Interviewee Profile

Name: Dhonyoe
(Alias: No)

Gender: Male

Interview Age: 75

Date of Birth: 1940

Birthplace: Lhoka, Utsang, Tibet

Year Left Tibet: 1965

Profession: Farming

Monk/Nun: No

Political Prisoner: No

Interview Details

Interview No.: 4N

Date: 2015-04-08

Language: Tibetan

Location: Kathmandu, Bagmati, Nepal

Categories: Oppression and Imprisonment

Keywords: childhood memories, Chinese rule -- life under, escape experiences, forced labor, monasteries -- destruction of , taxes, thamzing/struggle sessions, Utsang


Dhonyoe was born in Lhoka in 1940. His father was a shepherd, owning a large flock and Dhonyoe helped him herd sheep on the mountains. He explains the duties of a taxpayer and the system of the wulak, which is tax in the form of performing labor. Under that system all the villagers performed work on the estate of the village leaders and helped with communal projects.

Dhonyoe shares his experience as a Chinese road builder, for which he dug earth and rocks, cut wood and constructed bridges. He describes the process of forcefully recruiting men of various villages and monks from the monasteries to work as road crew. He fled from the work site and returned to his family home. There he learned that the family's huge supply of grain had been taken by the poor villagers under the orders of the occupying Chinese forces. Dhonyoe recounts how the Chinese drove the poor people to destroy monasteries and holy images, throw out scriptures and taunted the believers of the Buddhist dharma.

Dhonyoe was a witness to several thamzing 'struggle sessions' conducted on the influential people of his village. These leaders were often taken away after thamzing to die of starvation in prisons. After a friend's father was subjected to thamzing, a group of Dhonyoe's friends invited him to flee to India with them. Dhonyoe visited relatives in Tibet in 1989 and was told about the Cultural Revolution and how many people had starved to death during that time.

Interview Team:

  • Katharine Davies Samway (Interviewer)
  • Henry Tenenbaum (Videographer)
  • Palden Tsering (Interpreter)
Interview Video

Link: Watch On Youtube

Topic: Interview with Dhonyoe on 4/8/2015

Length: 01:40:59

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