China rounding up dissidents ahead of Tiananmen bloodbath anniversary


(, May14, 2014) – As the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre of Jun 4, 1989 approaches near, China has launched a crackdown more thorough than those seen in recent years, targeting critics, democracy and human rights activists as well as victims and their relatives. A number of them have been detained, put under house arrest, or given warnings, according to news and human rights group reports, although their exact number could not be ascertained.

Well known human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang was detained on May 6, allegedly for “creating a disturbance” after he attended a seminar on the Jun 4 crackdown. Several others who attended that seminar, which was held on May 3, were also detained, said New York-based Human Rights Watch. Pu, born in 1965, had participated in the Tiananmen Square protests and has, as a lawyer, worked to protect dissidents, including well known artist Ai Weiwei.

Philosophy professor Xu Youyu, born in 1947, was among those who were rounded up after the May 3 seminar, reported human rights website

Others detained with him included Beijing Film Academy professor Hao Jian, who has also taught at Harvard University; author Liu Di, and dissident author and former professor Hu Shigen, born in 1964. Hu was previously jailed for over 15 years for “organizing and leading a counter-revolutionary group” after he planned a Jun 4 anniversary event.

Liang Xiaoyan, born in 1957, a lecturer at the time of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, remains disappeared after he attended the May 3 seminar, reported the South China Morning Post May 12.

Journalist Gao Yu, born in 1944, was held on Apr 24 for allegedly “leaking state secrets,” reported China’s state-run media. She was previously detained for more than a year after the Tiananmen Square protests in which she actively participated. Stat media claimed she expressed “deep remorse” for her actions after the recent detention. But the document she was believed to have allegedly leaked, an internal Communist Party policy guide, was said to have been published earlier by the state-run, party mouthpiece People’s Daily.

The May 9 reported that Gao Yu was among at least half-a-dozen Chinese scholars and activists who had been detained in recent weeks in the lead-up to the 25th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, as the authorities moved to limit any discussion or remembrance of the sensitive event.

Yao Jianfu, a retired scholar, is also detained. Yao wrote a book about the Tiananmen Square crackdown that was published in Hong Kong in 2012. The book has the Beijing mayor at the time calling the Tiananmen incident an “avoidable tragedy.”


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