NEW YORK — The State Department confirmed the presence of a prominent Chinese dissident in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, evidently against the wishes of U.S. Ambassador James R. Lilley, CBS News reported Thursday.
Lilley, interviewed in Beijing by CBS, refused to comment on whether Fang Lizhi, an astrophysicist who has been dubbed the "Andrei Sakharov of China," is staying at the Embassy. Fang, 53, was expelled from the Communist Party in 1987.
Lilley became visibly angry when asked about State Department reports that Fang had taken refuge at the embassy to avoid falling victim to the Communist government's crackdown on the pro-democracy movement.
"That's the State Department's business," Lilley snapped. "If they have all the answers, ask them."
His comments came shortly after the Chinese government filed a strong protest with Lilley for granting refuge to Fang, who has been accused in official media reports of masterminding the democracy movement.