"The Tibetan Version of 'Forbidden Memory: Tibet During the Cultural Revolution' Is Now Available for Download Free of Charge" By Woeser

High Peaks Pure Earth has translated an announcement by Woeser about the electronic Tibetan version of her book “Forbidden Memory: Tibet During the Cultural Revolution”. The blogpost was published on Woeser’s blog on March 31, 2013.

2013 04 31 Tibetan Version of Forbidden Memory 1“The Tibetan Version of ‘Forbidden Memory: Tibet During the Cultural Revolution’ Is Now Available for Download Free of Charge”

By Woeser

Since 1999, based on the hundreds of photos that my Father took in Tibet during the Cultural Revolution, I have been carrying out long-term research, conducted interviews and written articles in and about Lhasa and other places; over a period of six years during which I have visited over 70 people, in 2006, the Taiwanese publisher “Locus” published my two books “Forbidden Memory” and “Tibet Remembered”. “Forbidden Memory” is a commentary on the photos that my Father took during the Cultural Revolution as well as my own research results. “Tibet Remembered” is an oral history of people affected by the Cultural Revolution in Tibet. The two books have been referred to as “the so far most complete and comprehensive photographic record of Tibet during the Cultural Revolution” and “research about the Cultural Revolution in Tibet is thus no longer a blank space”.
Subsequently, “Forbidden Memory” was translated into Japanese (in 2009), into Tibetan (in 2009) and “Tibet Remembered” was translated into French (in 2010).
The Tibetan version of “Forbidden Memory” is without a doubt the most important version. The Norwegian Tibet Committee, the Norwegian Authors Union and the Swiss Tibetan Friendship Association assisted with the Tibetan translation.
Just as the translator of “Forbidden Memory”, a senior broadcaster at the Tibetan service of Radio Free Asia, Dolkar, when she first saw the Chinese version of “Forbidden Memory”, said: “I realised that as a Tibetan I have to share this with all our fellow Tibetans because there are so many young Tibetans who have absolutely no idea what happened in Tibet during the Cultural Revolution, it is about passing this truth on to our new generation and also to the exiled community.”
Entertaining precisely the same feeling, I always entertained the hope that the Tibetan version of “Forbidden Memory” would be available as an electronic version, so that with the help of the internet it can spread more easily among Tibetans and especially among those living inside Tibet. And as fate willed, a faraway friend offered his helping hand, taking the initiative to produce the Tibetan electronic version of the book. The translator, Dolkar, and the designer of the Tibetan version, Thupten, once more put in their greatest efforts. Day and night, the three people made adjustments and improvements and finally succeeded in publishing the end product, the e-book, online. So allow me to use written words to offer my three friends a pure white khata to express my deepest gratitude.
The Tibetan version of “Forbidden Memory” is available for download, entirely free of charge and it can be freely disseminated. In the electronic version, the photos can be enlarged, showing many more details than in the paper version and of course, the e-book can be searched. But most importantly, it can be easily spread. If everyone who has finished reading it can send it to a few other people, then that would be the best repayment for us. That part of history belongs to all Tibetans, we dedicate this book to the Tibetan people and hope that our descendents will always remember this.

2013 04 31 Tibetan Version of Forbidden Memory 2
The inscription by His Holiness: “Always faithful and loyal and ceaselessly cherishing pure altruistic courage, Woeser la, I pray that all your wishes, now or in the future, will come true without any obstacles – Shakyamuni Buddha teachings, Dalai Lama, December 16, 2009

What needs to be added is that the electronic Tibetan version of “Forbidden Memory” for the first time includes the precious inscription by His Holiness the Dalai Lama; it is what His Holiness wrote when we gave him the first printed Tibetan version of “Forbidden Memory” four years ago. This is the greatest karmic reward, I bow down repeatedly. Additionally, a portrait of my Father – the photographer of all these historic photos – is also included in the book for the first time. I believe that me inheriting his photos and making them available for more of our fellow people to see is the wish that he had kept deep down in his heart.
2013 04 31 Tibetan Version of Forbidden Memory 3
My father, Tsering Dorje, photographer of “Forbidden Memory”

“Forbidden Memory” can be downloaded from here:
After you open the link, click on the blue button “View in iTunes”. If you want to search for the book in Tibetan, put in the Tibetan name “གསར་བརྗེ།”.
(Since iTunes Books is not available in any Asian countries other than Japan, if you cannot search iTunes in your country, please select a different country at the bottom of the iTunes page.)
Books Screenshot:
2013 04 31 Tibetan Version of Forbidden Memory 4
iTunes Store Screenshot:
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“Forbidden Memory” is the first Tibetan e-book that has ever appeared in iTunes Books. A scholar believes that in terms of promoting electronic works in Tibetan, this is a new beginning with a symbolic dimension.
Presently, “Forbidden Memory” is only available for Apple (iPad or iPhone). Readers are welcome to upload the book onto websites from where readers using other operating systems (Android or PC) can download it. If you do so, please let me know and I will post a link to that website on my blog.
Additional Information:
1. Apple has already added my name to their list of authors, so if you are using iTunes, iPad, iPhone or iPhone Books, you can directly search for “Tsering” or “Woeser” or “Tsering Woeser” and you will find “Forbidden Memory”.
2. In order to read “Forbidden Memory” on Android, the original file does not have to be converted. All you need to do is go to Google Play Store and download an Iron Rabbit Tibetan font, for example jomolhari.ttf in the Tibetan Pad. Then you just need to copy this font to the font folder of your reader.


  1. Don’t we boycott Apple products? Tashi delek & RANGZEN.

  2. Pingback: 唯色 | The Tibetan Version of ‘Forbidden Memory: Tibet During the Cultural Revolution’ Is Now Available for Download Free of Charge - 中国数字时代

  3. When will an English edition be published? Does anyone know?

  4. One episode from the text was translated into English in 2011:

  5. Hello! Thanks for posting this. I downloaded it, but my epub reader (Adobe Digital Editions) just shows ???????? on every page, instead of Tibetan text. I am working on figuring out how to fix this.

  6. OK – I went to docspal.com, converted the epub file to PDF, and I can read it perfectly now! Thanks again!

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