Updated: 05/06/2014 15:14 | By Agence France-Presse

China lawyer held ahead of Tiananmen anniversary: associate

One of China's most celebrated human rights lawyers was detained Tuesday, an associate told AFP, a month before the highly sensitive 25th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.

China lawyer held ahead of Tiananmen anniversary: associate

Human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang (R) and Chinese artist Ai Weiwei pictured in Beijing on July 20, 2012 - by Ed Jones

Pu Zhiqiang was held by police in Beijing "over charges of creating disturbances", said lawyer Si Weijiang.

"He is now held at the Beijing No. 1 detention centre," Si said.

Authorities routinely round up outspoken critics of the Communist Party in the weeks before key events.

Pu -- who has represented dissident artist Ai Weiwei and is a prominent rights campaigner -- attended a seminar in Beijing on Saturday to mark the brutal suppression of huge anti-government protests in Tiananmen Square, according to online reports.

Academics and other members of China's rights movement attended the event, along with the mother of a dead protester, the reports said.

Hundreds of people -- by some estimates, thousands -- died in the June 4, 1989 crackdown. Beijing called the demonstrations a "counter-revolutionary riot".

Some of Pu's associates said online that he was initially questioned by police soon after the meeting.

An official from Beijing police told AFP he was unable to comment when asked about Pu's detention.

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