Name: Gyarong Tenzin
Interview Age: 84
Date of Birth: 1933
Birthplace: Gyarong Tsako, Amdo, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1959
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 26U
Location: Clement Town, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India
Categories: Resistance and Revolution
Keywords: Amdo, Chinese rule -- life under, Chushi Gangdrug guerrillas, escape experiences, farm life
Gyarong Tenzin was born in 1933 to a family that engaged in farming in Amdo Province. The people there were self-sufficient with everything coming from their farm and the animals of local nomads. Gyarong Tenzin recounts that farmers in his region grew poppy plants that were bartered with Chinese traders for wheat flour, oil, meat, guns, silver and gold. He became a monk at the age of 5 and lived at the village monastery nearby until age 17.
After the Chinese occupation Gyarong Tenzin's father was imprisoned for killing a Chinese leader. Fearing his own capture, Gyarong Tenzin escaped and travelled around China in disguise selling goods. He then traveled to Lhasa and earned a lot of money transporting rocks for the Chinese in order to buy guns to fight against them. He went and volunteered with the Chushi Gangdrug [Defend Tibet Volunteer Force] at the age of 26, vowing to sacrifice his life to protect His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Gyarong Tenzin talks about the guerrillas' numerous encounters with the Chinese and the many casualties suffered on both sides. He helped to care for Andrug Gonpo Tashi, leader of the Chushi Gangdug, when he was injured and then served among those who escorted His Holiness the Dalai Lama on his escape journey to India. Gyarong Tenzin learned about his father's release in 1980 and decided to visit his hometown, where he observed the poor living conditions despite the insistence of the Chinese that they had brought about development.
- Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
- Tenzin Yangchen (Interpreter)
- Tenzin Choenyi (Videographer)