By mid-1991 Sino-American relations had reached their lowest point in almost 20 years. Despite widespread revulsion against the Chinese government's use of excessive force to suppress the 1989 Beijing Spring movement, relations between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the United States improved after the release of astrophysicist and dissident Fang Lizhi and his wife, Li Shuxian, in June 1990. Ties with other Western nations, including France, which houses the major Chinese dissident movement, have become relatively civil. But numerous events have further undermined Sino-American ties since summer 1990, with the result that in 1991 relations between the two countries threatened to move closer to a total break.