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Dissident 'pork' artist Guo Jian arrives in Sydney after deportation from China

By Zoe Li, CNN
updated 8:58 AM EDT, Tue June 17, 2014
Artist Guo Jian arrives at Sydney Airport on June 17.
Artist Guo Jian arrives at Sydney Airport on June 17.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • After being held by Beijing police for more than two weeks, Guo Jian is deported to Australia
  • The artist created a miniature model of Beijing landmark Tiananmen Square and covered it in ground meat
  • A former participant of the 1989 student demonstrations at the square, Guo is highly critical of Chinese army

(CNN) -- Prominent Chinese-Australian artist Guo Jian has arrived in Sydney after being deported from China where he was held by police for 15 days following his comments on the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square military crackdown.

Guo arrived at Sydney Airport early Tuesday morning and told awaiting media that he was "happy to be back here."

Chinese-born Guo, 52, previously lived in Australia for nearly two decades. He returned to Beijing in 2005 to live and work.

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According to a spokesman from Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Chinese authorities said Guo was detained and deported due to visa irregularities.

Artist Guo Jian's 2014 installation, "The Square", consists of a model of Beijing's Tiananmen Square covered in 160 kilograms of ground pork. Artist Guo Jian's 2014 installation, "The Square", consists of a model of Beijing's Tiananmen Square covered in 160 kilograms of ground pork.
'The Square'
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Guo Jian\'s \ Guo Jian's "The Square" (2014)

Guo was detained on June 1 of this year after a profile of him was published in the Financial Times featuring his latest work: a billiard table-sized diorama of Tiananmen Square covered in 160 kilograms of ground pork, evoking memories of the bloody suppression of protesters in 1989.

Guo was an active participant in the 1989 demonstrations, which lasted weeks and culminated in Chinese troops opening fire on a largely student crowd which had occupied the central Beijing landmark.

In the FT article, Guo was highly critical of the People's Liberation Army: "The army is regarded as a loveable institution. But at Tiananmen I realized it's not, they will kill you if ordered to," he was quoted as saying.

Two days after the article was published, Guo was taken from his Beijing home.

Detentions were on the rise ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre, which was on June 4. Authorities across the country arrested a number of prominent dissidents and critics of the government, many of whom are still being held.

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