Former Vice President of the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), member of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Chinese astrophysicist Fang Lizhi, died in Arizona on April 6 at the age of 76.
Professor Fang Lizhi (方励之) was a well-known astrophysicist and pro-democracy activist. He was expelled from the Communist Party of China in January 1987. On January 6, 1989, Professor Fang published an open letter to the then Chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission, Deng Xiaoping , calling for the release of pro-democracy activists such as Wei Jingsheng.
Shortly after the Tiananmen incident, Professor Fang Lizhi and his wife Li Shuxian entered the U.S. embassy in Beijing on June 5, 1989. After one year stay at the Embassy, they left China on June 25, 1990.
Professor Fang’s second son was killed in a traffic accident four years ago.
Many pro-democracy activists, including Wang Dan, expressed their deep and sincere condolences to Professor Fang’s family.
“Professor Fang Lizhi was my spiritual master, His death is a major blow to me. At this moment, my grief is beyond words. Professor Fang inspired the 89′ generation, awakened Chinese people’s yearning for human rights and democracy. One day China will be proud of him.”
— Wang Dan