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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."


September 15, 2008

Grim Tales Describing Hard Times in Tibet
September 13, 2008, The New York Times


"Tibet: Beyond Fear," on Saturday on the satellite channel Link TV, is 
advocacy filmmaking at its most brazen: it ends with a direct appeal 
from the Dalai Lama for the free-Tibet cause. But it has an emotional 
pull rather than a manipulative feel, thanks to the two personal 
stories at its center and the people who tell them.

They are a Tibetan Buddhist nun named Ngawang Sangdrol and a monk 
named Bagdro, and their straightforward accounts of what happened to 
them when they began to speak out against the Chinese government are 
told with a calm understatement that makes them riveting.

Both are far too young to have experienced the Chinese invasion of 
1950; they tell of how they became aware of Tibet's modern history 
only gradually because the older generation was too afraid of reprisal 
to talk about it. Eventually, though, they learned the facts and began 
protesting. Ngawang Sangdrol was imprisoned as a teenager in 1992; 
Bagdro, somewhat older, was jailed in 1988.

Both were eventually released and told their stories in the West; 
their broken English in this film is, somehow, part of what makes them 
so compelling. Ngawang Sangdrol, for instance, who would not stop 
protesting even while in prison and ultimately ended up with a 23-year 
sentence, describes this way her sister's reaction when she was 
unexpectedly released in 2002:

"They told my sister pick up me. Then they says my sister cry. My 
sister thought it was just body. I'm died, she thought."
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