The rare collection of photos of the Cultural Revolution in Tibet has never been shown in the West. Taken by a colonel of the Chinese Liberation Army, Tsering Dorjee, with who had unfettered access to these historic events, the photos were discovered by his daughter, Woeser, following his death in 1991.
Woeser traced the stories captured in these photos by interviewing hundreds of Tibetans who participated, witnessed, or were otherwise affected by the unprecedented events 40 years ago.
The images depict how in 1966 the Red Guards looted and destroyed Tibet's holiest monasteries, humiliated its prominent citizens and religious figures, and attempted to brainwash its entire population. The photos reveal an important part of Tibetan history that has been hidden from view for the last 40 years. They fill an important gap in the world's understanding of what went on inside Tibet in 1966 and provide the historical context for China's current policy toward Tibet as well as Tibetans' attitudes toward the Han Chinese.
Woeser is the author of several books on Tibet that include poetry, biographies, and essays. A devoted Buddhist, she praised the Dalai Lama as the spiritual guidance of the Tibetan people in her 2003 book Notes on Tibet, for which she was fired as the editor of a Tibetan literary magazine and banned from publishing in China. In July 2006, her popular blogs were ordered to be shut down by the authorities. Woeser continues to write on the situation of the Tibetan people. Her writing is published in Hong Kong and Taiwan.