Some photos from Woeser


As noted by Reporters Without Borders, blogs belonging to poet and essayist Woeser have been pulled from two Chinese blog providers.

Belatedly, then, we bring you some photos and comments that Woeser posted while her blogs were open.

At the launch of the Qinghai-Tibet railroad, she commented on the flags and banners covering the city of Lhasa:

The train runs to Lhasa. Golmud beats the drum around the waist of northern Shaanxi, and Lhasa dances that old wordless dance.

My friend P.K told me about a website that is full of posts about the banners and balloons and fluttering red flags over the past few days.

"The Q-T Railroad is the line to happiness for all the peoples of Tibet."

Such jubilance nearly drove reporters from CCTV and Phoenix TV stations to shout: Tibetans are so patriotic!

Yes, yes, that old saying that I don't want to say; not loving the country brings a penalty, do you understand?!

My friend from Lhasa said that to welcome visitors from all parts, the fee collectors at Lhasa's public toilets were given a salary card; reportedly during the celebrations for the opening of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway they were not permitted to collect defecation fees from anyone, and the state would temporarily pay the workers' salaries, ha!

[in the comments]

This is a comment I wrote on another friend's blog:

For Spring Festival, every one must hang a flag. For Tibetan New Year, every house must hang a flag. For May 1, every house must hang a flag. For October 1, every house must hang a flag. At any "major day," flag hanging is Barkhor Street it is the same, every community organization in Lhasa is the same. If a house wants to hang a flag out of a personal wish, then perhaps this may mean something, but when you are forced to hang it, that unnaturalness, that indescribable awkwardness. Why isn't it the families of cadres in all government departments that are forced to hang flags, but rather the common people - is it that the cadres are more enlightened? Or is it to let the people who come to Tibet understand how much the Tibetan people love their country? I asked an old man in the community committee why he had to hang a flag, and his answer was: the higher-ups require it; if we don't hang a flag then we'll be sorry.

Note: "Sorry" means a fine. Light fines, and heavy ones....


Last month, Woeser ran a series of photographs from a book she published in February. Forbidden Memory: Tibet During the Cultural Revolution collects several hundred photographs taken by her father during the CR; Woeser captioned the photos, wrote essays on historical events and the changes experienced in the intervening years, and interviewed several dozen Tibetans of her father's generation.

The book's Chinese title is "Killing and Plunder" (杀劫), pronounced "sha jie," which happens to be the pronunciation of the word "revolution" in Tibetan. Woeser writes:

Many homophones in Chinese can be found for ["revolution" in Tibetan]; my choice of "killing and plunder" was made to symbolize the disaster that revolution has brought to Tibet since the 1950s. Forty years ago, another revolution, the "Cultural Revolution," swept over Tibet, and in front of "sha jie" was added ["culture" in Tibetan]. The pronunciation of ["culture" in Tibetan] can be written in Chinese phonetics as "ren lei", or close to the pronunciation of "humanity" (人类) in Chinese. So to use Chinese to express the word for "Cultural Revolution" in Tibetan becomes for the Tibetan people a "killing and plundering of humanity."


Woeser was spurred to write Forbidden Memories by the Tibet-focused writer Wang Lixiong, and the two later married. In the book's introduction, Wang writes:

In both Cultural Revolution studies and in the collation of Cultural Revolution material there has been a blank - Tibet. The most complete collection of CR material, China's Cultural Revolution Library Discs (published by the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2002), assembles more than 10,000 files, transcripts, and other documents; only 8 of these relate to Tibet. The New Collection of Red Guard Publications published by the China Information Center in Washington, DC, collected 3100 Red Guard publications, and only four of those were publications from Tibet. Like CR researcher and CR materials collator Song Yuanying wrote to me in a letter, "Material from Tibet could be said to be sorely lacking...we truly understand too little about the CR in Tibet!"

Even in official archives in the Tibet Autonomous Region, there is a discontinuity between 1966 and 1971. There are only three records left from those six years. And from the two years of fiercest fighting at the start of the CR there is not one thing left.

