The Chinese University of Hong Kong Department of History Department of History
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HE Xiaoqing Rowena
HE Xiaoqing Rowena

BA (South China Normal University); M.A, Ph.D. (University of Toronto)
Associate Professor, Department of History, CUHK
Research Associate, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University


** Prof. HE Xiaoqing Rowena is currently on leave. **

Room 125, 1/F, Fung King Hey Building, CUHK, Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong
(852) 3943 7128

Professor He is a China specialist and historian of modern and contemporary Chinese society and politics. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Toronto and conducted her postdoctoral research at Harvard’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies as a SSHRC fellow (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada). 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 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. In 2018, she was selected as a member of the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) at Princeton. In 2022, she was awarded a National Humanities Center fellowship and will be in residence as a Luce Asia Fellow working on her next book on historical memory and power, and their implications for youth values, identity, and citizenship. She is also a current research associate of Harvard’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies.

Before joining CUHK in 2019, Professor He has taught at Harvard University, Wellesley College, and Saint Michael’s College. She received the Harvard University Certificate of Teaching Excellence for three consecutive years for the seminars that she created on the 1989 Tiananmen Movement and its aftermath. At CU, she received the Faculty of Arts Outstanding Teaching Award in 2010 and 2011.

Professor He speaks widely within and beyond the academy. She has given invited talks in academic institutions including Harvard, Yale, Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, SOAS at the University of London, the University of Heidelberg, and the University of Toronto. The interdisciplinary nature of her work is reflected in her invited talks at such institutions as the Harvard Law School, New York University Law School, Harvard Business School, and Harvard Graduate School of Education. 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. Her scholarly opinions are regularly sought by international media. She has been interviewed by the ABC (Australia), ABC (U.S.), Asahi Shimbun (Japan), AI Jazeera, Associated Press, BBC, Boston Globe, Boston Public Radio, CBC, CNN, Christian Science Monitor, CTV, Daily Telegraph, Financial Times, Globe and Mail, Guardian, Harvard Gazette, Harvard Magazine, Harvard Political Review, Inside Higher Education, Le Monde, London Times, Los Angeles Times, NPR, National Geographic, NBC, the New York Times, Public Radio International, Radio Free Asia, Radio Canada International, Reuters, Time, Times Higher Education, and other international media. Her op-eds have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Nation, the Guardian, the Globe and Mail, the Taiwan Insight, and the Italian Institute for International Political Studies. Her profile interview with the New York Times Chinese edition was ranked the Top 3 Most Popular Original Articles of 2016. She was designated among the Top 100 Chinese Public Intellectuals 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;
  • Academic freedom and Censorship/self-censorship
  • Patriotic education and post-89 student nationalism;
  • Life history and oral history
Selected Publications

Selected Interviews on Research and Teaching



  • Tiananmen Exiles: Voices of the Struggle for Democracy in China. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, April 2014, simultaneously in hardcover and paperback, Oral History Series.



  • “Patriotic Education in China.” In The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Asian History. Ed. David New York: Oxford University Press (forthcoming).
  • “Striking a Rock with Eggs: Resistance and Repression after Tiananmen.” In Crisis under Critique. Didier Fassin and Axel Honneth. New York: Columbia University Press, 2022, pp. 32-54.
  • “To Lead or Not To Lead: Campus Standoff In Hong Kong’s Water Movement.” Journal of International Affairs, 73, no. 2 (2020): 119-134.
  • “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.
  • “Identifying with a Rising China: Overseas Chinese Student Nationalism,” in Constructing Modern Asian Citizenship. Eds. Kumar and Vickers. UK: Routledge, 2015, pp. 314-340.
  • “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.



Research Projects
Year Research Project
In the Name of “Patriotism”: Chinese Student Nationalism Aboard
Awards and Honors
  • Luce Asia Fellow, National Humanities Center, 2022-2023
  • Faculty of Arts Outstanding Teaching Award, Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2020, 2021
  • Member, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, 2018-2019
  • Designated among Top 100 Chinese Public Intellectuals of 2016
  • Tiananmen Exiles named Top Five China Book of 2014, Asia Society China File
  • Harvard University Provost Fund for Arts and Humanities, 2013
  • Harvard University Elson Family Arts Initiative Fund for Humanities Teaching, 2013
  • Harvard Weatherhead Center for International Affairs Grant, 2013
  • Harvard University Certificate of Teaching Excellence, 2011, 2012, 2013
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, 2008-2010
  • Doctoral Fellowship, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, 2005-2007
  • Academic Excellence Award, University of Toronto, 2005, 2006, 2007
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship, Canada, 2005-2007
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