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    Tiananmen-era Dissident Fang Lizhi Dies at Age 76

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    NTDTelevision

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    One of China's most prominent dissidents of the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, Fang Lizhi died on Friday, April 6, at age 76 in Tucson, Arizona.

    Fang, who was at that time in the Chinese Communist Party, had no public role in the June 4 protests, but the leadership accused him of counter-revolutionary subversion.

    Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China holds annual candlelight vigils commemorating the June 4 crackdown.

    The head of Hong Kong Alliance, Lee Cheuk-yan said that Fang's openness gave hope to the students back then.

    [Lee Cheuk-yan, Chairman Hong Kong Alliance]:
    "I think, as an intellectual of that generation, he was already a vice principal and had high status in the Communist Party, but still he spoke out. This was very encouraging and inspiring for the students. And of course, he then protected the students and ensured that they could continue their discussions on democracy."

    Lee is also a Legislative Council member of Hong Kong. Although Lee never met Fang, he feels sorry Fang was in exile for such a long time.

    [Lee Cheuk-yan, Chairman Hong Kong Alliance]:
    "I think it's very regretful and sad that teacher Fang had been exiled for so many years and was never allowed to return to his country. I think this makes people wonder why the Chinese Communist Party is so cruel to the patriotic, exiled pro-democratic activists."

    Fang decided to find refuge after supporters of the regime burned images of him.

    Fang and his wife tried to find protection in the US Embassy in Beijing for more than a year after the army's crackdown. That was the time when the Chinese regime accused them both of counter-revolutionary crimes.

    In June 1990 the Chinese leadership came to an agreement with the US government. They allowed Fang to leave China for medical treatment.