Gao, 70, was expected at a meeting Saturday to commemorate an Apr. 26, 1989, newspaper editorial dealing with Tiananmen Square demonstrators, as well as to honor the late Communist Party adviser Chen Yizi, who opposed the suppression of the students.
“She’s been out of contact for three days,” said Yao Jianfu, a friend of Gao’s. Her last e-mail, to a German newspaper, came last Wednesday, the same day she last posted a Twitter message.
Chinese activists are routinely detained by authorities as significant anniversaries approach. And the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, which culminated with the deaths of hundreds (if not thousands) of students on June 3-4, 1989, is the topic of debate and introspection, although the government has banned public discussion of the topic.
Gao was imprisoned for years due to official outrage over her published work for international newspapers. She was detained for 14 months following the Tiananmen Square demonstrations, and was jailed in 1993 for six years for leaking state secrets. Her columns, typically published in the German newspaper Deutsche Welle, have included criticism of party leaders and other members of the Chinese elite.