Tagyal was detained on April 23, 2010 from his home in Xining following the publication of his now-banned book, ‘The Division of Heaven and Earth: On the Peaceful Revolution of the Earth Rat Year.’ The book is an indictment of Chinese policies in Tibet and a discussion of events since March, 2008, in which he described Tibet becoming “a place of terror” and gives a detailed analysis of the 2008 spring protests as a re-awakening of Tibetan national consciousness and solidarity. Tagyal’s arrest was one of the most significant in the context of a broadening crackdown on Tibetan writers, artists and educators since protests against the Chinese state began in March, 2008.
According to the Tibetan writer, Woeser, Tagyal’s lawyer Li Fangping confirmed that Tagyal was released from custody yesterday (October 14) and allowed to go home under qubao houshen (取保候审) terms. It is understood that this is pending trial, although details are unclear. Qubao houshen literally means “obtain a guarantor while pending trial” and can be described as non-custodial detention and as a form of probation, since conditions may be imposed on the movements and activities of the suspect, who can subsequently be jailed for violating the conditions. Typically, qubao houshen includes restrictions on who the person meets, whom they communicate with, and sometimes includes subjective standards imposed by police, such as people’s ‘attitude’ towards their alleged crimes.
Tagyal’s new and influential book, ‘The Division of Heaven and Earth’, is believed to be selling widely underground. He was apparently held in Xining No.1 Detention Center during his period of imprisonment. In August, news emerged that his trial on charges of “splittism” appeared to have been delayed (ICT report, Trial delayed for Tibetan writer imprisoned for critique of Chinese policies, expression of Tibetan identity). Tagyal’s detention was particularly significant because he is a well-established editor and an ‘official intellectual’ whose views have been seen by many Tibetans as close to the Party and the Chinese state.