The Most Wanted Man in China My Journey from Scientist to Enemy of the State

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2/9/2016
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

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The long-awaited memoir by Fang Lizhi, the celebrated physicist whose clashes with the Chinese regime helped inspire the Tiananmen Square protests

Fang Lizhi was one of the most prominent scientists of the People's Republic of China; he worked on the country's first nuclear program and later became one of the world's leading astrophysicists. His devotion to science and the pursuit of truth led him to question the authority of the Communist regime. That got him in trouble.

In 1957, after advocating reforms in the Communist Party, Fang -- just twenty-one years old -- was dismissed from his position, stripped of his Party membership, and sent to be a farm laborer in a remote village. Over the next two decades, through the years of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, he was alternately denounced and rehabilitated, revealing to him the pettiness, absurdity, and horror of the regime's excesses. He returned to more normal work in academia after the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, but the cycle soon began again. This time his struggle became a public cause, and his example helped inspire the Tiananmen Square protests.

Immediately after the crackdown in June 1989, Fang and his wife sought refuge in the U.S. embassy, where they hid for more than a year before being allowed to leave the country. During that time Fang wrote this memoir The Most Wanted Man in China, which has never been published, until now. His story, told with vivid detail and disarming humor, is a testament to the importance of remaining true to one's principles in an unprincipled time and place.

Author Biography

Fang Lizhi was an astrophysicist and the vice president of the University of Science and Technology of China. A recipient of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, he was a professor of physics at the University of Arizona until his death in 2012.

Perry Link, professor emeritus of East Asian Studies at Princeton University, teaches at the University of California, Riverside. He is the author or editor of several books on Chinese literature, culture, and politics, including The Tiananmen Papers.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Perry Link ix
Introduction 1
1 My Ancestors 3
2 My Home in Beijing 17
3 Elementary School in Occupied Beijing 30
4 My Prime Movers 43
5 On Campus at Peking University 58
6 My First Trip to the Bottom 72
7 Life in the Fields 87
8 Into the University of Science and Technology 102
9 Days Under the Dynasty 117
10 Reeducation at Bagong Mountain 133
11 Arrival in Hefei 148
12 Turn Toward Astrophysics 164
13 Modernization at the End of the 1970s 178
14 Stepping Out of China 194
15 In the Tides of Reform 209
16 Vice President of the University of Science and Technology of China 225
17 Bourgeois Liberalism 241
18 Dissident 257
19 Spring 1989 272
20 Thirteen Months 288
Afterword by Perry Link 305
Index 319

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