(2/4) Just after my father was put in jail, the monks all signed a petition, which we photocopied and threw everywhere in the streets, asking for our freedom and for genocide to stop in Tibet. Because the Chinese didn’t know exactly who put the petition on the street, they came in and beat up not only the monks, but everybody in the village. Eventually, I decided I had to run away to India because I knew that they would find out the truth, and it was too risky for me to stay.
First, I walked to Lhasa with my friend. For the first few weeks, I felt like I was nearly dying because it was so exhausting, but then I got used to it. When we left it was autumn but then it changed to winter, and we got lost – so we ended up walking for 6 months. We survived by asking for food from people in the small villages along the way. Then, after we got to Lhasa, we left for India. We walked through the Himalayas for 1 month and 17 days.
Thousands try to make this voyage every year, but only 1% make it. If you don’t die from the cold, you get shot by the Chinese police. I was lucky we had a very clever guide – we walked only at night and during the day we were covered in some fabric which was the same colour as the mountain.
My family is not allowed to have a phone, but when I arrived in India, I called our neighbour and my father came to their phone, and I was able to tell him I was alive.
I remember I was so happy, because I had seen the Dalai Llama and he had said a few words to me. I had thought he lived in the sky so I couldn’t believe it when I really saw him in the flesh!