CHENGDU, China — In 1981, the year I graduated from junior high school in Kangding in the Tibetan region of Kham, high schools inChina’s heartland were starting to recruit ethnic minorities like me. In official parlance, this was the beginning of what was to become a larger “Help Tibet” campaign. Minority students were plucked from their native villages to be “cultivated” in Chinese schools in order to serve their people and the nation.
I enrolled in the preparatory high school for the Southwest University for Nationalities in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province. A few other Tibetans and I were among the first guinea pigs in Beijing’s grand education experiment. I was eager to get away from my parents and yearned to go off to a big city — and Chengdu was it. [Source]