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Artist detained before Tiananmen anniversary

BEIJING--A Chinese-born Australian artist and former protester in China's 1989 pro-democracy movement was taken away by Chinese authorities shortly after a profile of him appeared in the Financial Times newspaper in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the military clampdown on the student protest centered around Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

An Associated Press reporter talked to Guo Jian as he was taken away from his home in suburban Beijing on Sunday night. Guo said he would be held by police until June 15.

It is the latest in a string of detentions of artists, lawyers, scholars and journalists ahead of the Tiananmen anniversary amid intense government efforts to deter coverage by foreign media of its remembrance.

After a stint as a soldier, Guo was studying art in Beijing when he was swept into the 1989 student protests and witnessed the military crackdown that began on the night of June 3, 1989.

“I didn't believe it, even though I had been a soldier,” Guo was quoted as saying in an article published in the Financial Times last week. “In the army I had never seen that sort of violence. Then I saw the tracers and people falling around me — they were just gone.”

Discussions of the protest and its suppression are taboo in China, and authorities tighten security ahead of the anniversary each year.

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