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Facing riot, Tibetans, Hans side by side
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16:49, March 21, 2008

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When the holy city of Lhasa was rocked by riot, many Tibetans and Hans chose to stand shoulder by shoulder to face the disaster.

Lying in the People's Hospital, Losang Cering had seven stitches on his face. His cheekbone was broken and the Tibetan doctor also suffered cerebral concussion.

"I didn't regret helping the Hans," he said.

Losang Cering went out with nurse Cejig last Friday to rescue the injured in the riot, when he saw a tearful father, whose name he knew later was Wu Guanglin, cuddling his son in front of a smoky house crying for help. The boy was trampled by rioters and suffocated.

They performed artificial respiration for the six-year-old boy and drove him and Wu Guanglin to hospital. But the ambulance was intercepted within 10 meters by a dozen mobsters wielding knives and clubs or holding bricks, who asked for the Hans.

Rebuffing their demand, Losang Cering clinched the boy to his chest and gave his safety helmet to Wu.

"I am a doctor. They won't hurt me," he said.

Although the doctor and the nurse were both injured seriously in the violence, he was glad the boy was saved.

Talking about his story, Losang Cering didn't appear proud at all. "It was my duty," he said, "when we are in trouble, I believe that the Hans would do the same."

Losang Cering was right.

Feng Bixia might have to live with a long scar in her left ear for the rest of her life, but the two Tibetan children she tried to protect were returned home at last, safe and sound.

It was at about 3 p.m. last Friday, when the businesswoman, who came from Shaanxi 10 years ago, heard noise from the street and planned to close the door of her advertising store. She suddenly found a boy and a girl weeping outside.

Feng let them in, trying to comfort the scared children.

About 20 minutes later, the girl's father called her. "Papa wants me to be back," she said anxiously.

"It was too dangerous," Feng replied. She thought for a while and made up her mind. "I will go with you."

Several rioters rushed them when the shop owner let the two children out of the store. Feng was hacked in the chest and her left ear was pierced. Equipment in her store was smashed, and valuables robbed.

"Nevertheless, everyone with a conscience would do the same as me," she said.

A Tibetan old lady in her 70s from Chengguan district took a family quivering in the public toilet back home, and accompanied them to a safer area at midnight.

A monk hid a boy chased by rioters in the temple.

The 65-year-old Dawa Cering left the door open amid the turmoil, saying to Han neighbors, "welcome to my home if you are in danger."

Unrest that broke out in Lhasa on March 14 led to the deaths of13 civilians, including both Tibetans and Hans who got hacked or burnt. More than 300 others were injured.

The violence was widely condemned by people from all sectors.

China Central Television (CCTV) carried a footage showing a Tibetan lady saying indignantly, "children can't go to school; workers can't work; it is them who spoiled our tranquil life."

The 11th Panchen Lama, Gyaincain Norbu, said on Sunday that the riot in Lhasa ran counter to Buddhist tenets.

Baoluo, an associate research fellow with the Tibet Academy of Social Sciences, pointed out that according to archaeological and historical data, Tibetans and Hans are of the same origin, whose ancestors were lived in the upper and middle reaches of the Yellow River 10,000 years ago.

"Any scheme wrecking social stability in Tibet and attempting secede Tibet from China would go against people's will," said Tibet regional chairman Qiangba Puncog, "it is doomed to fail."


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