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Memories of Life in Lhasa Under Chinese Rule [Hardcover]

by Tubten Khétsun, Matthew Akester
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 20, 2007 0231142862 978-0231142861

Born in 1941, Tubten Khétsun is a nephew of the Gyatso Tashi Khendrung, one of the senior government officials taken prisoner after the Tibetan peoples' uprising of March 10, 1959. Khétsun himself was arrested while defending the Dalai Lama's summer palace, and after four years in prisons and labor camps, he spent close to two decades in Lhasa as a requisitioned laborer and "class enemy."

In this eloquent autobiography, Khétsun describes what life was like during those troubled years. His account is one of the most dispassionate, detailed, and readable firsthand descriptions yet published of Tibet under the Communist occupation. Khétsun talks of his prison experiences as well as the state of civil society following his release, and he offers keenly observed accounts of well-known events, such as the launch of the Cultural Revolution, as well as lesser-known aspects of everyday life in occupied Lhasa.

Since Communist China continues to occupy Tibet, the facts of this era remain obscure, and few of those who lived through it have recorded their experiences at length. Khétsun's story will captivate any reader seeking a refreshingly human account of what occurred during the Maoists' shockingly brutal regime.


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Editorial Reviews

Review

Demonstrates in full detail the human tragedy of Maoist rule in a land whose tradition it despised and tried to destroy.

(Kirkus Reviews)

A welcome and informative addition on this little-understood and highly polemicized subject.

(George Fitzherbert Times Literary Supplement)

This book provides an important piece of the puzzle for those seeking to understand the experience of ordinary Tibetans since 1959.

(Rick Carew Far Eastern Economic Review)

evocatively written and beautifully translated

(China Review International 1900-01-00)

A powerful indictment of the physical and psychological exploitation of the Tibetan people and natural environment in the service of building a "new" China.

(Benno Ryan Weiner The Journal of Asian Studies 1900-01-00)

Review

A tremendously moving and important document. Tubten Khétsun modestly claims that his is not a tale of greatness, heroism, nor historical significance but the story of an ordinary Tibetan who lived a life of 'animal servitude' under Communist Chinese rule. Yet the straightforward, rancor-free recounting of the banal details of 'normal' life in occupied Tibet gives this work the kind of compelling verisimilitude of Solzhynitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.

(Jamyang Norbu, author of Warriors of Tibet: The Story of Aten and the Khampas' Fight for the Freedom of Their Country)

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (December 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231142862
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231142861
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,062,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Tubten Khetsun provides a remarkably detailed and vivid account of what Tibetans have undergone during and following the brutal take over of their land by China during the period between 1959-1979. He takes you in with him during his struggle to survive in what has been the darkest period of Tibet's history and leaves you amazed and grateful in his personal victory and emancipation while simulataneously feeling open-hearted for the terrible suffering that the Tibetans have undergone. This is not only of interest from a hisorical perspective, but more importantly, from a humanitarian perspective...it's a must read!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A breathtaking memoir August 10, 2011
Format:Hardcover
This is an excellent journey into the beginning of cultural genocide started by the Chinese in Tibet in late 1950s. It gives an incredibly vivid picture of the degree of suffering Tibetan people had to go through during the height of the atrocious Cultural Revolution.

An indispensable read for anyone who wishes to understand the circumstances under which China annexed the Himalayan nation. The extent to which the Chinese managed to implement their radical communist ideals is also indicative of the bloody foundations modern Chinese state is based upon.
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