Fang Lizhi, (physicist)
Date: 1955 1957 1966
Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion
Medium: Public Speech, Literature
Artist: Fang Lizhi (b. 1936)
Confronting Bodies: Chinese Communist Party, Communist Youth League
Dates of Action: 1955, 1957, 1966
Location: Beijing, China
Description of Artwork: Fang was an outspoken advocate of academic freedom. In 1955, while studying theoretical and nuclear physics at Beijing University, he suggested that students oppose the Chinese education system and pressure the government to separate itself from academic research. He wrote a letter with the same message to the Chinese Communist Party.
The Incident: Fang was denounced by the Anti-Rightist Campaign in 1957. He was expelled from the Communist Party and sent to Hebei province for labor reform. Fang returned to teach at the University of Science and Technology, but was not permitted to do research. He was arrested by the Red Guard and detained for three years beginning in 1966, then sent to work in the coal mines of Anhui province.
Results of Incident: Fang was able to return to the University of Science and Technology and re-initiated into the Communist Party during the 1970s. He continued to pressure the government for academic freedom. Fang and his wife fled China to study in Britain and the United States after the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.
Source: Censorship, A World Encyclopedia, ed. D. Jones