NEW LIFE: Former serfs celebrate the Democratic Reform in Tibet by burning their indenture papers in 1959 (CHEN ZONGLIE)Between 1956 and 1980, Chen Zonglie, a retired photojournalist of Beijing Review, spent 24 years working at Tibet Daily. With his camera, he brought to light the stories of people living in urban and rural areas of a rapidly changing Tibet. He shared his memories of Tibet with Beijing Review.What obstacles did you overcome while working in Tibet?
In July 1956, I left Beijing for Tibet. I was 24 years old and never imagined I would spend the next 24 years in Tibet. In some ways I was fortunate to work in the region, but at the time staying in Tibet wasn't easy. Living conditions were harsh. It is extremely cold in winter and I got night blindness due to the shortage of vegetables and fruits.
The climate and the diet weren't the only obstacles. I encountered cultural differences, and initially had difficulty communicating with local people. However, not once in my 24 years did I regret my decision to work in the region.
I went to almost every part of Tibet and took many photographs, which now serve as an invaluable record of the history of Tibet.【1】 【2】 【3】 【4】 【5】