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Emancipated serf Norchog: happiness begins with a bag of Tsampa

By Liu Fang, Zhu Shan Source:China Tibet News 2019年04月29日 17:34

Norchog, born in 1936, lives in Lage Village of Kongthang Town, Damxung County of Lhasa, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region. 

Over the past 60 years, Norchog has never forgotten a bag of Tsampa (roasted highland barley flour) from the People's Liberation Army, which has also marked the beginning of his happiness.

Before 1959, all 6 members of Norchog's family made a living by begging. 

When he was a child, his family lived in a small tent made of rags. "We suffered from rain leakage in summer and coldness in winter. There was only one shabby Tibetan robe for 6 people and who went outside for begging could wear the robe." said Norchog. 

In spring, he dug "Ren Shenguo" (potentilla anserina) to exchange a bit food; his mother dyed cloth for the slightest possibility of getting a little Tsampa. But after paying heavy taxes, they had not much left. Therefore, they always didn't have enough to eat. At that time, Jangra Monastery held Buddhist activities every autumn. After that rite, Norchog grabbed half-burnt sacrifice food from wild dogs' mouths to eat. Only at that moment, he could have a full meal.

In 1959, a sweeping democratic reform was launched by people of all ethnic groups in Tibet, which overthrew Tibet's feudal serfdom and brought the basic human rights of equity and freedom. Since then, Norchog's hometown changed. 

In 1963, 19-year-old Norchog took part in the construction of Damxung Airport. After one month, he got 46 silver dollars (China's old currency), 0.5kg of butter, a Tibetan tea brick, and a bag of Tsampa; he bought some cattle, candies and highland barely wine with the silver dollars. This was his first time to be paid well, and his first time to have a whole bag of Tsampa.

Over the past 60 years, Norchog's family has experienced tremendous improvement. Now they live in a roomy Tibetan style house. "Thanks to the policies of the Communist Party of China (CPC), with pension insurance and subsidy for grassland conservation, we live an affluent life." Norchog said, "After two months, we will move to the 'Sunshine Villas' built by the government, the new community boasts an even better living environment with complete facilities."

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