Name: Tenzin Chokdup
Interview Age: 45
Date of Birth: 1962
Birthplace: Phenpo, Utsang, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1986
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 90
Location: Lugsung Samdupling Settlement, Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India
Categories: Oppression and Imprisonment
Keywords: brutality/torture, childhood memories, escape experiences, forced labor, refugee in India -- life as, Chinese rule -- life under, Chinese -- oppression under, starvation, thamzing/struggle sessions, Utsang
Born in 1962, Tenzin Chokdup's childhood was one of unimaginable suffering under the control of the Chinese. His family was labeled as ngadhak 'those holding leadership positions' by the Chinese, which made them targets for the worst abuse and degradations. He recounts the horrifying methods used during thamzing 'struggle sessions' when people were violently beaten and degraded by ex-servants who were "brain-washed" and intimidated by the Chinese.
Tenzin Chokdup's mother died from torture while being subjected to thamzing and his two older brothers died of starvation after the death of their mother. From the age of 6 or 7 Tenzin Chokdup lived alone while his father was forced to work for the Chinese. With no one to care for him, he endured severe physical pain, extreme poverty, prolonged starvation, and forced labor.
When his father died in 1985, Tenzin Chokdup decided to leave Tibet. Tenzin Chokdup's main goal in life was to become a monk, which became possible in India. He now lives at Sera Jey Monastery in Bylakuppe. His most cherished and unforgettable memory is his audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama after arriving in India.
- Rebecca Novick (Interviewer)
- Ronny Novick (Videographer)
- Tsering Dorjee (Interpreter)