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China arrests Tibetan writer critical of quake relief effort

A Tibetan writer who signed an open letter critical of the Chinese government's earthquake 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 signatories of a letter that expressed sorrow for the disaster – which left more than 2,000 people dead – but urged wariness of Chinese government relief efforts.

Last Friday, six police officers arrived at the Qinghai Nationalities Publishing House in the regional capital of Xining, where he worked, and escorted him away, according to a blog written by a friend. They searched his home and confiscated his computers.

Afterwards, they showed his arrest warrant to his wife, and asked her to bring bedding for him. His two daughters were not allowed to meet with him, the posting said. There was no way to independently confirm the account.

The Chinese government has been at pains to quash any criticism of its relief efforts in the Tibetan region, where a total of 2,220 people were killed, according to the latest government figures.