Keeping the Faith by Fang Lizhi The New York Review of Books

On June 4, the day after the People’s Liberation Army opened fire on the citizens of Beijing, the distinguished Chinese astrophysicist and dissident intellectual, Fang Lizhi, reluctantly sought refuge in the American embassy in Beijing with his physicist wife, Li Shuxian. They did so because they feared for their lives. With a warrant out for their arrests accusing them of “counterrevolutionary instigation,” they have now spent six solitary months as refugees within their own country. They have become symbols both of China’s crushed democracy movement, and of the deteriorated state of Sino–US relations. In fact, so agitated has the Chinese government become over Fang, that it is highly unlikely that relations between the two countries will be able to return even to a semblance of normalcy unless Fang and his wife are released. But with hard-line leaders in China continuing to claim that by sheltering Fang and Li the US has been interfering in their country’s “internal affairs,” and that “he who ties the knot must untie it,” Fang and his wife do not seem likely to be liberated soon.

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