This is the story of the Venerable Palden Gyatso who, in 1992, was released after 33 years of incarceration in Chinese prisons in Tibet, and fled to India, bringing with him tales of his torture. The book begins with his early childhood, his ordination as a monk and his studies. In 1959, he was arrested after having taken part in a non-violent demonstration for Tibetan freedom. Interrogated, shackled and beaten, he was formally labelled a reactionary and sentenced to the first of seven years of his long sentence. In the years that followed, he was a witness to the systematic rape of his culture and religion, the burning of the monasteries and all literature. He was starved, subjected to countless "study sessions" during the Cultural Revolution, and repeatedly beaten and tortured with electric shock batons until his release in 1992, on the promise that he would return to a quiet monastic life. Instead, he escaped across the Nepalese border to relate the atrocities he suffered inside the prison, and those suffered by his friends and family on the outside, to the rest of the world.
Tsering Shakya is the author of "The Dragon in the Land of the Snows: A History of Modern Tibet Since 1947"
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