Chinese-Australian artist Guo Jian has been reportedly detained by Chinese authorities ahead of the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Square.
The arrest is the latest in a string of detention of lawyers, artists and journalists around the anniversary of the military clampdown on the pro-democracy student movement centred around the square in 1989.
Guo, a former Tiananmen Square protester and soldier, was taken by officials on Sunday night from his home in Songzhuang, an art colony in the eastern suburbs of Beijing, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade issued a statement stating it has "strong interest" in the case and is seeking information of Guo's reported detention, in order to provide consular assistance.
"The Australian Embassy in Beijing has contacted Chinese authorities to seek further information on the reported detention of Mr Guo Jian and to underline our strong interest in the matter," a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade told the Sydney Morning Herald. "The Australian Government stands ready to extend all possible consular assistance to Mr Guo."
Friends of Guo believe he was taken in by authorities because of an interview with the Financial Times, where he revealed he had created an artwork to privately commemorate the 4 June anniversary, covering a large diorama of Tiananmen Square with 160 kilogrammes of minced meat.
A native of south-western Guizhou province, Guo was 17 when he joined the People's Liberation Army and was sent to the front during the brief Sino-Vietnamese war, but never saw combat.
The Straits Times reported that the 52-year-old artist managed to send two short text messages to friends about his arrest.
According to the newspaper, he messaged his friend Melanie Wang, who is also an artist, saying she would be able to reach Guo on the phone briefly. He said police had told him he would be released in 15 days.
"I asked if he needed any clothes, or any money, he said 'not at the moment'," Wang said.
China has detained or put under house arrest dozens of people ahead of the anniversary, in an attempt to suppress any commemoration of the protest and its military suppression, which remains a taboo.
The Tiananmen Square protests ended on 4 June 1989 with the declaration of martial law in Beijing by the government and the shooting of several hundred, or possibly thousands, of civilians by soldiers.
The exact death toll from the protests remains unknown, but the official recorded figure in China is 246.
Xiaolu Guo, a film-maker and fiction writer whose latest book I Am China is due for release, recently spoke of the round-up of dissidents carried out ahead of the 4 June anniversary each year. "Every year there's a clean-up, then they'll release people."