A Selection of Woeser’s Instagram Posts from Summers of 2018 and 2019


High Peaks Pure Earth has translated a selection of Woeser’s posts on her Instagram account from the two summers in 2018 and 2019. These are the times that Woeser either spends time in Lhasa or on travels.
In these Instagram posts we see her in Lhasa and on various trips and pilgrimages. See translations of previous Instagram posts here and here.

Woeser actively posts on her Instagram account most days, follow her here: https://www.instagram.com/tsering_woeser/
You can also follow High Peaks Pure Earth on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/hpeaks/
JULY 2018


July 2, 2018
It is said that this is Lhasa’s best kindergarten. At the entrance it says: “Educating complete children with an international vision.” When I passed by in the morning, I happened to see teachers educating the children, making them study and perform a classical “patriotic education” program: Anti-Japanese drama–Wang Erxiao, the young anti-Japanese hero…… #lhasa


July 3, 2018
I am not sure if all kindergartens are teaching children anti-Japanese dramas–hearing them perform this Wang Erxiao that I am so familiar with, I have to think about the Tibetan kids I saw yesterday, carrying toy guns, acting out Japanese devils, it is really frightening. This is not Lhasa! Can we stop this education of hatred…#lhasa


July 6, 2018
On the Dalai Lama’s 83rd birthday, I went to his home in Lhasa…Norbulingka to pay homage and pray #lhasa

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在香格里拉(结塘),新立的。#tibet

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July 8, 2018
Newly erected in Shangri-La (Gyalthang).


July 9, 2018
This morning I once again went to watch the “Anti-Japanese drama–Wang Erxiao, the young anti-Japanese hero” performed at the kindergarten next door. I noticed how the parents all laughed and clearly did not think that there was anything wrong with this. I sighed. The program lasted for five minutes. #lhasa


July 12, 2018
A Qipao performance by teachers of the kindergarten. #lhasa


July 12, 2018
At last the six-minutes-long anti-Japanese play. The audience use northern Tibetan dialect to laugh out: “Japanese devils, Japanese devils (Ra ben Guizi)”. After I recorded this, the depressed me could return home.


July 13, 2018
This kindergarten is really weird. Yesterday, braving the rain, the parents all came out with their umbrellas to watch, so why again today? Do the children have to perform again Jigong, the Three character classics and Wang Erxiao and do the teachers have to perform their Qipao dance etc. again? I went outside to take a brief look, just as the teachers performed their Qipao dance with the narrator saying: “…as garments that represent the beauty of oriental women, the Qipao is the bright pearl of excellent ethnic culture…” #lhasa


July 14, 2018
A painting by my favourite Tibetan artist Nyandak appeared in Jyeku.


July 18, 2018
The poor golden Yak, being ridden by tourists every day; adults ride it, little children ride it. By the way, “pandas” (secret police) also ride it… #lhasa


July 18, 2018
“What is this?” “Yak penis” “How much is it?” “180. Buy one, they have all been buying one.” This is what the woman wrapping the yak penis said to the tourists taking photos. #lhasa

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“国务院大督查来了!”#lhasa

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July 18, 2018
“The State Council grand investigation is here!” #lhasa


July 18, 2018
The Potala Palace behind the red wall of the TAR Party Committee and government (taken from the Lingkor route). #lhasa

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尧西达孜没了。。(拍摄于2018年4月)#lhasa

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July 21, 2018
Yabzhi Taktser is gone… (taken in April 2018) #lhasa


July 24, 2018
At Tromsikhang market. It is rare to see foreigners these days, not like in the 1990s. #lhasa


July 24, 2018
Tourists from all over China, wearing stage-like Tibetan dresses, holding prayer wheels and prayer beads that look like props, wandering around Tibetan-style Disneyland, posing in all kinds of ways.


