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HE Xiaoqing, Rowena

BA (South China Normal University); M.A, Ph.D. (University of Toronto)
Associate Professor, Department of History, CUHK


Address: Room 125, Fung King Hey Building, CUHK, NT, Hong Kong
Phone: (852) 3943 7128

Professor He received her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto and conducted her postdoctoral research at Harvard’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. Her first book Tiananmen Exiles: Voices of the Struggle for Democracy in China was named one of the Top Five China Books of 2014 by the Asia Society’s China File. The book has been reviewed favorably in the New York Review of Books, the Christian Science Monitor, the Human Rights Quarterly, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the Daily Telegraph, the New Statesman, the Spectator, the Journal of East Asian Libraries, the China Journal, and other international periodicals and newspapers.  

Before joining CUHK, she has taught at Harvard University, Wellesley College, and Saint Michael’s College. The seminars that she created on the 1989 Tiananmen Movement and its aftermath earned her the Harvard University Certificate of Teaching Excellence for three years. She was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton during the 2018-19 academic year. She is also a current research associate of Harvard’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies.

In addition to her scholarly work, Professor He also publishes and speaks widely outside the academy. She was designated among the Top 100 Chinese Public Intellectuals of 2016. Her op-eds have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Nation, the Guardian, and the Globe and Mail. She has been a keynote speaker for the Canada Human Rights National Symposium, testified at a U.S. Congressional hearing, and delivered lectures for the U.S. State Department and the Canada International Council. She has been interviewed by the ABC (Australia), AI Jazeera, Associated Press, BBC, Boston Globe, Boston Public Radio, CBC, Christian Science Monitor, CTV, Daily Telegraph, Globe and Mail, Guardian, Harvard Gazette, Harvard Magazine, Los Angeles Times, NPR, National Geographic, NBC, the New York Times, Public Radio International, Radio Free Asia, Radio Canada International, Time, Voice of America, Wellesley News, and various other international media. Her profile interview with the New York Times Chinese edition was ranked the Top 3 Most Popular Original Articles of 2016.

Research Interests

Modern and contemporary Chinese history, society, and politics; Interdisciplinary inquiries into the nexus of history, memory, and power, political socialization, youth values, and social change, and their implications for citizenship, identity, human rights, and democracy; the 1989 Tiananmen Movement and its aftermath; intellectual freedom and censorship; patriotic education and post-89 student nationalism; oral history and life history

Selected Interviews on Research and Teaching Interests

“Teaching Tiananmen to a Younger Generation.” New York Times, June 21, 2016.

“在美国上六四课,中国学生心态各异”。纽约时报中文版 New York Times Chinese, Part I June 6, Part II June 7, 2016.

六四历史、记忆与教育with 也斯[June 4th History, Memory and Education]. Ming Pao 明报(星期日副刊), June 12, 2011.

Radio Free Asia : 六四三十周年:面对历史,才有未来

Selected Publications

  1. Tiananmen Exiles: Voices of the Struggle for Democracy in China.  New York: Palgrave Macmillan, April 2014, simultaneously in hardcover and paperback, under Oral History Series.
  2. “The 1989 Tiananmen Movement and its Aftermath.” In The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Asian History. Ed. David Ludden. New York: Oxford University Press. December 2017.
  3. “Identifying with a Rising China: Overseas Chinese Student Nationalism,” in Constructing Modern Asian Citizenship. Eds. Kumar and Vickers. UK:Routledge, 2015, pp. 314-340.
  4. “Curriculum in Exile: Teaching Tiananmen at Harvard.” Curriculum and Teaching Dialogue: The Journal for the American Association for Teaching and Curriculum, Volume 14, Numbers 1 & 2, 2011-2012, pp.53-66.
  5. “Education as a Political Tool in Asia.”  China Quarterly. Volume 200, December 2009, 1104-1106.

Published Op-Eds :

  1. “Never Forget, Never Give up: The Tiananmen Movement, 30 years later.” The Globe and Mail, April 19, 2019.
  2. China continues to deny Tiananmen, but we won’t let the world forget.” Guardian, June 4, 2019.
  3. “Surviving Tiananmen: The Price of Dissent in China.” The Nation, June 4, 2019. 
  4. “False Identity? Forced Identity?: Taiwan in China’s Post-Tiananmen Nationalism.” Taiwan Insight, University of Nottingham, June issue, 2019.
  5. “Remembering the Unknown Fallen of 1989 China.” Online Journal of the Institute for Political Research, Italy, June 4, 2019.   
  6. “The Open Wound of Tiananmen.” Wall Street Journal, June 4, 2015.
  7. “The Fight for Democracy is not just a Challenge for People in Hong Kong.” Guardian, September 29 2014.
  8. “Tiananmen: A War of Memory against Forgetting.”  Globe and Mail. Op-ed page, June 3, 2014.
  9. “Still Seeking Justice for the Tiananmen Massacre.” Washington Post. Op-ed page, June 5, 2012. Reprinted by Japan Times.
  10. “Reading Havel in Beijing.” Wall Street Journal, p. 10, December 30, 2011.