In the face of the world, the CR is awkward for the CCP, and Tibet is awkward as well, so the CR in Tibet is a doubly forbidden region, one which it is even less permissible to approach. The Tibet's Century in Pictures photobook compiled in 1999 by the CCP United Front department had not a single photograph of the CR out of hundreds of pictures; it seems the ten years between 1966 and 1976 never existed in Tibet's history.

Interestingly, though Woeser's blog is has been killed, photos still remain on the Daqi servers, and individual pages are currently accessible through Sogou's cache system (and Google's, probably). Check out Locus Publishing's site for the Forbidden Memory book if the cache vanishes.

UPDATE: Woeser's blog can be found at She's posted more photos from the book there.

Links and Sources
There are currently 25 Comments for Some photos from Woeser.

Comments on Some photos from Woeser

Thank you for sharing this with us. A few of us have been following this story and trying to get links and comments out about it. So it is good to get to see some of her work.

Yeah thanks for sharing, I never had the opportunity to visit her blogs before... It's really a pity they got shut down.

Wosier la
Thank you for what you are doing under very difficult condition - Please keep up with your work.

Dear Woeser la,
Thank you so much for what you have been doing for the freedom of TRUTH. You are our beloved VOICE for the voiceless. Keep it up. You are not forgotten.

Woeser la,

Your brave and smart writings have inspired many. More so when you are fighting for the truth with great personal risk. Thanks so much.

只好在此 祝你生日快乐

all the best,

Dear Woeser, hats off to you. I am really impress with your work and dedication. Please contact me once if you can. I have many more things to share.

The world is getting smaller and time is running out..I really appreciate your courage,determination,and responsibility towards Free Tibet movements..If there’s leadership,,Youths are ready….Good Luck for every Missions for the cause of Tibet..
Tibet’s Freedom Struggle is Not a Waste Dream…..

From Konchok

Visit me at:

dear woeser la

you are my hope. you are my inspiration.
i admire you so much. you are my star.


Woeser La,
I have, so far had the pleasure to read only couple of your writings. I found them very inspiring and powerful.
Your courage and honesty on Tibet is highly appreciated.


Woeser. Brillant photos and a great campaign. I want to subsrcibe to your blog- but I do not read mandarin/ cantoneese. Do you have an english version?

woser, a light in the darkness.

You are our inspiration. you are light in darkness. Fire in the midst of freeze. Let your Tibetan spirit keep on living high and proud...

Thank you from our heart and mind

You are an inspiration to everyone!!!
Thank you!!!

Ache woeser la,
You are a great freedom fighter of Tibet as you are my hope in my future!
sincerely Thargyal.

Ache woeser la,
You are a great freedom fighter of Tibet as you are my hope in my future!
sincerely Thargyal.

Woser la,
I am waving you and give a hug from the world far, far away from you. I admire you and respect your unchanged devotions in truth, justice and freedom. Nobody hate Chinese people, but we must wake up the Chinese nationalists and let them know that because of their irresponsible actions and deep faith in violence. Tibetans have been suffered and are now facing a great danger of loose their national and cultural identity.
Hold the flag of freedom. We love you and support you.
George Washington

I don't understand how this article has drawn attention from far far away...and they all point to the same direction. Are those cooments all from the same camp?(free-t-bet groups??) i am just wondering....
As for Woeser's comments, I have to say it is kinda biased.

Woser la
When I see those photos I can remember a triable story which my mother told me.

you are very brave woman and i salute your courage.i know its not easy to be what you are and its a great bleassing to all humankind who suffers in the hands of another to see your courage. "Hope is a good thing,maybe the best of things,and no good thing dies"..

tashi delek woeser la! It's been a long time i've thought about writing to you .... I've visited your blog before it was closed , and i really admire your work and thank you for what you 're doing !

thanks for what have you written for the great course and i wish you all the best for the future take good care of yourself.

Dear Woeser la, I have a friend who knows you personally. My admiration for you can be expressed only by my tears. My prayers for us as a Tibetan woman is "may we meet if not in this life in a free Tibet, at least hoping to meet you in a Free Tibet in our future lives"! Bod Gyalo!

Woser la,
I often read your articles. Those makes so different and thanks Woser.

dear woser,
thank you a lot for your bravery. keep it up with firm solidarity. thank you very much for your concern on tibet issue in this critical time.

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