Back in 1988, when the Tiananmen Square crackdown and Fang Lizhi's celebrated exile to the United States were still a year or more in the future, Orville Schell did a long article about Fang and the prospects for Chinese reform in the Atlantic. It is still very much worth reading, on the occasion of Fang's death this week. (As a reminder: Fang was a celebrated astrophysicist in China whose views on democratic reform helped inspire the student protests of 1989. Also as a reminder: this was at a time of widespread reform movements against Communist regimes, notably the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, both shortly after Tiananmen. Fang was granted asylum in the U.S. embassy in Beijing, and after nearly a year there was allowed by Chinese authorities to leave the country and come to the United States, where he lived and taught most of the time since.)
Also worth reading: Fang Lizhi's recent works on his native country and its hopes for political evolution, mainly in the New York Review of Books. These include a harsh review of Ezra Vogel's recent biography of Deng Xiaoping; a look back on the "confession" that was part of Fang's eventual exit from China; and the original text of the statement he issued after the Tiananmen shootings, these latter two translated by Perry Link.