Rinchen Sangpo, he himself from the Tongkyab Monastery in Golog, interviewed 15 older generation Tibetans from all walks of life in Machen and Gade County in Golog, eastern Tibet, who notwithstanding the imminent danger to their lives under the security clampdown, spoke about China´ s policy of repression and discrimination of Tibetans. The interviews were conducted throughout October 2008.
Sangpo was encouraged by his friends to conduct these interviews to reveal to the outside world the reality of repression and social, economic and political discrimination behind China´ s rhetoric about freedom and happiness in Tibet. He sought the views of the interviewees on three questions: 1) What was the old world like? 2) What sufferings they endured under the current Chinese government? 3) What actually happened in 1958?
The interviewees said that the people of Tibet enjoyed complete freedom under the leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama prior to Chinese invasion, following which the situation badly deteriorated. "In the old society, we were fortunate enough to enjoy complete freedom to live in, or visit any place we wanted.... The Chinese government confiscated all the wealth I possessed, saying that I had accumulated too much.....I was put behind Chinese bars." says one interviewee. They talked about constrains to practicing their religion, China´ s resettlement policies, "patriotic re-education" campaigns and other policies of the Chinese government. In the name of economic development, the Chinese government is carrying out systematic destruction of Tibet´ s unique culture, language, religion and natural resources, they lamented.
The interviewees recounted untold misery, including deaths of hundreds of thousands of Tibetans due to torture, starvation and suicides following the repression and occupation of Tibet by the People´ s Republic of China. In every family there were numerous arrests and killings. "For example, if - say from the Golog area - 100 people were incarcerated, only four or five would return home, The rest of them would all be dead", says one man. "The corpses of the Tibetan people killed by the Chinese army, as well as those died of starvation, were thrown into Machu and Druchu (Yellow and Yangzi rivers). It is said that these rivers turned red from Tibetan blood and that human copses were also buried in pits", recalls another interviewee.
They spoke very critically about China´ s propaganda on Tibet, particularly the campaign of denouncing His Holiness the Dalai Lama. They said the ultimate objective and hope of the Tibetans inside Tibet is that they are eagerly awaiting reunion with their compatriots in exile and the day when His Holiness the Dalai Lama will return to Tibet. "I have ultimately one hope and that is to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This is my ultimate hope and prayer". This hope was expressed by all interviewees.
Before Rinchen Sangpo could complete the intended interview program in Tibet, his actions were discovered by the Chinese government and an arrest warrant was issued against him. Therefore, he escaped into exile in India at the end of last year with the work he had accomplished so far. This work, consisting of 15 interviews conducted so far, was presented today at the Department of Information and International Relations.