PEN Appeal: Tagyal
June 1, 2010
His Excellency Hu Jintao
President of the People’s Republic of China
On behalf of the 3,400 members of PEN American Center, an international organization of writers dedicated to protecting freedom of expression wherever it is threatened, we are writing to express our concern about the arrest of Tibetan writer Tagyal (pen name Shogdung).
According to our information, Tagyal, a Tibetan writer and staff member at the Qinghai Nationalities Publishing House, was arrested on April 23, 2010, after he signed an open letter criticizing the Chinese government’s response to the April 14th earthquake in the western province of Qinghai and offered condolence to more than 2,000 victims of the disaster. Tagyal was one of eight signatories who signed the letter. Reportedly, the arrest warrant presented to his wife claimed he was being arrested for “sedition,” but there are no further details on the charges being brought against him.
Tagyal was seized at the Qinghai Nationalities Publishing House and brought to his home and bookstore where officers later confiscated some personal belongings, including his computers. His wife and daughters were shown the arrest warrant but were denied permission to see him. Delivery of food from family members is also forbidden. His family has been told that Tagyal is being held at the Xining Metropolitan Detention Center No. 1.
PEN American Center believes Tagyal’s arrest to be part of a widespread crackdown on writers, intellectuals, and artists in Tibet, and is in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory, as well as Article 35 of China’s own constitution. We therefore call for his immediate and unconditional release, as well as the release of all other writers being held in violation of their right to freedom of expression.
Thank you for your consideration of this urgent matter.
Director, Freedom to Write and International Programs
CC: Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong
2300 Connecticut Avenue
NW, Washington, DC 20008
Fax: (202) 328-2582
Zhonggong Xizang Zizhiqu Weiyuanhui
Lhasashi, Xizang Zizhiqu
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