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.