Interviewee Profile

Name: Pasang Tsewang
(Alias: No)

Gender: Male

Interview Age: 74

Date of Birth: 1938

Birthplace: Phari, Utsang, Tibet

Year Left Tibet: 1974

Profession: Farming

Monk/Nun: No

Political Prisoner: Yes

Interview Details

Interview No.: 21D

Date: 2012-05-23

Language: Tibetan

Location: Mcleod Ganj, Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, India

Categories: Oppression and Imprisonment

Keywords: brutality/torture, childhood memories, Chinese -- first appearance of, Chinese -- oppression under, commune system, education, forced labor, imprisonment, resistance, thamzing/struggle sessions, trade, Utsang


Pasang Tsewang hails from Phari, near the board with Bhutan. His family farmed and paid taxes to the government of Tibet. His father also engaged in trade between Kalimpong in India and Phari. He purchased goods in India which he then traded with nomads for wool and butter.

The Chinese appeared in Phari when Pasang Tsewang was 12 years old. He recounts that the Chinese first lured Tibetans with gifts and silver coins and assisted them in their daily chores. He goes on to relate in depth the larger acts employed by the Chinese to befriend Tibetans, such as opening a hospital, starting schools, constructing roads, giving aid to the poor and salaries to the wealthy. After the initial friendliness, the Chinese revealed their plans to "liberate" Tibetans and confiscated land and possessions from many townspeople, including Pasang Tsewang. He describes witnessing and participating in thamzing 'struggle sessions.' He also gives an account of the extensive interrogations, tortures, forced labor, starvation and executions that the Chinese carried out. He himself was imprisoned for 2.5 years and forced to study Communist doctrines.

Pasang Tsewang gives a vivid account of the underground association that was established with the objective of escorting His Holiness the Dalai Lama back to Tibet. He describes the founders and activities, which were mainly tracking the movement of Chinese troops. After eight years of secret meetings, 21 members were imprisoned after the association was discovered.

Interview Team:

  • Matthew Akester (Interviewer)
  • Ronny Novick (Videographer)
  • Tenzin Yangchen (Interpreter)
Interview Video

Link: Watch On Youtube

Topic: Interview with Pasang Tsewang on 5/23/2012

Length: 03:31:35

© 2009-2018 Tibet Oral History Project. These translations and transcripts are provided for individual research purposes only. For all other uses, including publication, reproduction and quotation beyond fair use, permission must be obtained in writing from: Tibet Oral History Project, P.O. Box 6464, Moraga, CA 94570-6464. Privacy Policy