Media contact: Cynthia Medina, [email protected], 848-932-1940


Zimmerli Marks Tiananmen Square 30th Anniversary with Photo Exhibit

Rutgers–New Brunswick art museum shares college student’s photos of historic tragedy


New Brunswick, N.J. (Jan. 29, 2019) – Three decades ago, an exchange student from the U.S. brought his camera to a pro-democracy demonstration in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square – and found himself documenting one of the most infamous events of the late 20th century.

Now, marking the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests in which a military crackdown is estimated to have killed hundreds or thousands of civilians inside and outside the square, Rutgers University-New Brunswick’s Zimmerli Art Museum is displaying the photos Khiang Hei took from April through June 1989.

The exhibit, “Tiananmen Square, 1989: Photographs by Khiang H. Hei,” will run through July 28.

“I was both an insider and an outsider. Being of Chinese ancestry, my appearance allowed me to blend in, but I didn’t really understand the dynamics of the protest or the nuances of local dialect,” Hei said in a recent interview. “I knew something big was happening that would make history.”

Zimmerli Museum director Thomas Sokolowski said he hopes that the story will inspire visitors to work towards making sure that this type of tragedy never happens again.

Hei will visit the Rutgers–New Brunswick campus in April for a talk about his photos and the Tiananmen Square tragedy.  “I am proud that the Zimmerli is displaying these photos, and couldn’t think of a more fitting place to share my story,” he said.

Download photos from the exhibit here: Tiananmen Square, 1989: Photographs by Khiang H. Hei  

Read the full story on Rutgers Today.

For more information or to schedule an interview with Khiang Hei, contact Cynthia Medina.




Broadcast interviews: Rutgers University–New Brunswick has broadcast-quality TV and radio studios available for remote live or taped interviews with Rutgers experts. For more information, contact Cynthia Medina [email protected]



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