FROM THE ANTHOLOGY: Tiananmen at 30

Chinese Dissidence From Tiananmen to Today

How the People's Grievances Have Grown


Amnesty International protests in front of the Chinese Embassy in Brussels, 2009. (Thierry Roge / Courtesy Reuters)

On June 5, 1989, the day after the bloody crackdown on protesters in Tiananmen Square, Fang Lizhi, a prominent astrophysicist, and his wife, Li Shuxian, sought refuge in the U.S. embassy in Beijing. Fang, an intellectual and a strong proponent of democracy and human rights, and his wife were at the top of the Chinese government's wanted list. Fang was accused of being one of the "black hands" behind the student demonstrations. For more than a year, he and Li lived in the basement of the U.S. embassy while, outside, the Chinese authorities tracked down, detained, and imprisoned others suspected of so-called "counterrevolutionary crimes." In June 1990, they were allowed to leave China for the United States, where they lived in exile for the next 22 years. 

The negotiation over Fang's future was complicated by international response

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