Tuesday, February 25, 2014

This Day in 1989: Fang Lizhi Unable to Attend Bush's Banquet

In the evening of February 26, 1989, Professor Fang Lizhi and his wife Li Shuxian, accompanied by their American friend Perry Link and his wife, were on their way to the Great Wall Sheraton Hotel, where the visiting President George H. W. Bush was hosting a banquet. In a somewhat surprising and controversial move, Bush had invited this prominent dissident as a gesture of support.

Their car was soon stopped by the police, citing a traffic violation. They walked instead, but were refused entry to the hotel. The police even ordered taxi and bus drivers not to pick them up when they tried to go to the American Embassy instead.

They eventually ended up at the Shangri-La Hotel and told their stories to the foreign press there. Fang Lizhi protested that "this is a fresh example of the human rights violations in China."

The Bush administration had only muted response to the incident.

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