On Sunday afternoon, a friend of Australian-Chinese artist Guo Jian in Beijing received a text message from the 52-year-old saying he had been taken away by the authorities. A second message said the people who took him away — most likely China’s feared State Security Bureau — told him he would be detained for 15 days. He is now locked up, unable to see anybody, not even a lawyer.
Guo Jian is the first Australian citizen among scores of people who have been detained in Beijing over the past month or so by Xi Jinping’s increasingly paranoid and ruthless regime. The reason for the paranoia is that this evening, June 3, marks 25 years since the People’s Liberation Army began rolling its tanks into the centre of Beijing to crush political reformist demonstrations that had started a month earlier. There were protests in 80 cities across China.