The story of Chosang, a former serf

The news was updated on July 10, 2019.

Chosang, born July 1941, is a monk at Mendong Monastery in Tsochen County, Ngari Prefecture, southwest China’s Tibet. Before he became a monk, he lived in Zhulong Village in Jiangrang Township of Tsochen County. Before democratic reforms, Chosang’s family of three people were all serfs of the Meka tribe. They often did not have enough food to eat or warm clothes to wear. Thanks to democratic reforms, his family received 40 sheep and two yaks, and they bid farewell to the days of starvation. In 1984, under the Party’s policy of freedom of religious belief, Chosang shaved his head and became a monk at Mendong Monastery in Tsochen County.

The main hall of Mendong Monastery sits on the banks of Zhari Namtso Lake, the largest lake in Ngari Prefecture.78-year-old Chosang encircles the monastery for a walk almost every day. On one slope, Chosang pointed his finger towards the monastery to tell that in 2014, the government invested 1 million yuan (0.145 million US dollars) to repair the monastery’s main hall. In 2015, the water conservancy department invested 367,000 yuan (53,319.77 US dollars) to build water wells. And in 2016, the government began to build affordable housing for the monastery……. Chosang said that not only has the hardware facility of the monastery been improved, monks at Mendong Monastery also enjoy medical insurance, pension insurance, and minimum living guarantees. Everyone’s Buddhist practice and living conditions are getting better and better.

“The good policies of the Party and the government for monks to live and study have created a good environment. They eliminate our worries, and we feel the care and warmth of the Party and the government from the depths of our hearts,” Chosang said. Chosang once heard older monks in the monastery say that in old Tibet, although the higher-level monks were part of the three ruling classes, lower-level monks were targets of exploitation. Their lives were almost as tragic as serfs’, and many of them were descendants of serfs who became monks in order to survive. Every day they bore heavy physical labor such as carrying water, collecting yak dung, and boiling water for the monastery. Their living quarters were dilapidated and lamp oil was scarce, the practicing conditions were limited, and they did not have much time to study.

“My life experience has fully demonstrated that without the Communist Party, there would be no socialist New Tibet, and there would be no happy lives for the people of all ethnic groups in Tibet,” Chosang said.

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