The Tibetan catastrophe–the brutal ongoing campaign to stamp out every trace of Tibetan identity, culture, and civilization–continues unchecked after more than 35 years.
His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet writes: “This is an important book. The story must be told.” In 1991, at their first meeting in thirty years, the Dalai Lama urged his former finance minster to complete his story about Tibet as it was and about what happened there after his own escape in 1959. “Do not exaggerate,” he said. “Just speak the truth.”
Simply and without bitterness, Shuguba tells his story: he speaks of the Chinese invasion and Tibetan military resistance against overwhelming odds; the bombings, executions, and massacres; the deaths of his wife and daughter; and his own “trial” and nineteen-year imprisonment. The last surviving high official from the 14th Dalai Lama’s original government in Tibet, Tsipon Shuguba reveals information that was concealed from the outside world for over three decades. His recollections of his earlier life offer intimate views of a unique traditional society that is now all but extinct. After his release in 1980, Shuguba spent his last years in the United States, where he died in 1991 at the age of eighty-seven.
This moving personal account is based on Shuguba’s autobiography supplemented by many hours of interviews conducted by writer Sumner Carnahan and translated by Lama Kunga Rinpoche, a Tibetan high lama who is one of Shuguba’s sons. The book includes rare photos of Shuguba’s family and associates as well as views of monasteries and other Tibetan cultural treasures that have since been destroyed.