Tiananmen and Beyond: Peering Over the Great Wall

Issue Date Winter 1990
Volume 1
Issue 1
Page Numbers 32-40
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Our goal at present is the thorough modernization of China. We all have a compelling sense of the need for this. There is a widespread feeling of dissatisfaction with the status quo among people in all walks of life. We in science and academia feel extremely strongly about this. Modernization has been one of our country’s main goals ever since the Gang of Four was overthrown ten years ago, but we are just beginning to understand what it really means. At first we were aware primarily of grave shortcomings in our economy, our productivity, our science, and our technology, and knew that modernization was needed in these areas. But now we understand our situation much better. We realize that grave shortcomings exist not only in our “material civilization” but also in our “spiritual civilization – our culture, our moral standards, our political institutions-and that these also require modernization.

About the Author

Fang Lizhi, a Chinese astrophysicist who has emerged in the last decade as China’s most eloquent advocate of democracy and academic freedom, has been called “China’s Andrei Sakharov.” In the wake of the Tiananmen Square massacre in June 1989, he sought asylum at the American Embassy in Beijing, where he remained for 386 days. He is currently affiliated with the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University.

View all work by Fang Lizhi