Interviewee Profile

Name: Tenzin Phuntsok
(Alias: No)

Gender: Female

Interview Age: 70

Date of Birth: 1942

Birthplace: Lhozong, Kham, Tibet

Year Left Tibet: 2006

Profession: Farming

Monk/Nun: Currently

Political Prisoner: No

Interview Details

Interview No.: 72D

Date: 2012-05-24

Language: Tibetan

Location: Mcleod Ganj, Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, India

Categories: Oppression and Imprisonment

Keywords: brutality/torture, Chinese -- first appearance of, Chinese -- oppression under, Chinese rule -- life under, escape experiences, forced labor, imprisonment, Kham, monasteries -- destruction of , monastic life, thamzing/struggle sessions


Tenzin Phuntsok is from Lhozong in Kham Province. She was 12-year old when the Chinese first appeared in her village. On that day she was directed by the elderly women of the village to go out and wave a white flag as an act of surrender. Six of her family members were imprisoned by the Chinese because her sister's husband joined the resistance fighters. The Chinese sent Tenzin Phuntsok to do road construction, but she was unable to perform well and was sent back to the village.

Tenzin Phuntsok describes how the Chinese conducted thamzing 'struggle sessions' and the different methods applied to torture the Tibetans. Tenzin Phuntsok's family was labeled as counter revolutionaries and she speaks vividly about the ordeal her father, brother, maternal uncle and others endured in prison.

Tenzin Phuntsok travelled to Lhasa to search for her maternal uncle, a reincarnate lama who was sentenced to 30 years in prison. He advised her to stay in Lhasa because there was slightly more freedom to practice religion there than in Kham. She secretly became a nun at the age of 34 and lived in Lhasa for 31 years. She speaks of her pilgrimage to Mount Kailash from where began her escape to India with the sole intention of seeing His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Interview Team:

  • Rebecca Novick (Interviewer)
  • Thupten Kelsang Dakpa (Interpreter)
  • Pema Tashi (Videographer)
Interview Video

Link: Watch On Youtube

Topic: Interview with Tenzin Phuntsok on 5/24/2012

Length: 01:48:04

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