July 24, 2018
Prayer wheels used like this. But actually, it is not even clear if there are any texts inside or if this is just a prop. #lhasa

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大昭寺的新金顶。#lhasa #大昭寺

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July 26, 2018
The new golden roof of the Jokhang Temple. #lhasa


July 27, 2018
I noticed that portraits of Gyalwa Karmapa are openly on sale in Lhasa. #lhasa #Karmapa


July 27, 2018
This pile of differently coloured cards, some sweet tea, some Tibetan noodles, some potato curry, some meat buns, some liangfen… the man wearing the mask will never give out the wrong one. #lhasa #seramonastery
AUGUST 2018


August 2, 2018
Yesterday, I went to Yamdrok Lake. When I arrived in the afternoon, it was raining. Suddenly I heard the pounding of a drum, dong dong dong. But it did not sound like the drum typically found in Tibetan Buddhism. In the midst of the drum sound, I could also hear the long-drawn voice of a woman. It was the kind of melody used when summoning the dead. I noticed a pole next to the lake; the attached khata was flapping in the wind, it was an uncanny scene. When the woman had finished, I went over to talk to her. She looked honest and sounded friendly as she spoke. The skin around her mouth was bleeding. She said that she was from Zhejiang Province and that she had taken her son to travel through Tibet. She had come to the lake to play the drum for the spirits and recite the Lotus Sutra. She asked me if I wanted to beat the drum as well. I glanced at the little white figure next to the lake and tactfully declined. #tibet

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太会找地方呆着了。#lhasa #色拉寺

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#lhasa #色拉寺

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August 3, 2018
He really knows the good spots in town. #lhasa #sera

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盯梢者。#lhasa #色拉寺

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August 4, 2018
My “tail”. #lhasa #sera


August 5, 2018
This yak was walking alone in the streets of Lhasa in the middle of the night. (Photo taken by a friend) #lhasa


August 6, 2018
“I like the locals here. They never haggle. When they say 18 Yuan, it is 18 Yuan. When they say 50 Yuan, it is 50 Yuan. No bargaining. They are honest and kind-hearted. I never ever met such nice locals anywhere in China. I like it here. I want to settle down here.” #lhasa

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进帕廓排队过安检。#lhasa

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August 7, 2018
Queuing up for a security check to enter the Barkhor. #lhasa


August 7, 2018
I used fabric that my good friend had sent me from Jinan. A Tibetan garment made at 777. #lhasa


August 8, 2018
A pedestrian bridge full of slogans. Also, traffic jam has already become the daily norm in Lhasa. #lhasa
(The two slogans on the bridge read: 1. “Thoroughly Study and Implement Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” 2. “Be conscious of staying in close unison in both thoughts and deeds with the Party Central Committee with Xi Jinping at its core”)


August 8, 2018
This tall building is the Lhasa City Public Security Bureau Science and Information Technology Building, also known as the “pro-Tibet project”. #lhasa


August 9, 2018
A cat at Derge Printing House. #tibet

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神力时代购物广场的房产广告。#lhasa

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August 9, 2018
A real estate advertisement at the Shenli (Divine) Times Square Shopping Mall. #lhasa


August 9, 2018
“Remove the red of the plateau”, 6800 Yuan. A cosmetic surgery advertisement in a taxi. #lhasa


August 10, 2018
The photo and caption comes from a friend from the Serthar Larung Gar Buddhist Institute: “At 3 in the afternoon, I finally arrived at the place that I had been yearning for for many years, the Serthar Larung Gar Buddhist Institute. I was surprised that it had become a scenic spot and one that was very badly managed. There weren’t actually that many people, but they were pushing in and the traffic situation was terrible. A single lane had been turned into a double lane, the driver was charging people one by one, extremely inefficient. I had to queue for four hours to get onto the bus to the scenic area. The view and light at 7pm wasn’t very good anymore. The last bus was leaving at 9, so I had to return early to queue up again and so also missed the nightscape. If you want to set up a scenic spot, then do it well. And if you don’t do it well, at least don’t block the road so that people can get there themselves.” #tibet

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青藏铁路。火车驶出拉萨。#lhasa

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August 10, 2018
Qinghai-Tibet Railway. The train is leaving Lhasa. #lhasa


August 11, 2018
The Tibetologist Katia Buffetrille is perhaps the first westerner ever to complete the Amnye Machen pilgrimage, namely in September 1990. She spent eight full days, eating and sleeping outdoors with a few nomads (the first three days, she only ate dried yak meat). The day after tomorrow, she is going to walk Amnye Machen for the fourth time. For me, it will be the first time. But it is an honour to do it with such an experienced scholar. The photo shows our happy meeting.

