Fang Lizhi and Yan Jiaqi

  • C. L. Chiou


In a series of lectures at Beijing, Jiaotong, Tongji, Zhejiang and other universities in late 1986, Fang Lizhi, then vice-president of the Chinese University of Science and Technology, Hefei, Anhui, and world-renowned astrophysicist, suddenly emerged from obscurity to become “China’s Sakharov”, the leading fighter for democracy in China. The messages of Fang’s speeches were simple and straightforward, powerful but sometimes demagogic. He talked about knowledge being higher than authority, of intellectuals as the vanguard of the society, and that China was still a feudalist society. He said that from Marx to Mao socialism had failed, the “four cardinal principles” (upholding Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought, people’s democracy, party dictatorship and the socialist road) should not be a superstitious, authoritarian, or conservative ideology, and the CCP should be reformed. He stressed that China needed pluralism, and that democracy would not be handed down from above. He believed that modernization is not just economic development, and that democracy has to be based on human rights and to start from each individual. He explained that democracy is a political system of separation of power and checks and balances. His strongest condemnation was directed at the corruption and special privileges of the party cadres and government officials, and expressed anger at the soaring prices and poor living standard of the people. He called on Deng Xiaoping to be “China’s George Washington” (Fang, 1987).


Chinese Student Political Reform Opposition Parti National People Competitive Election 
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Copyright information

© C. L. Chiou 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. L. Chiou
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of QueenslandAustralia
  2. 2.National Science CouncilTaiwan

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