Tibetan, who spent 27 years in Chinese prison, dies

Tibetan, who spent 27 years in Chinese prison, dies

Adhe Tapontsang

Tribune News Service
Dharamsala, August 3

The oldest surviving Tibetan who spent 27 years under custody of the Chinese Government passed away today at McLeodganj. Adhe Tapontsang, who spent 27 years in Chinese prisons for resisting the Chinese occupation of Tibet, passed away at her home in McLeodganj. She was 92 and reportedly died due to natural causes.

Survived 27 years of imprisonment

  • Born in 1928 to a nomadic family in the Kham region of eastern Tibet, Adhe joined the Tibetan resistance to fight the Chinese invasion of her country that began in 1950.
  • In 1954, when her first child was one-year-old, and she was pregnant with the second, her husband died of poisoning. She then joined the Tibetan resistance.
  • In 1958, she was arrested and separated from her two young children. She was subjected to interrogation and torture, and sent to re-education camps. She was sent for forced labour where she experienced extreme deprivation, torture, and was raped during 27 years of imprisonment. She was released in 1985.
  • She fled to India in 1987, and made McLeodganj, exile seat of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan administration, her home. 

Born in 1928 to a nomadic family in the Kham region of eastern Tibet, Adhe joined the Tibetan resistance to fight the Chinese invasion of her country that began in 1950.

In 1954, when her first child was one-year-old, and she was pregnant with the second, her husband died of poisoning. She then joined the Tibetan resistance.

In 1958, she was arrested and separated from her two young children. She was subjected to interrogation and torture, and sent to re-education camps. She was sent for forced labour where she experienced extreme deprivation, torture, and was raped during 27 years of imprisonment. She was released in 1985.

She fled to India in 1987, and made McLeodganj, exile seat of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan administration, her home. She released her life story in a book “Ama Adhe: The Voice That Remembers: The Heroic Story of a Woman’s Fight to Free Tibet,” published in 1997.

The book describes the inhuman conditions that she and countless others were forced to endure after the Chinese invasion, and the subsequent brutalities that Tibetans had to endure, including the destruction of Buddhist monasteries and the implementation of policies resulting in mass starvation.

Cremation ceremonies for Ama Adhe will be held on Wednesday morning at McLeodganj.

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