Name: Yeshi Dolma
Interview Age: 85
Date of Birth: 1930
Birthplace: Layay Thanka - Kongpo, Utsang, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1959
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 16N
Location: Kathmandu, Bagmati, Nepal
Categories: Chinese Invasion and Occupation
Keywords: childhood memories, escape experiences, forced labor, imprisonment, Chinese army -- invasion by , refugee in India -- life as, taxes, Utsang
Yeshi Dolma was born in Layay Thanka in Powo District. She talks about her family that engaged in farming and raised animals as well. Her father had the added responsibility of delivering letters to Lhasa for the Tibetan Government. As a young child Yeshi Dolma herded and milked the animals and began working in the fields around age 14. She describes the system of taxation, which required grains paid to the district authority and butter tax to the monastery.
Yeshi Dolma narrates how her life changed once the Chinese appeared. She was sent to construct roads and houses for the Chinese who paid her with dhayen 'Chinese silver coins.' All the villagers were forced to collect human excrement and apply as manure in the vegetable fields for the Chinese. The Chinese imprisoned or killed the rich and the influential people of the village, including Yeshi Dolma's husband who was put in a forced labor camp for 15 days. Yeshi Dolma also tells the story of two girls from her village that Chinese soldiers married and took to China.
Yeshi Dolma describes her experience of escaping from the Chinese a day after her husband's release from prison. She relates the two incidents when Chinese sent neighbors to persuade them to come back, but the determined family continued their trek and reached India after one month. The hot weather in Assam caused the death of five of Yeshi Dolma's family members in exile.
- Tenzin Yangchen (Interpreter)
- Katharine Davies Samway (Interviewer)
- Dhiraj Kafle (Videographer)