The following are 10 heart rending stories of how 10 of our students managed to flee from Tibet and escape the Chinese authorities, these last few years.
The 5 stars in each story used to hide the names of the students in question, Kusang says; in a way symbolize the Chinese government because it is because of them, that we still don’t have freedom to express ourselves.
When ***** was 32 years old he decided to leave Tibet because he was worried about the situation in his country. One night as he slept lightly, a friend came home to tell him that he had found out that the police thought that he was a problem. ***** got very scared and could not sleep for many days. He finally figured that staying any longer in Tibet would be a big problem and started to pack his bag. He then left Tibet. He says it is a day he will never forget.
He was very sad to leave, because he had to leave his uncle behind, and for him, his uncle was like his mother and father. He took a bus and reached Lhasa. There, he met a man who claimed he could show him the way to India. The man said that he could take him by truck for a night, and then he’d have to walk. The journey was a extremely difficult one as the oxygen in the mountains was very less. He walked for 9 days until he reached the border where he was arrested by the police. He was jailed or a month, before finally being sent back to Lhasa. There he managed to buy a special passport and he walked to the border one more time, and 10 days later he was finally in Dharamshala.
***** was born in Lithang, to a family of farmers and spent his childhood living as a nomad helping the family to take care of the animals and the plantation. During the spring season, they would go up the mountains and grow potatoes and barley. At the same time, while they were living in this peaceful and traditional reality, the situation with reference to the Chinese invasion became more serious by the day. Feeling the need to escape to India, he gathered 7 people from the village who had the same motivation. Even though his parents did not give him consent, he went with them to Lhasa by truck. It was the beginning of the journey.
In Lhasa, the boys met a woman who gave these boys accommodation and food. The people heard of these boys and their wish to escape to India, and soon 67 people had gathered in 8 days trying to find a way to escape.
Carrying only cookies and tsampa, all these Tibetans left Lhasa in the middle of the night cramped in the back of a truck. Early in the morning they arrived at a completely remote and barren grassland. Their fist step was to cross a freezing river. All of them holding hands, crossed the river and reached the other side. They did not talk for the rest of the journey, nor did they smoke for fear of being identified by the Chinese army. Many days later, they finally made it through.
Born in Chumdo, Tibet ***** was a nomad and farmer. When she was 18, she and another friend decided to leave Tibet for Nepal. ***** joined a group of seven people to climb the mountains, leading to India. They spent the first 2 nights on a train from Lhasa. They then walked for over 4 nights over the Himalayas. It was so cold that the water bottles froze. Everyone was scared of the Chinese army, so no one slept. Once they reached Nepal they stayed at the Tibetan reception center where they was food and shelter for them. They stayed there for 4 months before leaving to Delhi. From Delhi, they got to Dharamshala. ***** left her family in Tibet to see the Dalai Lama and to study.
***** left Lhasa when she was 25 to come to Dharamshala because she wanted to learn English and see His Holiness Dalai Lama. She took a bus from Lhasa to the border and tried to find people she could go to India with, but found no one so she went by her self. She crossed the mountains and went to Nepal because she heard they had a Tibetan refugee center. She stayed at the refugee center for 2 months. It was so crowed at the refugee center that it took a long time for her to get her paper work done to go from Nepal to India. In 2006 she bought a ticket with the money she had and arrived at Delhi. She spent only a night in Delhi before taking a bus to the refugee center in Dharamshala. She had to wait for a week to see His Holiness Dalai Lama. She is very happy these days and is glad to come to the Tibet Hope Center and learn English everyday.
In 2003 at the age of 20, ***** left his village in Tibet for a long journey to India. One evening he approached for a friend and told him that they better leave for Lhasa early if they want to escape the torture of the Chinese government. With little money in their pockets they set out on a journey to Lhasa which lasted 2 months, Due to the lack of money, they would stop anywhere they could, using only blankets and no tents. They asked people in villages for Tsampa to feed them on their journey. After arriving in Lhasa, the two friends worked for 6 months to earn enough money to start their trek to Nepal. Their journey to Nepal lasted 1 month and 27 days, and they met a group of 27 people on their way. After their long journey, they reached Nepal and ***** was finally able to call his parents after arriving at the Tibet Reception Center.
