“According to what I have seen, the Chinese authorities have been implementing the birth control policy in my area since February or March of 1997. I saw a woman who lives next door to my uncle be inserted with a contraceptive and then four months later she brought home a dead baby,” says 13 year old Jampa Tenzin who recently fled Tibet. He reports on the systematic insertion of a long-term contraceptive in all Tibetan women in his area above 16 years of age. From Jampa’s description the device seems to work, like the contraceptive “Norplant”, through the gradual release of hormones.
Jampa lived with his uncle in Doba village, Jamdoon Shang, in Drayab county in the “Tibetan Autonomous Region”. He says, “There are about 100 to 150 households in my village. Jamdoon is the closest town to our village; it is bigger and better facilitated than the villages. The Chinese authorities have established a hospital and an animal husbandry there. As far as I know, there are ten villages surrounding Jamdoon shang (town): Chon-go, Dzo-ku, Go-tu, Re-li, Da-do, Lho-lung, Lha-sung, Tse-sung, La-Phag Gon, and Yong-po.
Immediately upon arriving in my village the Chinese officials called a meeting of the village elders and ordered that all girls above 16 years of age must undergo birth control operations. Tibetan women living in all the nearby villages were ordered by the Chinese authorities to come to the Jamdoon hospital to be forcibly inserted with a contraceptive.
I have actually seen this contraceptive being inserted. A small cut is made at the top of the woman’s arm , a small piece of rubber tube is inserted and then it is stitched back up. They say that the insertion of this contraceptive works for five to ten years to prevent a baby forming in the womb.
I heard of three cases of women from my village who, after being forced to undergo such an operation while they were pregnant, gave birth to dead babies. Many Tibetan women must undergo this operation even in the later stages of pregnancy.
I personally saw one of these three cases. The woman was the daughter-in-law of the Paikok family who lived next to my uncle’s house. She was almost five months pregnant when the officials operated on her, inserting this type of contraceptive into her arm.
Later she went to Chamdo for the delivery of her baby but the baby was dead when it was born. I saw the dead child when the mother brought it home. The Chinese officials later threatened Tibetans in the area with dire consequences if anyone dared speak of the delivery of the dead child.
If the Tibetan women don’t turn up for the operation, they are fined between 1500 to 3000 yuan. (Between US$ 200 to $400). This amount is a lot for the poor Tibetan people and so finally, even though they don’t want to, they must undergo this operation. Now every Tibetan woman in the villages above 16 years has been operated on.”
Jampa Tenzin arrived in India in August 1997. He was sent into exile by his family in order to receive education. Although he attended a school in Chamdo for three years, he was forced to leave because he was not able to follow the lessons. The teachers at the school were reportedly sent by Chinese authorities from Amdo and U-Tsang and, as Jampa and others in his area spoke a Kham dialect, he says that he could not understand them. Leaving his uncle and parents behind, he escaped Tibet together with his twelve-year-old cousin.