forced to attend from which monks were exempt. Some villagers were killed at these meetings and similar things happened in nearby villages.

Tenzin Woeser left his monastery at the age of 20 and soon after it was completely destroyed by the Chinese. He describes the long journey of 5-6 months from his village to Lhasa where he joined the Drepung Monastery and lived there until the Chinese attacked in 1959. Tenzin Woeser escaped to Bhutan and then was sent to Buxa in Uttar Pradesh, India where he lived for eight years before being resettled in the Drepung Monastery in south India. He returned to his village in 1983 to meet relatives and talks about the changes that had taken place in Tibet.

Interview Team:

  • Rebecca Novick (Interviewer)
  • Tenzin Yangchen (Interpreter)
  • Pema Tashi (Videographer)
Interview Video

Link: Watch On Youtube

Topic: Interview with Tenzin Woeser on 4/11/2010

Length: 01:21:34

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