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美丽的满头发辫。#tibet

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August 13, 2018
Beautifully braided hair. #tibet


August 18, 2018
Finally, I have signal again. On the second day of our pilgrimage (Katia said it should be the first day). We walked 19,457 steps. 12.8km. It took three and a half hours. The temperature is 18.7 degrees. We arrived at Metokthang. I’m not sure about the altitude. On the way, we passed the sacred land Dolma Bumdzong. We rode our horses to cross rivers. We offered mani stones, hung up prayer flags and burnt incense. We came across a few pilgrims from Ngaba who washed their hair with the water from the river. #AmnyeMachen


August 18, 2018
The first day of our pilgrimage. We walked 19,457 steps. 12.8km. It took three and a half hours. The temperature is 18.7 degrees. I like Kangre, this beautiful horse. #AmnyeMachen


August 18, 2018
The first day of our pilgrimage. I noticed this barbed wire fence. #AmnyeMachen


August 18, 2018
The second day of our pilgrimage: we crossed the Tamchok Gongkha pass (4680 metres), saw Amnye Machen and felt grateful, prostrated nine times, offered windhorse flags, incense and alcohol.


August 18, 2018
Last time tonight that I look at my phone. I’m not sure if I’m going to have any signal tomorrow. What I would like to say is that the moment I saw Amnye Machen today, I thought to myself: a rainbow would make this even more perfect. In the evening, after we had finished our instant noodles and were about to retreat into our tents, there it was: the rainbow. I was so happy. I saw the Amnye Machen rainbow. Much brighter than any rainbow I have seen before. #AmnyeMachen


August 19, 2018
Today is the fifth day of our pilgrimage. We are in Tawo township, after breakfast we will continue… our hands and faces are already more wheat-coloured than wheat. They are dark brown. But everything else is normal. #AmnyeMachen

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刚才所见。#阿尼玛卿

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August 20, 2018
Just saw this. #AmnyeMachen

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刚刚遇见这么多牦牛😄#阿尼玛卿

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August 22, 2018
Just came across this huge group of yaks. 😄#AmnyeMachen


August 23, 2018
I didn’t think that I would find the Tibetan version of the Russian “Kvass” here: “Ge Wa Si” (“格瓦斯)! And it even tastes quite good. 😂😂 #machen


August 23, 2018
This yak followed me for quite a while. I felt a bit sad when it finally parted… #AmnyeMachen


August 24, 2018
Last month in Lhasa, I wrote a poem about Amnye Machen. Last month’s dream has already come true. I took these two photos today. My eyes are fixed on Amnye Machen. #AmnyeMachen


August 26, 2018
In July 2007, Wang Lixiong went to Ragya Monastery and met Ludrup Sangpo. The two had met in 1984 at Sharo Monastery when Wang Lixiong was travelling along the Yellow River. Ludrup Sangpo invited Wang to stay in the monastery for the night. After my pilgrimage, on my way back to Xining, I passed by Ragya Monastery to visit the 82-year-old Lama and to pray for his health and longevity. #RagyaMonastery


August 27, 2018
Bye bye, my dear Katia❤️. We have hiked two holy mountains (Kawa Karpo, Amnye Machen) together. You are the best👍. I have learnt so much from you about everything. Which mountain will we climb next? 😜 #AmnyeMachen

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转帕廓的狗狗。#lhasa

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August 29, 2018
Little dogs walking along the Barkhor. #lhasa
AUGUST 2019


August 5, 2019
Finally, I managed to integrate a line from the book “1984” in a poem that I wrote in April last year: “Across the prayer hall, a big copper prayer wheel, accompanied by the continuous words of Buddhists, people turn it clockwise, producing a crisp bell sound, oh “it was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen”…… #tibet #lhasa


August 6, 2019
My father bought a Zeiss Icon camera in the early 1950s at a Nepalese store at Barkhor. It still works. But I don’t really know how to use it. It still uses film roll. This is the eastern side of Barkhor. Taken in October 2013.


