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S.Res. 476 (112th): A resolution honoring the contributions of the late Fang Lizhi to the people of China and the cause of freedom.

The text of the bill below is as of Jun 4, 2012 (Introduced).



2d Session

S. RES. 476


June 4, 2012

(for himself, Mr. Inhofe, Mr. Kyl, Mr. McCain, Mr. Menendez, and Mr. Webb) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


Honoring the contributions of the late Fang Lizhi to the people of China and the cause of freedom.

Whereas the Chinese scientist and democracy advocate, Fang Lizhi, passed away at his home in Tucson, Arizona, on April 6, 2012;

Whereas Fang Lizhi was born in February 1936 in Beijing, China;

Whereas, in 1952, Fang Lizhi enrolled in the Physics Department of Peking University, where he met his future wife, Li Shuxian, and joined the Chinese Communist Party in 1955;

Whereas, in 1955, Fang Lizhi openly questioned the lack of independent thinking in China’s education system and, in 1957, drafted a letter with Li Shuxian and other associates proposing political reform;

Whereas Fang Lizhi and Li Shuxian were sentenced to hard labor in 1957 and 1958, respectively, as victims of China’s Anti-Rightist Campaign;

Whereas, during China’s Cultural Revolution, Fang Lizhi and other faculty members and students of the University of Science and Technology of China were sentenced to reeducation through labor in a coal mine and a brick factory;

Whereas, after he was again freed from confinement, Fang Lizhi emerged as China’s leading astrophysicist and wrote the first modern Chinese-language cosmological studies, although the theory of general relatively contradicted Communist dogma;

Whereas, when he was appointed as vice president of the University of Science and Technology of China in 1984, Fang Lizhi initiated a series of reforms intended to democratize the management of the university and enhance academic freedom;

Whereas, in the winter of 1986–1987, when Chinese students across China protested on behalf of democracy and human rights, the Government of China fired Fang Lizhi from his post at the University of Science and Technology of China and subsequently purged him from the Communist party;

Whereas when, in the wake of his purge, excerpts from Fang Lizhi’s speeches were distributed by authorities in China as examples of bourgeois liberalism, his writings became tremendously popular among Chinese students;

Whereas, in February 1989, Fang Lizhi published an essay entitled China’s Despair and China’s Hope, in which he wrote, The road to democracy has already been long and difficult, and is likely to remain difficult for many years to come.;

Whereas, in this essay, Fang Lizhi also wrote that it is precisely because democracy is generated from below—despite the many frustrations and disappointments in our present situation—I still view our future with hope;

Whereas, in the spring and early summer of 1989, Chinese students gathered in Tiananmen Square to voice their support for democracy, as well as to protest corruption in the Chinese Communist Party;

Whereas Fang Lizhi chose not to join the protests at Tiananmen Square in order to demonstrate that the students were acting autonomously;

Whereas, from June 3 through 4, 1989, the Government of China directed the People’s Liberation Army to clear Tiananmen Square of protestors, killing hundreds of students and other civilians in the process;

Whereas, the Government of China issued arrest warrants for Fang Lizhi and Li Shuxian after the Tiananmen Massacre, accusing the pair of engaging in counterrevolutionary propaganda and denouncing Fang as the instigator of chaos which resulted in the deaths of many people;

Whereas, on June 5, 1989, Fang Lizhi and Li Shuxian were escorted by United States diplomats to the United States Embassy in Beijing;

Whereas, between June 1989 and June 1990, United States diplomatic personnel under the leadership of Ambassador James R. Lilley sheltered Fang Lizhi and Li Shuxian at the United States Embassy in Beijing, despite the many hardships it imposed on the mission;

Whereas, at a November 15, 1989, ceremony awarding Fang Lizhi the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, Senator Edward M. Kennedy said of Fang What Andrei Sakharov was in Moscow, Fang Lizhi became in Beijing.;

Whereas, on June 25, 1990, Fang Lizhi and Li Shuxian were allowed to leave China for the United Kingdom and then the United States;

Whereas, in 1992, Fang Lizhi received an appointment as a professor of physics at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where he continued his research in astrophysics and advocating for human rights in China;

Whereas, in the years since June 4, 1989, a new generation of Chinese activists has continued the struggle for democracy in their homeland, working from below to protect the rights of Chinese citizens, to increase the openness of the Chinese political system, and to reduce corruption among public officials; and

Whereas, with the passing of Fang Lizhi, China and the United States have lost a great scientist and one of the most eloquent human rights advocates of the modern era: Now, therefore, be it

That the Senate—


mourns the loss of Fang Lizhi;


honors the life, scientific contributions, and service of Fang Lizhi to advance the cause of human freedom;


offers the deepest condolences of the Senate to the family and friends of Fang Lizhi; and


stands with the people of China as they strive to improve their way of life and create a government that is truly democratic and respectful of international norms in the area of human rights.