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Chinese dissident journalist disappears before Tiananmen anniversary event

Reporters Without Borders is concerned about well-known dissident journalist Gao Yu's disappearance in the run-up to the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre of 4 June 1989. There has been no trace of her since 23 April 2014.

Gao was to have participated in a demonstration on 26 April marking the 25th anniversary of a People's Daily editorial describing the Tiananmen Square protests as an "anti-party and anti-socialist upheaval." It marked the start of a tougher party line towards the protesters.

When Gao met journalists with Australia's Fairfax Media on 22 April, she told then she had been threatened by state security officers. No message has been posted on her Twitter account since 23 April. Her lawyer, Teng Biao, reported on 27 April that she had been missing for the past four days.

"The arrests of government opponents, former protest leaders and dissident journalists are unfortunately common at this time of the year," said Benjamin Ismaïl, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Asia-Pacific desk.

"We call on the authorities to quickly provide any information that have about Gao Yu's whereabouts. If they are responsible for her silence, they must release her at once. If they are not, they must carry out an independent investigation to establish the exact facts of the matter. In either case, silence by the authorities is indicative of guilt."

The winner of many awards, including the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize in 1997, Gao had planned to travel to Hong Kong to take part in a news conference on World Press Freedom Day, 3 May.
Information about the "Tiananmen Square events" is the subject of a major censorship operation every year and the circulation of such information leads to arrests of activists.

China is ranked 175th out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

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