Focus on Tibet
by Xinhua writers Zhou Yan, Yan Yuanyuan, Niu Qi and
LHASA, March 13 (Xinhua) -- A year after the deadly
violence that rocked Lhasa, Losang Tsering still bears the marks: three lost
teeth and a scar on his left cheek.
"Last year was full of challenges for China, with the
Lhasa riots and the (May 12) earthquake," he says over the phone. "Let bygones
be bygones. Now we just hope everyone will learn to cherish today's happy life."
Losang Tsering, a surgeon at Tibet Autonomous
Regional People's Hospital in Lhasa, was in an ambulance with two Han patients,
a father and his dying child, when at least 10 rioters stopped them.
The doctor knew precisely what was going on. He held
the child in his arms and put his own helmet on the father's head. The desperate
rioters attacked him with stones and clubs, and he ended up with a broken
cheekbone, cerebral concussion and loss of his front teeth.
Moved by his heroic deed, Lhasa residents -- Tibetans
and Han people alike -- flooded his hospital ward, bringing bouquets, gifts and
words of admiration and gratitude.
He also had the honor to be a torch bearer when the
Beijing Olympic flame was relayed to Lhasa in June.
Yet a year is not enough to heal the doctor,
physically or mentally.
"As the first anniversary of the riots approaches,
I've been thinking how everyone should work for peace and prevent such violence
from erupting again," says Losang Tsering, who is on a year-long advanced
training program at Huaxi Hospital in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province. "I
hope this sensitive month will end in peace and my family will be happily
reunited in September."
Losang Tsering, 37, is a native Tibetan. "You
should've been more careful" was all his wife, another medical worker in Lhasa,
had to say when she saw how badly he had been injured.
"I just did my job," he said. "The Han people would
have done the same to save the Tibetans."
Zuo Xiaoyang has tears in her eyes when she remembers
her elder brother Zuo Rencun, who died after one of his employees set his
garment store in downtown Lhasa on fire. He was 45.
Zuo Xiaoyang's store was also set on fire, but she
managed to escape. Since then, she has been running the two businesses by
"Business declined sharply after the riots," she
says. "In the past two months the combined turnover of the stores was only 1,000
yuan a day."
Zuo says her merchandise, all economy items with thin
margins, mainly targets low-income earners, including peasants and herders.
"Buyers were very few. Even the annual shopping spree before the Tibetan New
Year holiday didn't come this year."
Still terrified by last year's tragedy, Zuo mails her
income home every month. "If things here go wrong again, I'll escape from Lhasa
at all costs. My parents cannot stand any further blows."
The Yishion garment store on Beijing Road opens 12
hours a day, with loud pop songs and stylish young men and women greeting every
potential customer with professional smiles.
The store, revamped and reopened last May, bears no
sign of the burning, looting and deaths of five saleswomen, aged from 19 to 24.
But smiles gave way to uneasy looks when "March 14" is mentioned. The date has
come to signify the deadly riots.
"I'm new here and don't know anything," shop
The only surviving employee from the date,
24-year-old Drolma, refuses to say anything. Her look makes any further question
Manager Tang Qingyan keeps a low profile ahead of the
anniversary. He rarely visits the store and never answers Xinhua reporters'
Of all the 1,216 vendors that sustained losses in the
riots, Tang was the first to get a government loan of 1 million yuan, with which
he revamped his store and planned to expand business. "Then people began to
blame him for being selfish, saying he was making money at the cost of five
lives," says another storekeeper on condition of anonymity. "I think he was
wronged -- his own cousin was among the dead."
Altogether 18 civilians and a police officer were
killed and more than 600 were injured in the violence. It also left seven
schools, five hospitals and 120 homes torched and 908 shops looted.