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Australian says China to deport detained artist

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CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A Chinese-born Australian artist detained in Beijing ahead of the 25th anniversary of the military clampdown on the student protest centered around Tiananmen Square will be deported after 15 days in custody, Australia said Friday.

Guo Jian, a former protester in China's 1989 pro-democracy movement, was taken away by Chinese authorities on Sunday shortly after a profile of him appeared in the Financial Times newspaper in commemoration of the anniversary of the crackdown.

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said consular officials seeking an explanation for Jian's detention were allowed to visit him in Beijing.

"Chinese authorities have advised Mr. Guo was detained on a visa-related matter," the department said in a statement.

"We understand Mr. Guo will be detained for 15 days and then required to depart China," it said. The Australian government would provide consular help during his detention.

Guo told an Associated Press reporter as he was taken away from his home in suburban Beijing on Sunday night that he would be held by police until June 15.

It was part of a string of detentions of artists, lawyers, scholars and journalists ahead of the Tiananmen anniversary amid intense government efforts to deter coverage by international 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.

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

But this year's suppression was harsher than in previous years, as police rounded up activists who had received only warnings in the past.

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