Interviewee Profile

Name: Ngawang Gyurmey Chagzoetsang
(Alias: No)

Gender: Male

Interview Age: 73

Date of Birth: 1941

Birthplace: Karze, Kham, Tibet

Year Left Tibet: 1959

Profession: Trade

Monk/Nun: Previously

Political Prisoner: No

Interview Details

Interview No.: 26C

Date: 2014-11-14

Language: English

Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

Categories: Culture and History

Keywords: childhood memories, Chinese -- first appearance of, education, escape experiences, refugee in India -- life as, trade, Utsang


Ngawang Gyurmey Chagzoetsang was born in Karze District of Kham Province. His parents had seven children of which he is the second oldest. His father was a successful businessman trading all kinds of goods between Tibet, China and India. The family owned a retail store in Lhasa selling mainly tea brought from China. He fondly remembers how as children, they waited for various gifts that their father brought from the places he travelled to.

Ngawang Gyurmey Chagzoetsang was enrolled in Nyarongsha School in Lhasa at the age of 7 and describes the repetitive handwriting exercises that the students were subjected to daily. Since he was doing poorly in school, his mother sent him to study with his uncle at Sera Monastery. Then at the age of 16 he, along with two of his younger brothers, was sent to join Gaden Monastery as monks.

As a child Ngawang Gyurmey Chagzoetsang witnessed Chinese people leaving Lhasa by order of the Tibetan Government. Later the Communist Chinese appeared and set up military camps around Lhasa and gunshots could be heard at Gaden Monastery. Ngawang Gyurmey Chagzoetsang recounts his escape journey taking along his two little brothers. He was fortunate to reunite with the rest of his family in India. He received further education in exile and became a teacher himself.

Interview Team:

  • Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
  • Tony Sondag (Videographer)
Interview Video

Link: Watch On Youtube

Topic: Interview with Ngawang Gyurmey Chagzoetsang on 11/14/2014

Length: 01:02:56

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