Dissident Fang Lizhi's son says he is happy his parents are finally free and out of China's reach.
China on Monday allowed astrophysicist Fang and his wife, physicist Li Shuxian, to leave the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, where they had taken asylum a year ago. They arrived near London late Monday in a U.S. Air Force jet."They are out of Chinese hands. Beijing cannot control them anymore," their son, Fang Ke, said Monday. "They'll be able to see the sun, to breathe the air and maybe to see the ocean. That's great for them. They're free."
The 27-year-old physics student at Wayne State University last saw his parents in 1986 before leaving China to study at the University of Louisville.
The elder Fang took refuge at the embassy after the Chinese government's crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square. He has been been China's most vocal dissident, supporting student pro-democracy protests in 1986.
The couple's release came as Congress debated whether to give China most-favored-nation trading status.
"I don't think my father likes to be the bargaining chip," the younger Fang said. "He will not appreciate that he was being used."
He said China should release other political prisoners who have been jailed without being charged or tried. "I feel happy for my family and for their release . . . but we don't know the exact number of people still in jail," he said.
Fang Ke said he kept in touch with his parents through letters while they were in the embassy.