Tibetan Writer Detained in Xining After Quake Critique

Tagyal, who writes with pen name “Shogdung”.

A Tibetan writer who had signed an open letter critical of the Chinese government's quake relief efforts in western Qinghai province has been detained by police, according to a family friend.

The writer, who publishes under the name Zhogs Dung but whose real name is Tagyal, was among eight authors and intellectuals who signed a letter dated April 17 that expressed sorrow for the disaster that left more than 2,000 people dead — most of them Tibetan — but also urged wariness of Chinese government relief efforts.

Last Friday, a half dozen police officers showed up at the Qinghai Nationalities Publishing House in the regional capital of Xining, where he worked, and escorted him away, according to a blog post written by a friend. They searched his home and library, confiscating his computers.

Afterward, they showed his arrest warrant to his wife, and asked her to bring bedding for him. When his two daughters went to the police station they were not allowed to meet with him, the posting said.

There was no way to independently confirm the account. On Monday, the Xining Police Department refused to answer questions regarding his whereabouts, saying it had no comment. The police referred questions to the Ministry of Public Security.

The letter urged people to help victims by offering food, clothes and medicine but warned them not to donate funds to relief organizations, warning of possible corruption.

Information for this report was provided by AP.