The recent political shakeup in China, including the expulsion of several prominent scientists from their university or academy poets, is sending shock waves through the larger scientific community there, according to some Western observers.

"What has happened is a serious damper on the scientific and intellectual community in general," said Otto Schnepp, a chemist at the University of Southern California who was science counselor in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing from 1980 to 1982. "How this will make itself felt is very difficult to tell."

Student demonstrations in December at the prestigious University of Science and Technology in the eastern city of Hefei later spread to other cities. In the crackdown against "bourgeois liberalization" (Western democratic ideas) that followed, those ousted from their posts have included Fang Lizhi, an astrophysicist and vice president at the university in Hefei, and of Lu Jiaxi and Yan Dongsheng, president and vice president, respectively,...

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