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China detains rights lawyer ahead of 25th anniversary of Tiananmen crackdown

Published on May 6, 2014 2:22 PM

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China has detained a prominent human rights lawyer on a charge of "causing a disturbance", two lawyers said on Tuesday, after he attended a weekend meeting that urged a probe of the bloody suppression of pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Pu Zhiqiang, a leading free-speech lawyer, has represented many well-known dissidents, including artist Ai Weiwei and activists of the "New Citizens' Movement", a group that has urged Chinese leaders to disclose their assets.

The move to formally detain Pu underscores the sensitivity of Chinese leaders to any form of criticism ahead of the 25th anniversary of China's crackdown on the demonstrations around Tiananmen Square in Beijing on June 4, 1989.

"Pu is very influential and has a following in the mainstream audience," said Maya Wang, a China researcher for New York-based advocacy group Human Rights Watch.

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