110 km North-East of Lhasa
The 5 truck convoy flanked by 3 APCs thundered in to the village square throwing the normally tranquil village of Daxmung in to a tizzy. Although the village folks were no strangers to PLA and it’s tactics of intimidation, rumours of violence in surrounding areas made them more nervous then usual. It was no surprise then, that all the people stopped whatever they were doing and shut themselves inside their homes. A gruff looking Chinese major poked his head out of hatch of one of the APCs and shouted on a loud speaker, “ All men of this village above 18 years are ordered to come out to the square and answer our questions. We just want some information. No one will be harmed if you cooperate with us.”
He repeated the order 3-4 times while driving through the lanes, getting angrier with each passing moment as no body even dared to peep out. Finally fed up with repeating himself he warned, “All the men are ordered to come outside to village square within 30 seconds, other wise I’ll level down this whole damned village with artillery with each one of you idiots inside.”
At his signal, soldiers dismounted from trucks and rest of the APCs and formed a cordon around the houses. With their rifle butts, they pounded doors and windows, shouting obscenities at the villagers hiding inside.
There were some hints of activity inside the houses as sounds of hushed whispers and stifled sobs started to come out of the besieged homes. A single old man clutching a stick for support opened door of one of the houses and nervously walked out. A younger man followed him out immediately and tried to drag him back, but the older man firmly pushed him away.
Seeing the two men, Chinese Major snorted derisively, “That’s it ! That’s the total number of men in this fuc**** village ? Come out of your holes you stinking rats and answer my questions. Otherwise you all will die.”
The two Tibetan villagers had reached within a few feet of the APC and both stood there nervously shuffling on their feet. Slowly doors of some other houses opened and more men shuffled fearfully out of their housed and formed a huddle around the two men. PLA major scanned the motley group and took out a poster and threw it on the ground, motioning the villagers to pick it up. The poster contained sketches of four Tibetan men. The villagers picked up the poster and passed it around amongst themselves with each one staring at the sketched faces with a fearful confusion.
“ Have you ever seen any of the men in these poster. “?, he asked, nonchalantly while lighting a cigarette.
The villagers exchanged confused glances amongst themselves and most of them shook their heads.
“ Half of you are shaking heads while the rest are standing like statues ? Do you know these men or not ? Answer me .”
The young man who had first come out along with an older one stepped forward and said timidly, “We have never seen these men before. Neither of us know their identity.”
The major stared at the young man for a few seconds and then nodded, “ I see. Who are you ?”
“My name is Dechen” pointing to the old man standing a few steps besides him he said, “and I’m son of the village’s Headman. We know every single person in this village and people who pass through. I am absolutely sure that neither of these men have never even set foot here.”
All of a sudden, the PLA major grew livid and spat out his cigarette. Grabbing Dechen by collar of his tunic he first shook him and then threw him aside. Using all of his lung power he shouted, “Don’t lie to me you ******** I know for certain that these men were given food and shelter in this village. Just tell me who helped them and where did they go afterward and each one of us will go home happy. Lie to me and your whole miserable village will be burnt to ashes.” Grabbing another man by his neck he shouted again, “ Are you going to tell me the truth or not.”
The scared villager was shaking uncontrollably and could nothing apart from babbling for mercy. Showing a disgusted expression the major pushed him away and faced the huddled villagers. “I’m giving you one final chance to clear your names and save your village from charges of treason and waging war against glorious republic of China. You tell me who these men are and I’ll leave you alone. You’ll even be rewarded for your service to the Party. Lie and each single one of you, including your women and children will be shot and burnt while still alive. Make your choice.”
Terrified by the warning, the men hurled themselves at the feet of PLA major begging for mercy and claiming innocence. Grimacing, he kicked one of the men and shouted, “Just tell me where are these men ?”
Getting no answer except for claims of innocence he kicked some more men prostrating at his feet and spat in disgust. “Very well. I gave you filthy pigs a chance and you blew it. Now suffer for your insolence.”
Grabbing an AK-56 rifle from a soldier standing near by, he switched it on to full auto and emptied the magazine in to the crowd of villagers in front of him. A number of men who were sitting or standing on the ground collapsed after getting shot. Hearing deadly chatter of the gun, some of the women from surrounding houses who had been watching the carnage from inside rushed out of their houses wailing and crying for mercy. PLA major calmly changed the empty magazine with a full one and took aim at the group of women. Some of the women froze in their steps while others rushed on regardless of the pointed barrel. Glancing at his soldiers with slight amusement in his eyes, he shot the running women then fired rest of the bullets on remaining men.
Handing back the still smoking gun, he lit another cigarette and watched the carnage he had just caused with cold eyes. Dozens of bodies lay bloodied and twitching in the small village square. People who escaped being shot, lay down wailing with fear and sorrow. Spitting out his half smoked cigarette, he crushed it under his boots and signaled his soldiers to get back in their vehicles. Climbing in to his APC, he surveyed the broken village once more and closed the hatch before the convoy started moving away.