Name: Paljor Thondup
Interview Age: 65
Date of Birth: 1949
Birthplace: Dongpa Mayma, Utsang, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1959
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 22C
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States
Categories: Chinese Invasion and Occupation
Keywords: childhood memories, Chinese -- first appearance of, Chinese army -- invasion by , education, escape experiences, festivals, Kham, nomadic life, resistance fighters, wealthy/upper class
Paljor Thondup was born in a village called Dongpa Mayma in Kham Province. He belonged to a large family, which was one of the richest and most powerful in the region. His father was second in command to the district's chief. He describes their wealth in terms of land and animals. He recalls his early nomadic family life, and especially the Tibetan mastiffs that were used to protect their animals from wolves and bears.
Paljor Thondup was taught reading and writing at home by a tutor during the summertime. The rest of the year he didn't have much to do because the nomadic families were miles apart from each other so he had no one to play with except his cousin. Paljor Thondup greatly enjoyed the annual horse racing festival and visits to local monasteries.
Paljor Thondup talks about his first encounter with the Chinese and their cunning tactics used to lure Tibetans, which then changed to harassment and the subjugation of Tibet. After some of his family members were arrested, the remainder of his family decided to escape to Lhasa. The city was crowded with other refugees, visitors for the Monlam Festival and His Holiness the Dalai Lama's final examinations in Buddhist philosophy and the invading Chinese Army. His family continued on towards Nepal, having to hide from and battle with Chinese troops along way.
- Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
- Tomas Haywood (Videographer)