By Tenzin Monlam
DHARAMSHALA, June 6: The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) today held a book launch event for a biography of a former Tibetan political prisoner and an official in the Central Tibetan Administration. ‘A Tibetan Nationalist’, an autobiography of Thinley Phuntsok, an 82-year-old former political prisoner of Tibet, was unveiled by former Kalon Dongchung Ngodup.
Former Minister said that His Holiness the Dalai Lama has always placed importance on the older generation documenting their lives for the posterity, especially those who have gone through hardships at the hands of Chinese oppression. “It is important that life stories of former political prisoners be documented into books for the future generations to read,” said Dongchung Ngodup, while appreciating the NGOs such as TCHRD and Gu-Chu-Sum for making it possible.
The former minister who met the writer in Tibet during his 1983 visit to Tibet said that he was happy to launch the book, asking the youth inside and outside Tibet to read the book.
The 82-year old author, however, could not make it to the launch due to health reasons and old age. In a letter, he says, “I was so keen to visit Dharamshala and be a part of the book launch. But owing to my poor health and the long journey, I am unable to do so. It is my hope that this book will be a living testimony to the suffering of the Tibetan people.”
Tsering Tsomo, Executive Director of TCHRD, said the book is an evidence to the oppressive rule of Beijing and how much the political prisoners suffer during incarceration.
The author attended one of the English medium schools in Lhasa and participated in many protests for which he was imprisoned, including the formation of underground group ‘Resist Chinese Communism Group’ in 1967 along with few of his friends. In 1974, he and Rabgang Gonpo Sonam started the ‘Patriots Group’.
However, in 1984 he fled into exile after some of the members of the group were arrested a year earlier. In 1985, he joined CTA and worked at Department of Security for many years. In 2008, he retired and currently resides with his family in New Jersey.