In 1989, Dr. He was in China and had first-hand experience with the movement herself. In an interview with the Harvard newspaper, she recalled that "we learned to lie to survive" during the ensuring crackdown.
The class at Harvard is a part of the school's freshman seminar series. Students, who were not even born at the time when the event took place, had face-to-face discussions with some of the leaders of the movement. They studied archives collected in the Harvard-Yenching Library and re-enacted some of the scenes. As an conclusion, they are organizing a conference to present their papers on the subject.
14 students attended this year's class, which is a sold-out crowd, according to Dr. He. She also said that the class will continue to be offered this fall as well.
As a significant historical event, the 1989 Chinese student movement is undoubtedly a part of many history lessons. But a class exclusively dedicated to this single event is a first at Harvard and possibly everywhere else.
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