Rowena Xiaoqing He and Foreword By Perry Link
Palgrave Macmillan, April 2014
ISBN: 978-1-137-43831-7, ISBN10: 1-137-43831-2,
6.000 x 9.250 inches, 240 pages,
In the spring of 1989, millions of citizens across China took to the streets in a nationwide uprising against government corruption and authoritarian rule. What began with widespread hope for political reform ended with the People’s Liberation Army firing on unarmed citizens in the capital city of Beijing, and those leaders who survived the crackdown became wanted criminals overnight. Among the witnesses to this unprecedented popular movement was Rowena Xiaoqing He, who would later join former student leaders and other exiles in North America, where she has worked tirelessly for over a decade to keep the memory of the Tiananmen Movement alive.
This moving oral history interweaves He’s own experiences with the accounts of three student leaders exiled from China. Here, in their own words, they describe their childhoods during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, their political activism, the bitter disappointments of 1989, and the profound contradictions and challenges they face as exiles. Variously labeled as heroes, victims, and traitors in the years after Tiananmen, these individuals tell difficult stories of thwarted ideals and disconnection that nonetheless embody the hope for a freer China and a more just world.
“A compelling account of idealism and the price it exacts.”
“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.”
- Adi Ignatius, Wall Street Journal Beijing Bureau Chief in 1989 and co-editor of Prison of the State: The Secret Journal of Premier Zhao Ziyang
“This new book revives as well as preserves the memory of the 1989 Tiananmen Movement in a quintessential way. Combining autobiographical and biographical approaches with psycho-cultural analysis, Rowena Xiaoqing He has ingeniously reconstructed the entire movement in historical perspective not only to unlock the past and explain the present but also to peer into the future of China’s sustained struggle against totalitarian tyranny. This is also a deeply touching narrative that the reader will find difficult to lay down until reaching the last sentence.”
- Ying-shih Yu, Emeritus Professor of East Asian Studies and History, Princeton University, and winner of the John W. Kluge Prize for the Study of Humanity
“Tiananmen Exiles rekindles our painful memories of those who paid dearly for their ideals. In this oral history project, Rowena Xiaoqing He captures the indomitable spirit of three student leaders forced into exile after the Tiananmen crackdown a quarter century ago. Their stories are powerful, moving, and inspirational.”
- Minxin Pei, Director, Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies at Claremont McKenna College and author of China’s Trapped Transition: The Limits of Developmental Autocracy
About the Author(s)
Rowena Xiaoqing He
Born and raised in China as a member of the “Tiananmen generation,” Rowena Xiaoqing He moved to Canada in 1998, where she received her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. Today she teaches at Harvard University, where her seminars on the Tiananmen uprising have earned her a Certificate of Teaching Excellence for three consecutive years. Her writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post and she has been interviewed by The Boston Globe, NBC, the CBC, the BBC, and various other international media.
Table of Contents
Section One: Introduction
Prologue: Surviving 1989
Chapter One: June 4: History and Memory in Exile
Chapter Two: Seeds of Fire
Section Two: Triumph and Trauma
Chapter Three: On the Road: Yi Danxuan
Chapter Four: No Direction Home: Shen Tong
Chapter Five: Living Somewhere Else: Wang Dan
Chapter Six: Romance and Revolution: Group Discussions
Section Three: Conclusion
Chapter Seven: Citizenship in Exile
Epilogue: Beginning of a
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