Liu came to Harvard in the fall of 1988 as a Nieman Fellow. Near the end of his fellowship year, he denounced the Chinese government for “cracking down” on unarmed students in Tiananmen Square in June 1989. The government then denied him entry back into the country.
“Liu Binyan was a courageous Chinese journalist who believed deeply in bringing truth and honesty to his reporting. He paid a heavy price for his forthright critiques of the Chinese government. In his final months, he told friends that his greatest wish was to return to Tiananmen Square to fly kites with his grandchildren. In spite of his own efforts and the support of his friends, his Nieman classmates and the Nieman Foundation, his own government would not allow him to spend his last days in the country he truly loved.”