In 2007 ***** came from Tibet to Nepal. He went to the refugee center for 20 years and then came to India. ***** was fortunate to get a Chinese passport and was able to take a bus to Nepal. As his city was close to the Chinese border, he was able to get a passport easily.
After 20 days in Nepal, Tsten took a bus to India. He came to Dharamshala and could speak Chinese and his village language that only 2000 people in the world can speak.
In lower Dharamshala, he went to the TCV school and took classes in Tibetan, English and Math for a year. His English teacher drew pictures of words he wsa learning, because he didn’t understand Tibetan either.
After a year, Tseten left TCV school and went to southern India. He stayed there for a year before moving back to Dharamshala. He now studies English at the Hope Center.
When ***** was in Tibet, he did not get an opportunity to get modern education. Heard that there were Tibetan refugees in India where the Dalai Lama was living. He had no idea what the situation was like. He managed to get a visa from Lhasa to Nepal, but not to India. The Tibet reception Center in Nepal helped him out, and he came here in 2006.
***** came to India in 1995. He first travelled from his home in Kham to Lhasa. He stayed in Lhasa and then decided to journey to India to see His Holiness the Dalai Lama and study Buddhism. He travelled with a group of 35 people, children, old men, women and kids. They crossed the Himalayas together walking the whole way to Nepal from Tibet. When they arrived, they were caught by the Nepal police who took them to the Chinese police. The Chinese police paid the Nepali police to catch the Tibetans.
***** was taken to 7 Chinese prisons during the course of 6 months, after which on night as he was getting transferred from one prison to another he jumped from the prison transport truck and escaped. He decided he would leave Tibet in 3 years and hid in the Himalayas.
Going from valley to valley he finally found a way to Nepal and escaped from there to India.
***** came in 2007 and started his journey from Lhasa. He had lived in Lhasa for 3 years and during that time had decided to visit India and it was possible for him to apply for passport, but he had to return to his native city to get that and it would take a lot of time. He therefore decided to leave without a passport, instead got a transit passport. He easily got to the Tibet border but was not allowed to cross over to go to Nepal, so he stayed at the border for 3 days and waited for someone to guide him across. During this time, he kept looking for other routes to take and escape, and luckily found a way through the mountains along a river. So he got up early the next day at 5am and with only water, biscuits and a a few clothes took off. It seemed an easy path at first sight, but when he reached a river crossing, he realized he could not go any further without help from the other side. Dissapointed he tried to walk along the river when he heard someone scream out. As he looked in the direction he saw that 3-4 guys were screaming out. They made hand gestures that seemed to say that they would help him if he paid them. He gladly agreed. They then threw a rope across the river for him to hold on to and cross the river. As he was crossing though, he hit his head against a rock and became unconscious. It was only because the others kept pulling him across the river that he managed to make it alive. Once he was on the other side, and once he regained consciousness, he gladly paid them. They also told him that they could arrange for a car for him if he paid them enough, and ***** gave them his golden bracelet and ring, and made a deal and eventually reached Nepal safely in the car.
***** however, wants to go back home someday.
***** is a 24 year old Tibetan from the province of Amdo. He believes in Buddhism and has a brother who is a monk. He came to India in 1997 and is now living in South India.
His journey to India started form his village, from where he took a bus to Lhasa where he stayed for 15 days during the course of which he looked for a guide to take him to across the border. Unable to find one, he travelled from Lhasa for 6 hours by bus and reached a place from where he and 54 other people he met would start their long 30 day trek across the border. Fortunately all 54 of them reached the Nepal border safe and sound. Although it was extremely difficult to wade through the snow during winter, it also turned out to be the best time, because there are lesser chances of getting caught by the Chinese authorities during this time.
Now here, he wants to learn English and meet and worship His Holiness Dalai Lama.