Prominent rights defense lawyer and China Media Project fellow Pu Zhiqiang (浦志强) was escorted from his home by Beijing police in the early hours of May 5 after taking part in a seminar commemorating the brutal crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations on June 4, 1989. Several others who attended the event, including well-known scholar Xu Youyu, were reportedly detained and remain unreachable. [Chinese report here]

Pu Zhiqiang was reportedly taken away by police under the charge of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” a crime often leveled against dissidents in China.

june 4 commemorators detained

Veteran journalist and CMP fellow Xiao Shu, whose China Citizens Movement website reported on the June Fourth seminar here, wrote on Facebook this afternoon:

We especially encourage civil society to face up to the abuse of police powers, and the dreadful trend of expanding police powers. The so-called [charge of] “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” was first expanded to the online world by the Supreme People’s Court [in cases where posts have] at least 500 re-posts. Now [these charges] of “picking quarrels” have expanded to cover scholars holding seminars, which is preposterous. The police state has grown more and more severe, so that civil rights cannot be protected and human rights are under assault.

Hong Kong’s RTHK quoted human rights activist Hu Jia (胡佳) as saying that the authorities hoped to create a climate of fear ahead of the 25th anniversary of June Fourth, dissuading Chinese from commemorating the event.

A diverse group of Chinese lawyers, writers, scholars and bereaved parents attended the May 3 seminar, which was called, “2014 Beijing Seminar on June Fourth Commemoration” (2014·北京·六四纪念研讨会).

*Cui Weiping (崔卫平), a professor at the Beijing Film Academy
*Guo Yuhua (郭于华), a professor of sociology at Tsinghua University
*Hao Jian (郝建), a Chinese film critic
*Hu Shigen (胡石根), a dissident writer
*Li Xuewen (黎学文), an independent writer and scholar from Beijing
*Liang Xiaoyan (梁晓燕), a former lecturer at Beijing Foreign Studies University who supported the students in 1989
*Liu Di (刘荻), an online dissident writer known by the moniker “stainless steel mouse”
*Pu Zhiqiang (浦志强), a well-known rights defense lawyer who has represented many cases related to freedom of speech
*Qin Hui (秦晖), a Chinese historian and public intellectual
*Wang Dongcheng (王东成), a professor at Beijing’s China Youth University for the Political Sciences
*Wu Wei (吴伟), an independent scholar who in the 1980s served in the Office for Political Reform Research (中央政治体制改革研讨小组办公室)
*Xu Youyu (徐友渔), a noted Chinese scholar of political science and history
*Ye Fu (野夫), an independent scholar
*Zhang Xianling (张先玲), the mother of a victim of the Tiananmen Incident
*Zhou Feng (周枫), an associate professor at the China Youth University for the Political Sciences

Addresses to the event in writing were also made by several noted public intellectuals who could not be present, including political scholar Chen Ziming (陈子明), legal scholar He Weifang (贺卫方) and writers Murong Xuecun (慕容雪村) and Wang Xiaoshan (王小山).