Sun Qingyu's ten-square-meter shop became barely recognizable.
All the shelves were pushed down, dotted by glass scraps and trampled snack packages. Name of the shop was Qingxing cigarette and wine shop, but the cigarettes and wines which were among the most expensive in the commodities had been robbed away.
Standing in the bedroom carpeted with sprinkled flour, the dark-skinned shopkeeper in his 30s quivered with anger.
"These mobsters were scoundrels. They not only took things away, but destroy the remainder," he complained, "look at the food on the floor! Can any human being do anything like this?"
From 5 p.m. till midnight last Sunday, some rioters marched in the seat of Maqu county of northwester Gansu Province and broke into governmental buildings and shops, inflicting great losses to the local.
"I heard big noises outside. Before I could realize what to do, several yelling mobsters wavering iron sticks forced in," recalled Sun, "They began to smash things soonest after they set foot in my shop, followed by another group who did likewise."
"I locked the door of my bedroom, but they pounded it with sticks...my five-year-old son was scared and started crying. I have to make a hole in the corner of the room to help my wife and son flee," he said, adding a string of curses.
In fact, many other people in the plateau Maqu county with a population of about 33,300 shared similar experiences as Sun.
In the Yangguang wine shop where garbages were piled at the gate, Tang Yongqiang was cleaning the glass scraps with his relatives.
"I closed the iron gate, but the rioters pried it open like mad people," said the furious man.
"They slashed and battered the counters with their knives and clubs, crying 'bug off'. Those villains not only took away trunks of cigarettes and wines, poured the tea into their own bags, but broke the safe and robbed the about 10,000 yuan (about 1,408 U.S. dollars) inside."
When those people were about to finish, several women rushed into set fire. Tang tried to stop them, only to be beaten and forced to hide into a toilet.
The Huanghe electrical appliances store ran by Ma Qinghua was the biggest of its kind in the Maqu county. But rather than televisions and microwave ovens, the shop is now full of ashes.
"I saw the commodities worthy of nearly one million yuan (about 140,845 U.S. dollars) turn into ashes helplessly," he signed, "for several times, we attempted to put off the fire with fire extinguishers, but rioters brandishing knives stopped us."
According to preliminary statistics of the county government of Maqu, 70 percent of the shops were looted or damaged by rioters, while more than 100 big stores like Ma's suffered tremendous losses in the incident.
"I have been doing business in Maqu for twenty years and witnessed the development of the county. Tibetan herdsmen now could use faucet water and electricity, and roads were built to their houses. It is high time to enjoy life, and I couldn't understand why someone would ruin it," said Ma.
Unrest broke out in the Tibetan capital on March 14, which was repeated in the counties of Xiahe, Maqu, Luqu and Jone and Hezuo City in the Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Gansu and the Aba County of Sichuan.
China's state television CCTV screened a video clip showing mobs riding horses and wielding batons. Some of them shouted slogans of "Tibet Independence" and waved flags of "Tibetan-government-in-exile". They stormed government offices, police stations, hospitals, schools, banks, shops and markets, among others, witnesses were recorded as saying.
(Xinhua News Agency March 23, 2008)