Taiwan expressed its sadness yesterday over the death of Chinese democracy activist Fang Lizhi (方勵之), who died on Friday last week in Tucson, Arizona, at the age of 76 after years of exile in the US.
“Every member of the Taiwanese public shares the same feeling of sorrow about his passing,” Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister Liu Te-shun (劉德勳) said in response to questions at a regular news briefing.
Liu said the death of Fang, a liberal academic who was an inspiration for the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protesters, was a loss for the development of China’s human rights and civil rights.
The Taiwanese government has long made clear its stance on the development of democracy in China and that democracy is a universal value, Liu said.
“Any responsible government must face its people with this [democratic] way of thinking,” he added.
Fang, an astrophysicist and former University of Science and Technology of China vice president, was expelled from the Chinese Communist Party and removed from his post at the university in 1987 because of a statement advocating democracy.
During the 1989 protests in Beijing, Fang and his wife were granted asylum at the US embassy, where they stayed for a year before being flown to Britain on a US aircraft. Six months later, they moved to the US, where Fang was later employed as a physics professor at the University of Arizona.