t h e   9-10-3   p r o j e c t

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My name is Lobsang. I was born in a simple family in a small village called Langthang Dewa Chen in 1973. There are 8 people in my family. They are all farmers. From the age of eight to twelve, I helped my family in herding cattle. From the age of twelve to thirteen, I learned Tibetan for one year and six months. Again I came back to herd cattle for another year. In 1987, I entered the monastery of Dumbu Chokor in Tseda Shol according to my parents' wishes.

In 1990 and 1991, the Chinese cadre came to the monastery and told us we must denounce His Holiness the Dalai Lama and any person who works for Tibetan freedom. They also said that we had to follow Chinese orders and must obey the commands of the Communists. If they found anyone disobeying these rules he would be put in prison. Chinese authorities put restrictions on the admission of new monks, and banned the travel of monks. Monks were not allowed to stay more than a week outside the monastery without permission from the authorities.

In 1991, some of my friends and I started to write down independence slogans: ''Long live His Holiness the Dalai Lama'', "Chinese quit Tibet'', "Tibet is free'', ''Tibet belongs to Tibetans'', ''Struggle for freedom''. We made notices of these and stuck them on the wall near the police station door of Tseda Shol. After that, on the night of May 11, 1992, some of my friends and I went through the streets of Tseda Shol with brushes and paint and began to write slogans again. We wrote seven independence slogans on the walls around town. On May 12, one of my friends and I made two more notices with "Tibet is free and it is said by His Holiness the Dalai Lama'' and "The one who says Tibetan freedom is daydreaming is a frog from a pond.'' Finally the Chinese came to know and they took one of my friends to Lhokha Prison on November 8, 1992.

On November 18, they took two of my friends and I to the same prison. On December 30, they brought in one more of my friends. At that time I was 19 years old. The Chinese police asked us so many questions and tortured us ceaselessly. They wanted to know who was behind us, who had told us about Tibetan freedom, did our parents or teachers encourage our actions. We said no, that we did this work by ourselves. They said, ''You think you are heroes, donąt you? But you are fools.'' We said that we didnąt think we were heroes, but we wanted human rights in Tibet.

We had to cut wood and work in the authoritiesą kitchen. After five months they finally sentenced us. One of my friends was sentenced for three years and deprived of his politcal rights for one year. Two of my friends were sentenced for three years and six months and deprivied of their politcal rights for one year and six months. I was sentenced for four years and deprived of my politcal rights for one year and six months.

On May 4, 1993, they sent us to Drapchi Prison in the north of Lhasa. Soon after we reached Drapchi Prison they gave us a small booklet that contained the rules and regulations of jail. One week after they sent us to a farmhouse where we had to plant vegetables. Two prisoners worked in each vegetable garden. We had to work very hard. Our production had to be equal to 10,000 yuan in one year. Some vegetable gardens were supposed to produce more than mine.

There were two instructors who came from outside every two months for our physical training. The exercises were compulsory for everyone without considering the health of the prisoners. The prisoners who were unable to move their bodies were forced to stand at attention in the sun for several hours. Sometimes they took a prisoner to their office and made him kneel in front of them and they would ask, "Have you changed your mind or not?" If the prisoners didnąt listen, they would be tortured. We were forced to shout while doing exercises: "Your order is my command", "We deserve punishments", "I will change myself", "We will respect the Chinese Government''.

We were only allowed to meet one of our family members once in a month. From May 20, 1995 they changed the system. There were 24 small glass houses where a prisoner and a guard stayed. Our family members had to stand on the outside. The glass houses had a hole the size of a tea cap through which we had to speak. When a relative or friend came to see me, there was only 10 minutes for speaking. Although the people who came to meet me brought lots of things for me, I was only allowed to take powdered milk, sugar and butter from them. The extra things were sent back. When my family asked if they could give me something extra the guards scolded and threatened my family.

I was released on November 17, 1996. The authorities said that I was not allowed stay in my monastery as before, and I had to stay with my family. I couldnąt talk about politics. The Chinese authorities labeled me an enemy of the state, and forced me to come to the county office once a month. As a result of the horrible rules, I decided to leave Tibet and come to India.

My main purpose in coming to India was to see His Holiness the Dalai Lama and to study. I came to India in 1997. The journey took three days by truck and eighteen days walking over the mountains that separate Tibet from Nepal. I had to pay a guide 1000 yaun. I stayed one week in the Tibetan Reception Centre in Katmandu, Nepal. After several days, I reached the Refugee Reception Centre in Dharamsala and I had an audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I then went to study at the Tibetan Transit School. There I studied Tibetan and English for two years and eight months. Then I joined the Gu Chu Sum Movement on April 10, 2000. Now I'm studying Tibetan, English, and Computer Skills. I'm extremely happy here. After my studies are finished, I plan to serve our Government in Exile. Dharamsala is now my home.

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