Violence in Lhasa has resulted in a heavy toll in lives and property. Official statistics indicate 13 civilians were burned or stabbed to death. Among them are five girls who worked for a clothing store.
This clothing store in Lhasa was targeted by rioters last Friday. Zhuoma is the only survivor. She says she, along with her friends, had no place to hide, and stayed inside the store when the incident took place.
Survivor Zhuoma said, "We heard loud noises nearby. The rioters crashed into other stores. We cried and flinched."
Rioters broke in and entered the store. After several minutes, it returned to calm. Zhuoma thought the rioters had left, so she called on her friends to escape.
Survivor Zhuoma said, "I saw flames and smoke, then I shouted hurry up, the store's on fire."
Zhuoma ran out and hid in the yard of a nearby hostel. But then she realized what had happened to her friends. Zhuoma is left shocked that she is the only survivor. Days after the violence, Zhuoma still can't accept that her friends are no longer here.
Survivor Zhuoma said, "I never thought about that. We were happy together that morning, but it suddenly changed hours later. I can't believe it, I can't accept the truth that they have left me. I want to ask the rioters why did they do it? I really can't understand why the rioters killed innocent civilians,why they killed our sisters. We, as employees, don't have much money. If they want money, why do they rob us of our lives?"
18-year-old Chen Jia was the youngest among the five victims. Beside the debris, her father can't help himself.
Chen Jia's father said, "My daughter was so feminine, we all loved her."
In an earlier message sent to her loved ones, she said: "Dad, it's so violent outside, we can just stay at the store. Don't worry about me, and tell mother and sister to stay at home and take care."
Official statistics show that so far 156 rioters have surrendered. Local police say they are confident they'll arrest those behind the riots, and will severely punish them.