Interviewee Profile

Name: Tsering Norbu
(Alias: No)

Gender: Male

Interview Age: 81

Date of Birth: 1935

Birthplace: Khambu Chutsen, Utsang, Tibet

Year Left Tibet: 1959

Profession: Army, Business

Monk/Nun: No

Political Prisoner: No

Interview Details

Interview No.: 17C

Date: 2014-05-10

Language: Tibetan

Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

Categories: Resistance and Revolution

Keywords: childhood memories, Chinese -- first appearance of, Chushi Gangdrug guerrillas, customs/traditions, escape experiences, nomadic life, resistance, Utsang


Tsering Norbu was born in 1935 in Khambu Chutsen in Utsang, which shares a border with Sikkim in India. He belonged to a middle class family that farmed during wintertime and herded animals in the mountains during summer. He talks in length about the chutsen 'hot springs' that abound, which many people visited to seek cures for various types of illnesses.

Tsering Norbu was sent to live with a childless aunt in the large trading town of Phari. He recalls the first appearance of Chinese there, how initially Tibetans were deceived by their sweet and humble behavior and insistence that they would leave after helping the Tibetans. As many Tibetans fled from deeper within Tibet and passed through Phari, Tsering Norbu began to hear of the Chinese lies and suffering they imposed on the Tibetans. He gives an elaborate account of transporting weapons from India to the Volunteer Army established at Diguthang.

Tsering Norbu later enlisted in the army, but was told to help establish a new army base. They selected Nyero Dhuktsu for the location and he describes the process of recruitment of all men ages 18-60. He provides an account of an encounter with the Chinese army, which was too big to defeat, and finally the arduous escape journey to Bhutan. He tells about his lucky reunion with his wife and daughter and his father's imprisonment by the Chinese for more than 20 years.

Interview Team:

  • Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
  • Tony Sondag (Videographer)
  • Tenzin Yangchen (of Portland, OR) (Interpreter)
Interview Video

Link: Watch On Youtube

Topic: Interview with Tsering Norbu on 5/10/2014

Length: 02:03:49

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