August 8, 2019
I have always wanted to visit Harbin’s Jile Temple. Because on August 24, 1966 (see photos 1), Jile Temple was smashed (taken by Li Zhensheng). Photo 2 shows the smashing of Lhasa’s Jokhang Temple (taken by my father). Many years ago, the photographer Li Zhensheng, who shot the album “The Red News Soldier” wrote me an email, telling me that on the same day, the temples on the western and northern sides were also smashed. What I saw today at Jile Temple was all new, maybe apart from a few old trees. I asked six or seven men and women at the temple (I only saw the shadows of monks far away), but no one knew anything about the calamities back then. I showed them the photos and they were pretty indifferent…


August 9, 2019
Another name for Harbin is the city of churches. According to records, “before the 1960s, there were Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Islamic and Buddhist churches and monasteries, a total of 50 or 60.” The photo shows the Church of the Intercession. Allow me to take this liberty, but when I first looked at the blue sign, I really thought “big brother is watching you”… #Harbin


August 15, 2019
This fisherman/artist who dances shaman dance used local Hezhen minority dialect to sing the original sailor’s song from Wusu. As he was singing he was moving as if being on stage. Maybe it is because recently the Hezhen folk customs park was putting on performances for tourists. Yes, he admires “teacher Guo Song who sings the sailor’s song from Wusu.” I told him that I thought that he sang very well, but he said that he was not as good as teacher Guo Song. OK. I actually said another sentence to myself: this is actually an example of self-colonisation.


August 15, 2019
This Shaman dancer’s name was Wu Fusheng, but in his own language it was pronounced as Wu Ding Ke Fu Shen. He told us that the name Hezhen minority “came into being after liberation;” the name before he told us several times, it was quite long, I forgot. He said his grandfather had been a genuine shaman. But during the Cultural Revolution he was not allowed to dance anymore, he was very afraid and packed up all his garments and instruments and threw them into the Heilong River. Once he was drinking with some fellows from the same ethnic group, they got really drunk and started arguing and swearing at each other, accusing each other of being Su Xiu’s special agents. They were young and quite strong; they killed the grandfather and also threw him into the river……Our acquaintance now dances shaman at the Hezhen folk customs park, but unlike his grandfather, he does not have any experiences of being possessed, in fact he never has.


August 17, 2019
Originally, I thought we would get to Yanji today. But because of the heavy rain, we stopped at Hunchun. It is the triangle where China, North Korea and Russia intersect; it belongs to the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture; there is a lot of Korean language signs in the streets, but the ubiquitous “crime crackdown” signs have not been translated into Korean, it’s probably because it is not easy to translate these new slogans. Apart from that, I came to know that the word Hunchun is originally Manchurian and means borderland or corner. Interestingly, in Chinese it used to be written using the characters “浑蠢” (Hun Chun). Hun refers to people who don’t follow rules. Chun means stupid. Is that the meaning? I heard an explanation how the name changed from Hun Chuna to Hunchun: “It was simply about using different Chinese characters to transliterate Manchurian during different historical periods.”

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从中俄朝交界的珲春市,当地旅行社可以立即办朝鲜游、俄罗斯(海参崴)游,说是拿身份证办就行。对于我来说,海参崴(符拉迪沃斯托克)意味着曼德尔施塔姆,1938年冬季最冷的一天,他因他的诗歌死于符拉迪沃斯托克集中营。我以为花上千元,就能侥幸获得海参崴三日游。但旅行社的经理一听说我是藏族,一看身份证原籍是西藏(“5401…”打头),就摇头说:“西藏青海新疆这些地方的都不能办出境游。”哪怕我的户口已经不在拉萨十几年了,还是不能办。最后,最后就只好驾车到通往海参崴的珲春口岸遥望了几眼,去旁边的商店买了几件俄货聊以解嘲喽。#ОсипМандельштам

