Interviewee Profile

Name: Gyurme Chodon
(Alias: No)

Gender: Female

Interview Age: 69

Date of Birth: 1941

Birthplace: Tseplagang - Kongpo, Utsang, Tibet

Year Left Tibet: 1959

Profession: Dairy Farming, Farming

Monk/Nun: No

Political Prisoner: No

Interview Details

Interview No.: 65M

Date: 2010-04-04

Language: Tibetan

Location: Doeguling Settlement, Mundgod, Karnataka, India

Categories: Oppression and Imprisonment

Keywords: childhood memories, Chinese -- first appearance of, escape experiences, forced labor, houses/villages, imprisonment, landowners, refugee in India -- life as, taxes, thamzing/struggle sessions, Utsang, wealthy/upper class


Gyurme Chodon was a well-loved child of a wealthy family in Kongpo. Her family owned 70-80 acres of land and employed 13-14 workers. Due to their wealth they paid a lot of tax to the Tibetan Government. She describes her family's property and her three-storied house. The house was destroyed during an earthquake and collapsed on her mother.

Gyurme Chodon was punished by the Chinese for not going to school in China by spending six months working on a construction crew. She describes how influential people such as her maternal uncle were subjected to thamzing 'struggle sessions' and imprisoned. After escaping from prison her uncle told his family how prisoners suffered immensely due to lack of food, so much so that they ate human excreta to stave off death from starvation.

The whole family decided to flee the village. In preparation for the escape, Gyurme Chodon's family buried many of their household articles expecting to return in a few months or a year. Once in India the family had to work several years on a road crew in Bomdila until the region was bombed during the Indo-Chinese war of 1962. They had to flee immediately without collecting any of the few belongings they had brought from Tibet.

Interview Team:

  • Rebecca Novick (Interviewer)
  • Ronny Novick (Videographer)
  • Namgyal Tsering (Interpreter)
Interview Video

Link: Watch On Youtube

Topic: Interview with Gyurme Chodon on 4/4/2010

Length: 01:37:00

Short Videos

Link: Watch On Youtube

Topic: Working for the Chinese Forces under Occupation

Length: 00:02:47

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