By Kalsang Rinchen
Tagyal or 'Shogdung', file picture
Dharamsala, April 26 – China has arrested a renowned Tibetan writer in Xining, the provincial capital of Qinghai province. Tagyal, who writes with pen name “Shogdung” (morning conch) worked for the Nationalities Publishing House in Xining.
On April 23, police officers from Xining Police Station arrived at the Qinghai Nationalities Publishing House and took Tagyal to his house which was thoroughly searched, according to the highpeakspureearth.com which has translated two blog postings on the Xining based Tibetan website www.sangdhor.com
The same evening, several police officers came to his house again and took his two personal computers. His wife Lhatso has said that the police came again to their home to handover the arrest warrant. Lhatso, accompanied by their two daughters went in the morning to see him at the local police station but could not meet him. His whereabouts remain unknown.
It appears that Tagyal's detention is related to the earthquake in Yushu (Kyegudo in the traditional Tibetan province of Kham) of April 14 that left thousands dead and several others injured. Just three days after the earthquake, on April 17, a group of prominent Tibetan intellectuals based in Qinghai's Xining province had written an open letter of condolence to the victims of the disaster. Shogdung was one of the intellectuals who had signed the open letter which expresses condolences for the quake survivors and criticized the Chinese government’s handling of the earthquake relief efforts. Other signatories of this open letter include well known Tibetan writer and singer Jamyang Kyi and other members of the group known as the “New School of Thought.”
Shogdung has authored several books including the recent publication gnam sa go 'byed
(Opening of Earth and Sky) about the nationwide protests against the Chinese government in 2008.
Three days after the earthquake, Shogdung had wanted to travel to Yushu (Kyegudo) to help in the rescue and relief works but was denied permission.
Until his arrest, he was helping the relief efforts in Xining and offering comfort and solace to survivors who had been moved to hospitals in Xining.
China has recently stepped up its control on Tibetan intellectuals who have expressed their thoughts openly in public forums and books, often criticizing the government for its ‘wrong’ policies.
China recently arrested Tashi Rabten (pen name -Te’urang) and Druklo (pen name –Shokjang) of Lanzhou Northwest National Minorities’ University.