Palden Gyatso


Protest against tyranny can take many forms. The life of Tibetan Monk Palden Gyatso exemplifies the determination and endurance needed to expose extreme authoritarianism.  Arrested for demonstrating against the Chinese invasion and cultural genocide of Tibet, he endured 33 years of political imprisonment in concentration camps. Despite the inevitable consequence of brutal torture he did not relent in his indignation, repeatedly risking his own freedom in the name of freedom for the greater society. 


China’s violent suppression of Tibetans punished people for expressing resistance. Under unrelenting pressure Palden Gyatso’s spirit refused to be broken, proving that no matter how much cruelty you may experience, you can always choose love over fear. 

Oppressors will always deny that they are oppressors. All I can do is bear witness and set down what I saw and heard and what the strange journey of my life has been.

- Palden Gyatso, Fire Under The Snow

The human body can bear immeasurable pain and yet recover. Wounds can heal. But once your spirit is broken, everything falls apart.

- Palden Gyatso, Autobiography of a Tibetan Monk

No power, no matter how powerful [they] may be, cannot make the sun rise from the west...

The truth will always remain the truth.

- Palden Gyatso, with Amnesty International

So we did not allow ourselves to be dejected.

We drew strength from our convictions and, above all, from our belief that we were fighting for justice and for the freedom of our country.

- Palden Gyatso, Autobiography of a Tibetan Monk

I never regretted what I did. I did not put up the posters to alleviate my own suffering, but for the good of Tibet. The whole country was in prison, so it was not important what happened to me.

- Palden Gyatso, Compassion for My Torturer