Name: Tsewang Dorjee
Interview Age: 68
Date of Birth: 1942
Birthplace: Dhongpo Ringmar, Utsang, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1973
Profession: Salt Trade
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 54M
Location: Doeguling Settlement, Mundgod, Karnataka, India
Categories: Oppression and Imprisonment
Keywords: childhood memories, commune system, Cultural Revolution, education, Chinese -- first appearance of, forced labor, imprisonment, Chinese rule -- life under, nomadic life, Chinese -- oppression under, starvation, trade, Utsang, salt trade
Tsewang Dorjee was born in a nomadic family in Thoe Ngari in western Tibet. He was the eldest child of his parents. Though there were no government schools, he studied for a short while with a private tutor. Then he engaged in herding yaks and sheep. Besides herding, his family also engaged in salt trade.
Tsewang Dorjee recalls how his father traded with Indian traders, which had been going on for thousands of years. He fondly remembers the biggest trade fair in Ngari at a place called Gya Nyima. Traders from every part of Tibet and neighboring countries gathered to do business. He speaks in great detail about the fair and the various goods available.
Tsewang Dorjee recounts his memories of the liberation process brought about by the Chinese and how they misled the people. He goes on to discuss about the commune system during which people died from starvation and the great Cultural Revolution in 1967-68 when monasteries were destroyed and people imprisoned. He shares the story of his own capture and imprisonment after the Chinese discovered his plans to escape. He was forced to watch the execution of three prominent people of his region. He managed to flee to India only in 1973 after two failed attempts.
- Rebecca Novick (Interviewer)
- Ronny Novick (Videographer)
- Namgyal Tsering (Interpreter)