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Reconstructing The 1950s

A Farmer's Recollection


Rinzin Choenyi was born into a farming family in 1936 in Gyantse in Central Tibet. He was taught Tibetan by his father. He was later appointed as a local head for 3 years at the age of 20 in 1956. In 1958, when the Tibetan Resistance Army was stationed in Lhoga, he played a role as a courier as well as an organizer to support the resistance. While doing so, he recollects an event where around 16 Tibetan soldiers fought around 50 PLA soldiers and killed all of them except one based on his intel. In 1959, he was arrested for his part in the resistance and sentenced to 12 years. However he was imprisoned for 21 years. He shares his pain and suffering under extreme conditions and torture in the prisons. He was later transferred to a work prison where he worked with Chinese prisoners on repairing tractors and moving them. In 1980, he was released from prison, however in 1987, he took part in the Lhasa Revolt and had to escape into exile.

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