Interview Age: 43
Date of Birth: 1970
Birthplace: Jamtso, Utsang, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1991
Political Prisoner: Yes
Interview No.: 22B
Location: Lugsung Samdupling Settlement, Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India
Categories: Oppression and Imprisonment
Keywords: brutality/torture, childhood memories, Cultural Revolution, monasteries -- destruction of , imprisonment, Chinese rule -- life under, Panchen Lama, starvation, thamzing/struggle sessions, Utsang
Bagdro was born to a nomadic father and a farming mother near Lhasa. Due to fear of the Chinese, his parents did not teach him anything about life before the Chinese occupation. He did not even know who the Dalai Lama was. He was perplexed as a child that the Chinese purported to bring liberation and progress, but the Tibetans remained poor while the Chinese prospered.
Bagdro experienced the Cultural Revolution. Monasteries were destroyed and sacred texts were desecrated. The Chinese indoctrinated Tibetan children into Communism. He describes thamzing 'struggle sessions' and imprisonments that he witnessed. Bagdro's 4-year old sister was one of the victims of starvation that became widespread after the Chinese occupation. He was forced to beg for money from foreign tourists and for food from Chinese restaurants in Lhasa.
Seeing that monks were well-fed, Bagdro joined Gaden Monastery. Monks could say prayers but also had to study Communism. Bagdro finally learned about the true situation in Tibet and was determined to fight for his country. After a protest in Lhasa, he was arrested. He describes the suffering the political prisoners underwent, including torture, forced labor and death due to starvation. He was finally released due to his poor health. He escaped to India to tell the world about the suffering of his prison mates and request a trial in the Spanish Court.
- Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
- Tenzin Yangchen (Interpreter)
- Pema Tashi (Videographer)