I’m a writer, historian, and pro-democracy activist based in Washington, D.C., where I’m currently pursuing my Ph.D. in History at Georgetown University. My dissertation project, tentatively entitled “Exodus,” is an international history of how the three Indochina Wars — especially the Vietnamese boat people refugee crisis from 1975 to 2000 — influenced British Hong Kong, as well as how the U.N. and Western powers responded to it. My writing has appeared in Time magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Hong Kong Free Press, and Dissent.
Overall, I have broad interests in Chinese territorial and maritime frontiers, modern Vietnam, 20th-century U.S. foreign policy, and the British Empire in Asia. I graduated with an M.A. (Humanities and Social Thought) in September 2017 and a B.A. (History & Journalism) in May 2016 from New York University. My master’s thesis, “Pearl of the Orient Reconstructed,” focuses on the period between the Korean War and the Tiananmen Massacre to trace how Hong Kongers, as 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.
In 2017–18, I spent a productive year as a visiting scholar at the University of Toronto, jointly affiliated with the Richard Charles Lee Canada-Hong Kong Library — the most extensive overseas collection of research materials on Hong Kong — and the Munk School of Global Affairs’s Asian Institute. Prior to that, 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, among other places, Brown, Columbia, Rutgers, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.
Beyond academia, I’m serving as chief researcher for Demosisto, a youth political group in Hong Kong that advocates self-determination. 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, since launching in February 2017, crowdfunded over HK$202,000 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, which continued after 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 Umbrella Movement back home. I’ve also made occasional appearances in the news media and academic publications, including B.B.C., C.N.N., Forbes, Al Jazeera America, Radio Free Asia, the Harvard Political Review, and the McGill International Review.