International PEN is seriously concerned about the arrest of Tibetan writer Tagyal (pen name Shogdung) on April 23, 2010, after criticizing the authorities in an open letter. PEN fears that Tagyal may be held solely for peacefully exercising his right to free expression which is protected under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory. If so, PEN calls for his immediate and unconditional release.

Background Information

According to PEN’s information, Tagyal, aged 45, is a Tibetan writer and staff member at the Qinghai Nationalities Publishing House in the provincial capital, Xining. He is among eight signatories of an open letter criticizing the government’s response to the April 14, 2010 earthquake in the western province of Qinghai, and was arrested later that month for "sedition." Reports say that he had previously written books aligned to the Chinese’s governments policies; however, his most recent book, Namsa Ko Jed (The Separation between Sky and Land), which deals with the March 2008 crackdown in Tibet, is said to be more critical.

The following is part of a Radio Free Asia press release, dated April 30, 2010, on Tagyal’s detention:   
Authorities in the western Chinese province of Qinghai have detained a Tibetan writer who signed an open letter critical of the government’s quake relief efforts in the region, according to his wife.

The writer, who publishes under the name Shogdung, but whose real name is Tagyal, was one of eight intellectuals who signed an April 17 letter that expressed sorrow over the disaster that left more than 2,000 people dead, mostly Tibetans, and urged wariness of Chinese government relief efforts.

“The Chinese gave the order to close our bookstore on April 12 and took away all the books by my husband,” his wife Lhatso said in an interview. “On April 23, five police officers, including two Tibetans, came to our home and took away my husband.”

“We took some food for him but the authorities didn’t allow us to see him—they wouldn’t even accept the food.”

His daughter said the arrest warrant accused her father of “sedition [to] split the country.”

The letter Tagyal signed had urged people to help victims by offering food, clothing, and medicine, but warned them to avoid official relief channels.

Write A Letter

  • Expressing serious concern about the arrest of Tibetan writer Tagyal, and seeking details of the charges against him;
  • Calling for his immediate and unconditional release if held in violation of his right to freedom of expression, in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory.

Send Your Letter To

His Excellency Hu Jintao
President of the People’s Republic of China
State Council
Beijing 100032
P.R. China

Secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Regional Party Committee
Zhang Qingli
Zhonggong Xizang Zizhiqu Weiyuanhui
Lhasashi, Xizang Zizhiqu
P.R. China
Please note that there are no fax numbers for the Chinese authorities. PEN recommends that you copy your appeal to the Chinese embassy in your country asking them to forward it and welcoming any comments.

Please contact PEN if sending appeals after May 31, 2010: ftw [at]