Name: Tsultrim Sangpo
Interview Age: 62
Date of Birth: 1953
Birthplace: Jang Yae, Utsang, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1973
Political Prisoner: Yes
Interview No.: 17N
Location: Kathmandu, Bagmati, Nepal
Categories: Oppression and Imprisonment
Keywords: childhood memories, commune system, escape experiences, imprisonment, Chinese rule -- life under, Chinese -- oppression under, Utsang, wealthy/upper class
Tsultrim Sangmo was born in Jang Yae in Utsang Province. His father was not married to his mother and his wife insisted she be sent away. Tsultrim Sangmo's father was the manager of Yae Shikha, a large estate owned by the Tibetan Government. Because of their wealthy status the family was isolated from the rest of the community after the Chinese occupation. Tsultrim Sangpo had a lonely life as a child bereft of friends and denied an education.
Tsultrim Sangpo talks about the Chinese' implementation of democratic reforms at which time almost everything his family owned was confiscated and they were forced out of the large estate into a small house. The commune system of agriculture was established. He also talks about the incident of revolt started by a nun and how it led to famine in the region after people stopped taking care of and irrigating the commune lands because they believed they would be able to expel the Chinese.
Tsultrim Sangpo witnessed the Chinese taking away his father in chains to prison, where he remained for six years. He was released early due to the villagers' petition seeking his release on account of old age. Although happy that the family was reunited, life remained difficult under the Chinese occupation. Tsultrim Sangpo decided to flee to Nepal alone and he describes the arduous journey through a difficult mountain pass without companions at the age of 19.
- Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
- Henry Tenenbaum (Videographer)
- Palden Tsering (Interpreter)