At The New York Review of Books, Perry Link shares eight favorite memories of “astrophysicist, activist, and dissident” Fang Lizhi, who died on April 6th last year.
In May, 1989, while student demonstrators were in the streets of Beijing calling for democracy, I listened as a Western journalist interviewed Fang. At the end, the interviewer asked if there were a way he could pursue follow-up questions if necessary. Fang said “sure,” and gave the reporter his telephone number.
“We’ve heard that your phone is tapped,” the reporter said. “Is it?”
“I assume so.” Fang grinned.
“Doesn’t that…bother you?” the reporter asked.
“No,” said Fang, “for years I’ve been trying to get them to listen to me. If this is how they want to do it, then fine!”
See more on Fang, including Link’s earlier tribute and James H. Williams’ biographical appreciation from China Quarterly and the Forum on International Physics Newsletter, via CDT.