Name: Karma Tsewang Gyurme
Interview Age: 88
Date of Birth: 1927
Birthplace: Layor, Utsang, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1959
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 26N
Location: Kathmandu, Bagmati, Nepal
Categories: Chinese Invasion and Occupation
Keywords: Chinese -- first appearance of, government/administration, nomadic life, taxes, thamzing/struggle sessions, Utsang
Karma Tsewang Gyurme was born in Layor in Ngari region. There were 30-40 members in his family including workers who lived at home. His family members were nomads raising animals and did not do any agricultural work. Since there were no schools, Karma Tsewang Gyurme roamed around as a child and sometimes went herding animals along with the servants.
Karma Tsewang Gyurme explains how the people of his region paid tamka karpo, a sum of 20,000 currency units, to the government to use the grasslands for grazing. Then the government offered these payments to monks of the three great monasteries: Sera, Gaden and Drepung. Karma Tsewang Gyurme's paternal uncle was a Governor General and he describes the duties he performed and how his uncle was falsely accused of a crime by another government official which resulted in him being beaten.
Karma Tsewang Gyurme recounts how things changed once the Chinese appeared. He attended meetings as a representative of the Governor General during which the Chinese explained that Buddhist lamas and village leaders were unnecessary. Thamzing 'struggle sessions' were conducted and some officials were killed. Karma Tsewang Gyurme's story ends with his escape to Muktinath in Nepal. He presently feels content with his life in Nepal because he is free to practice the dharma.
- Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
- Henry Tenenbaum (Videographer)
- Palden Tsering (Interpreter)