Petition intended to stop attendance at meetings until Fang is released; but some say the tactic is wrong or worthless
WASHINGTON - The firm, clear voice belies his frail appearance at the podium. But that shouldn't have surprised anyone at last month's press conference. Former Soviet dissident Yuri Orlov is talking about a subject that he knows all-too-painfully well: a boycott by scientists of meetings sponsored by a Communist government until that government relinquishes its control over a human rights activist.

This latest boycott, launched by the American Physical Society and the American Astronomical Society, is aimed at pressuring the Chinese government into providing safe passage out of the country for cosmologist Fang Lizhi and his wife, physicist Li Shuzian, from their sanctuary in the United States embassy in Beijing. Fang stands accused of inciting "counter-revolutionary" activities in connection with the student protest that was crushed one year ago at...

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