Name: Tsering Norbu
Interview Age: 73
Date of Birth: 1940
Birthplace: Chelong, Utsang, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1961
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 25B
Location: Lugsung Samdupling Settlement, Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India
Categories: Oppression and Imprisonment
Keywords: childhood memories, escape experiences, refugee in India -- life as, Chinese rule -- life under, monastic life, Chinese -- oppression under, Panchen Lama, starvation, thamzing/struggle sessions, Utsang
Tsering Norbu belonged to a wealthy family in Tsang, Tibet. The family tilled land and his father was also a merchant. His mother died when he was 7 years old and at the same time his father lost all his merchandise to robbers during a trade mission. The unfortunate circumstances led his father to give up family life and begin studying Buddhism.
Tsering Norbu was placed in Tashi Lhunpo Monastery at the age of 8. He witnessed the grand arrival of the Panchen Lama coming from China. Tsering Norbu ran away from the monastery at age 12 and returned to his village where he joined a hermitage called Dhuesar Gonpa.
Tsering Norbu's life changed when the Chinese appeared. He and all the monks were forced to leave their monasteries and submit to Chinese political education. The Chinese instructed people to denounce the old society and trained them in conducting thamzing 'struggle sessions.' He witnessed the thamzing of the leadership class, land reforms and redistribution of wealth.
Tsering Norbu's father was going to be arrested for helping others escape, so his family chose to escape themselves. In India Tsering Norbu spent 16 years in the Indian Army and also participated in a rebellious attack on the Chinese embassy.
- Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
- Tenzin Yangchen (Interpreter)
- Pema Tashi (Videographer)