Opening of Mass Grave I was 29 years old when I witnessed the opening of mass grave in Gaomi township. It was seven years after Deng Xiaoping emerges as the paramount leader of China. People stood fearfully around the exposed graveyard and I had to squeeze among them to get a good view of what is going on. The villagers were tossing bones stolidly into the grave, some cracking and splitting when they hit. To help, I tossed in the fragment of the human skull. But when it came to the large canine skull I hestated. "Toss it in," an old man said; "the dogs back then were as good as humans." So I tossed it into the open pit.