I’m a writer, historian, democracy activist, and visiting scholar (2017–18) at the University of Toronto. Jointly affiliated with the Munk School of Global Affairs’s Asian Institute and the Richard Charles Lee Canada-Hong Kong Library — the most extensive overseas collection of research materials on Hong Kong — I’m studying how great power politics has shaped the former British colony’s sovereignty throughout the 20th century. My writings have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Hong Kong Free Press, and the World Policy Journal.
Overall, my work revolves around Hong Kong to illuminate historical forces that transcend national boundaries. I’ll begin a Ph.D. in History at Georgetown University in August 2018. “Exodus,” my proposed topic of dissertation research, examines the British response to the impact of the three Indochina Wars — especially the Vietnamese boat people refugee crisis from 1975 to 2000 — on Hong Kong. I have broad interests in modern China and its frontiers, Vietnam since World War II, 20th century U.S. foreign policy, the British Empire in Asia, as well as two vibrant, intertwined subfields that have recently risen to prominence: human rights in history and the global 1970s.
I graduated with an M.A. and a B.A. from New York University. My master’s thesis, “Pearl of the Orient Reconstructed” (on which my current project is built), zeroes in on the period between the Korean War and the Tiananmen Massacre to trace how Hong Kongers, a non-self-governing people, were stripped of their right of self-determination. My senior honors thesis, “Music Below the Lion Rock,” examines how the evolution of transnational Cantopop over four decades reflected social and political transformation in postwar Hong Kong. Previously I’ve interned as a junior curator at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and sat on the editorial board of the Historian, America’s oldest undergraduate history journal. I’ve given talks at Brown, Columbia, Rutgers, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.
Beyond the academic realm, I’m serving as chief researcher for Demosisto, a youth political party in Hong Kong that advocates self-determination, both internal and external. I’ve worked for two successful Legislative Council election campaigns: Nathan Law’s in 2016 and Au Nok Hin’s in 2018. Additionally, I’m one of the lead architects of “Decoding Hong Kong’s History,” a long-term public history project that, having been featured by the Financial Times and the Hong Kong Free Press, has so far crowdfunded over HK$202,000 since launching in February 2017 to collect, digitize, and analyze declassified files from archives around the globe.
Beginning with the historic July 1 march in 2003, I’ve actively participated in protests for greater autonomy in Hong Kong against Beijing’s encroachments. This hasn’t changed since I moved across the Pacific a decade later. As a college student in the fall of 2014, I co-organized multiple solidarity rallies in New York and Washington to support the then-ongoing Umbrella Movement back home. I’ve also made occasional appearances in the news media and academic journals, including BBC, CNN, Forbes, Al Jazeera America, Radio Free Asia, the Harvard Political Review, and the McGill International Review.