Astrophysicist Fang Lizhi, one of China's most outspoken advocates of democracy, was vice president of the University of Science and Technology in Hefei during the student demonstrations that started there last December and spread to other cities, including Beijing. In January, Fang was dismissed from his university post and shortly thereafter was expelled from the Communist Party. Accused of inspiring the student unrest and "attempting to depart from the socialist road, "Fang was sent back to Beijing.

During China's Cultural Revolution nearly two decades earlier, the prestigious national University of Science and Technology had been moved from Beijing to Hefei, the capital of Anhui Province in southeastern China. Also making that move was lecturer Fang Lizhi. He now laughs when recalling his colleagues' joking telephone calls earlier this year congratulating him, following his expulsion, on finally getting a transfer home.

Born in Beijing, Fang graduated from Beijing University in...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?