Perry Link: In China in the 1980s, the word renquan (“human rights”) was extremely “sensitive.” Few dared even to utter it in public, let alone to champion the concept. Now, nearly three decades later, even people at the lowest levels of society demand their rights. No one brought about this dramatic change single-handedly, but arguably no one did more to get it started than Fang Lizhi, the Chinese astrophysicist, activist, and dissident, who died a year ago. We were friends for many years; here are eight of my favorite memories of him.
Photo of Fang Lizhi by Forrest Anderson/Getty Images