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Dr. Rowena Xiaoqing He

Dr. Rowena Xiaoqing He, Fellow, Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, Creator of a Harvard seminar on the 1989 Tiananmen democracy movement)

Professor He received her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto and conducted her postdoctoral research at Harvard’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies (哈佛大學費正清研究中心博士).


Professor He received her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto and conducted her postdoctoral research at Harvard’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies (哈佛大學費正清研究中心博士後).

Her first book Tiananmen Exiles: Voices of the Struggle for Democracy in China (天安門流亡:中國民主抗爭的呼聲) was named one of the Top Five China Books of 2014 by the Asia Society (亞洲協會). She has taught at Harvard University and Wellesley College. The seminars that she created on the 1989 Tiananmen Movement and its aftermath earned her the Harvard University Certificate of Teaching Excellence(哈佛大學傑出教學獎)for three years. 

In addition to her scholarly work, Professor He speaks and publishes 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 Guardian, and the Globe and Mail. Her interview with the New York Times Chinese edition (紐約時報中文版) was ranked the Top 3 Most Popular Original Articles of 2016.


Tiananmen Exiles: Voices of the Struggle for Democracy in China

“Rowena He’s book is an essential corrective. Through her own writings and ongoing testimony about the events of 1989, she has refused to let the hope for democracy wither under the weight of platitudes and Party-imposed amnesia. The cost of this act of moral courage has been very high...The lonely few keep educating themselves about the vague ideals that they carried as youths into Tiananmen Square. They refuse to become deaf to history’s trauma, in the way that Primo Levi feared for the generation after the Holocaust.” -Human Rights Quarterly by Vera Schwarcz
 “A moving and very personal account of life as a political emigrant...A convincing and powerful account of a central experience in contemporary Chinese life” -New York Review of Books by Ian Johnson 
'Tiananmen Exiles is a brave book written eloquently, with controlled passion... [it is] a masterly narrative and analysis..[He's] often profound book is an unmistakable sign of her devotion to the cause' - The Spectator by Jonathan Mirsky
“Rowena He herself is an example of someone who has battled for years, sometimes in the face of angry criticism, to keep alive the memories of an idealism that emerged in full force in 1989. And she’s determined not to let us forget.” -Christian Science Monitor by Dan Southerland 
"A compelling account of idealism and the price it exacts" - Kirkus
“Bold attempt to reclaim Chinese history from the state” -The Independent by Edward Wilson
Tiananmen Exiles has organically tied the Cultural Revolution and Tiananmen movement together through the lives and agonies of three former student leaders, and through them, the lives and struggles of their generation. – Journal of East Asian Libraries by Zehao Zhou
"Rowena He...courageously battles state-imposed amnesia, forcing us to remember the human cost of China's 1989" - The Daily Telegraph by Julia Lovell 
He’s book is a valuable contribution to the literature on the Chinese democracy movement and provides fascinating insights into the world of Chinese political exiles. – The China Journal by Björn Alpermann
"Those who have chosen, or were forced by circumstances, not to live the official lie, including Rowena He, are condemned as traitors to China rather than as critics of the regime. For the three student leaders interviewed in her book, the events of 1989 and their subsequent exile created a permanent post-traumatic state. Much the same could be said of the nation they left behind, a nation that is waiting for the moment when the legacy of the tragedy suffered a quarter-century ago can be faced." - New Statesman by Isabel Hilton
 “As long as the Communist Party continues to refuse to tolerate any conversation about June Fourth, it will only ensure that voices like Ms. He’s echo even louder in the silence." - The Wall Street Journal Real Time by Maura Cunningham
"Though China's democracy movement was crushed in the Tiananmen Massacre 25 years ago, the ideas that animated it are eternal. Rowena Xiaoqing He, one of the most courageous academics in the U.S., has written a powerful book that tracks the poignant journeys of three exiled activists and honors the sacrifices so many Chinese had to make in 1989 and after."