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Documents present picture of Tibet's brutal past
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It reads: "I, Drashi Choda, belong to the Nari Monastery of the Nari Manor. I borrowed 34 khal (about 1,047 pounds) and 3 sheng (0.085 bushels) of grain from the Lharang granary in the Wood-Monkey year, the interests of which amount to 6 khal (184 pounds) and 14.5 sheng (0.41 bushels). The principal and the interest total 40 khal (1,232 pounds) and 19.3 sheng (0.49 bushels) of grain.

"As I am unable to pay back the sum annually, I ask my younger sister Tsering Lhamo, who shares weal and woe with me, to pay off my debts by doing 10 years' unpaid service for the Lharang beginning at the first day of the 12 month of this Fire-Dog year."

The contract also stipulates: "In case of violation of the contract, Drashi Choda shall be punished according to the local law."

According to old Tibetan administration records of 1950, kept at the Archive of the Tibet autonomous region, 90 percent of Tibet's 1 million people were homeless. Of the 20,000 in Lhasa at the time, more than 1,000 families lived as beggars.
Some serf owners tortured their slaves by chopping off their feet and hands, gouging out their eyeballs, cutting off their tongues or pushing them off cliffs. They could do this legally, because they were protected by the Thirteen and Sixteen Laws.
Article Four of the Thirteen Laws stipulated: "Those who loot, kidnap, steal and kill, commit armed robberies or rebel against the authorities shall be punished corporally by: gouging out the eyes; cutting off the foot, tongue or hand; being pushed off a cliff; drowning; or execution."

(China Daily April 10, 2008)

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