China: Detention of artist for Financial Times interview on Tiananmen condemned

The Chinese authorities must end the persecution of people attempting to mark the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown, Amnesty International said after a Chinese-born Australian artist who was interviewed by the Financial Times newspaper became the latest person to be detained for giving a media interview on Tiananmen.

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

Amnesty International China Researcher William Nee, said:

“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.

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

“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.”

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

Scores of activists have been detained, or 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.

Meanwhile in London an event organised by Amnesty, ‘Reclaiming Tiananmen’, which takes place tomorrow has been the subject of an apparent sabotage campaign. Phantom mass-bookings have been attempted so that the event appears sold out, presumably by someone supportive of the Chinese government’s repressive aims.

Remembrance event in London this week

On Wednesday at 11am, 25 survivors and other dissidents related to Tiananmen will go to the Chinese embassy in London, dressed in black, with Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen, where they will lay red and white roses in an act of defiance against the Chinese government and of remembrance for those who died.

Because the steps of the embassy are officially Chinese territory, the flower-laying is a direct act of defiance of the Chinese government’s ban on commemorating the crackdown.

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