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China: Detention of artist underlines severe repression

Amnesty International
Press Release
3 June 2014

China: Detention of artist underlines severe repression ahead of Tiananmen anniversary

The Chinese authorities must end the severe persecution against all those attempting to mark the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown, said Amnesty International after a Chinese born Australian artist became the latest to be detained for giving a media interview on the crackdown.

Police in Beijing took away Guo Jian, 52, shortly after publication of an interview he gave to the Financial Times.

“Guo Jian is the latest victim of the Chinese authorities’ merciless campaign of repression ahead of the Tiananmen anniversary. He along with the scores of others detained for peacefully speaking out about the bloodshed of 1989 must be immediately released,” said Grant Bayldon, Executive Director of Amnesty International New Zealand.

“This current wave of detentions ahead of 4 June is harsher than in recent years.”

Amnesty International has received numerous reports of activists being warned by police not to speak to foreign media ahead of 4 June, while foreign journalists and their local staff have noted an increase in harassment in recent weeks.

“The intimidation of journalists and their contacts shows the deplorable lengths the authorities are prepared to go in their efforts to wipe the bloodshed of 1989 from memory. However, the world remembers. People will continue to mark the anniversary despite the authorities’ efforts,” said Grant Bayldon.

Scores of activists have been detained, placed under house arrest or questioned by police in recent weeks for attempting to commemorate the victims of the Tiananmen crackdown in June 1989 when hundreds, if not thousands, of unarmed protesters and civilians were killed or injured.

“This blatant disregard for the rule of law shows the Chinese government to be badly out of touch with the growing calls from Chinese citizens to participate in political life,” said Grant Bayldon.

“If the leadership wants to demonstrate it is serious about living up to its promises to deepen reform, it must loosen its suffocating grip on freedom of speech and assembly.”


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