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August 19, 2019
At Hunchun City where China, Russia and North Korea border. Local travel agencies can give out instant travel visas for North Korea and Russia (Vladivostok). They say that all you need is an ID card. For me, Vladivostok means Osip Mandelstam who on the coldest day of winter in 1938 died in a concentration camp in Vladivostok because of his poetry. I thought that I was lucky to be able to travel around Vladivostok for three days. But when the head of the travel agency heard that I was Tibetan and when he saw my ID which started with the numbers “5401…”, indicating that my birthplace is Tibet, he shook his head: “People from Tibet, Qinghai or Xinjiang cannot leave the country for travel.” Even though my hukou has not been in Lhasa for over ten years, I couldn’t get a visa. In the end, in the end all we could do was to drive up to the border to Vladivostok and get a glance at a distance. Then we went to a store next to it and bought some Russian souvenirs; our way of ridiculing the situation. #ОсипМандельштам

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我喜欢这件T恤。

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August 21, 2018
I really like this T-Shirt.


August 25, 2019
This photo was taken by a friend who travelled to Lhasa. The side doors of Jokhang temple were all plastered with these bright red slogans! #lhasa

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笑死了😂很久没去布达拉宫下面的“雪监狱”了,这座“爱国主义教育基地”的灯光秀居然已经这么先进了!见图一所示。而图二图三是我在2007年拍的,当时“布达拉宫雪城”景点刚刚开放,其中的“雪监狱”据报道再现了“旧西藏”这个“最悲惨的人间地狱”。我跑去看了。几个手铐脚镣等刑具,一些农奴主迫害农奴的雕塑,几张人皮人骨的图片和两张高仿人皮,再配上皮鞭抽打和呻吟惨叫的模拟声以及阴森森的音乐和故意悲愤的解说,在光怪陆离、忽明忽暗的灯光效果下很是惊心动魄。听说在视察重新装修后的“雪监狱”时,领导们对农奴塑像很不满意,尤其不满意“蝎子洞”的布置,严厉批评了有关工作人员。一来苦大仇深的农奴被塑造得过于强壮,本应该是皮包骨头、奄奄一息的模样;二来趴在农奴身上吞噬血肉的蝎子做得太少了,必须追加数目。据说已经完成的农奴塑像是金属材质,由于时间很紧来不及重做,蝎子倒是可以追加的,于是这“蝎子洞”里多了好几只肥大的蝎子。但如今不一样喽,充满声光电效果的蝎子密密麻麻,想要多少就有多少😂😂😂#lhasa

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August 25, 2019
Hilarious😂I haven’t been to the “Shol Prison” down at Potala Palace for a long time. Look at how advanced the light show at this “patriotic education base” has already become! The first image shows what it looks like now. The second and third images were taken by me in 2007. At the time the “Potala Palace Shol City” had just been opened to the public. Among others, it included the “Shol Prison” that was to represent “old Tibet’s” “most tragic hell on earth”. I went to have a look and found some handcuffs, leg-irons and other torture instruments, some statues showing serfs prosecuted by their masters, a few pieces of human skin and bones and two massive imitations of human beings; the whole thing was accentuated with the sounds of fake whipping and screaming, sinister-sounding music and the overly grieving voice of a commentator. The grotesque lighting fading in and out created a truly shocking atmosphere. I heard that when they inspected the newly renovated “Shol Prison”, the officials were very unhappy about the serf statues, especially the “scorpion hole” installation and severely criticised the respective members of staff. Firstly, the bitter serfs were portrayed as way too strong, they should have been just skin and bones, looking like they were at their last gasp. Secondly, there were not enough of bloodthirsty scorpions, there should be more. It is said that the completed statues were made from metal and because of the limited time, they couldn’t remake them, but they could easily add scorpions, which is why we find an extra amount of them inside the “Scorpion hole”. But it is not the same today. Today, thanks to the multimedia installation, they can have as many scorpions as they want 😂😂😂 #lhasa


August 28, 2019
A painting by Karma Phuntsok. I really like his series on the relationship between Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and human beings. #tibet

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