Name: Choeden Sangmo
Interview Age: 82
Date of Birth: 1933
Birthplace: Shigatse, Utsang, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1950
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 19N
Location: Kathmandu, Bagmati, Nepal
Categories: Chinese Invasion and Occupation
Keywords: brutality/torture, childhood memories, escape experiences, forced labor, Chinese -- oppression under, taxes, Utsang, business practices/livelihood
Choeden Sangmo was born in Shigatse into a large family with eight children. She describes Shigatse as a large town with people engaged in various types of work like farming, trading and shop keeping, feeling carefree and happy. She describes her parents and their brick house. Choeden Sangmo's family was engaged in farming but her father also did carpentry. She talks about various things her father made to supplement their income. Half of the grains they cultivated were given to the government as tax.
Choeden Sangmo recalls how life changed completely after the Chinese appeared in her hometown. She talks about how the Chinese targeted the wealthy families through arrests, imprisonment and torture. The Chinese confiscated their possessions and even killed them. Choeden Sangmo's grandfather suffered imprisonment and torture at the hands of the Chinese because he had been wealthy. The Chinese forced his servants to denounce him and he was publicly executed.
Choeden Sangmo got married without her parents' permission when a trader promised to take her to India. She and her husband built roads for Chinese vehicles while saving money to escape to India. When they finally did leave Tibet, journeying through the snow left her with frostbite and Choeden Sangmo was hospitalized for a month after reaching India.
- Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
- Tenzin Yangchen (Interpreter)
- Dhiraj Kafle (Videographer)