Fang Lizhi

Like Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, to whom he is often compared, Chinese astrophysicist Fang Lizhi brought a scientist's pursuit of the truth to a society in which such honesty was revolutionary and dangerous. Fang, who died in Tucson, Ariz., on April 6 at the age of 76, became one of China's best-known thinkers in the 1980s, when Chinese intellectuals clamored to hear his talks denouncing Communist Party corruption and restraints on academic freedom. His ideas helped inspire student demonstrations in 1986 and the Tiananmen protests three years later. After the 1989 movement was crushed by Chinese troops, Fang and his wife...

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