Rowena Xiaoqing He (NHC Fellow, 2022–23)

Project Title

One Generation, Two Loyalties?: Evening Chats in Hong Kong

Luce East Asia Fellowship, 2022–23

Associate Professor of History, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Rowena Xiaoqing He is a sinologist and historian of modern and contemporary Chinese society and politics. As a scholar of Tiananmen, the 1989 pro-democracy movement, she is interested in the nexus of history, memory, and power, and their implications for youth values, identity, and social change. Her first book, Tiananmen Exiles: Voices of the Struggle for Democracy in China was named one of the top five books about China in 2014 by the Asia Society’s ChinaFile. The book has been reviewed in the New York Review of Books, Christian Science Monitor, Human Rights Quarterly, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, Spectator, Journal of East Asian Libraries, China Journal, and other international periodicals. In 2018, she was selected as a member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. Before joining The Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2019, she 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 Tiananmen courses that she created. At The Chinese University of Hong Kong, she received the Faculty of Arts Outstanding Teaching Award 2019–20 and 2020–21.

He publishes and speaks widely beyond the academy. Her op-eds have appeared in the Washington Post, The Nation, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, Wall Street Journal, Taiwan Insight, and the Italian Institute for International Political Studies. She has been a keynote speaker for the Canada Human Rights National Symposium, testified at a US Congressional hearing, and delivered lectures for the US State Department, and the Canada International Council. Her scholarly opinions are regularly sought by international media including ABC (Australia), ABC (US), 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, Radio Free Asia, Radio Canada International, Reuters, Time, Times Higher Education, and other media outlets. 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.

Selected Publications

Tiananmen Exiles

  • He, Rowena Xiaoqing. “Striking a Rock with Eggs: Resistance and Repression after Tiananmen.” In Crisis under Critique: How People Assess, Transform, and Respond to Critical Situations, edited by Didier Fassin, and Axel Honneth, 32–54. New York: Columbia University Press, 2022.
  • He, Rowena Xiaoqing. “To Lead or Not To Lead: Campus Standoff In Hong Kong’s Water Movement.” Journal of International Affairs 73, no. 2 (2020): 119–34.
  • He, Rowena Xiaoqing. “China Continues to Deny Tiananmen, but We Won’t Let the World Forget.” The Guardian, June 3, 2019.
  • He, Rowena Xiaoqing. “Identifying with a Rising China: Overseas Chinese Student Nationalism.” In Constructing Modern Asian Citizenship, edited by Edward Vickers, and Krishna Kumar, 314-40. New York: Routledge, 2015.
  • He, Rowena Xiaoqing. Tiananmen Exiles: Voices of the Struggle for Democracy in China. Palgrave Studies in Oral History. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.
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