Sasha Gong is a Harvard trained scholar, sociologist, author and former political activist, who now heads VOA’s China Branch.
A long-time supporter of free media, Gong secretly listened to Voice of America broadcasts as a young woman growing up in China. “When I was a teenager, I always used shortwave radio to listen to VOA secretly in China. You can’t imagine; at that time, listening to ‘enemy radio’ was an offense punishable by imprisonment, but I did it anyway,” Gong says.
During China’s Cultural Revolution, she took part in underground protests against the communist regime. Her activities led to 11 months of solitary confinement. Following release from prison, she went to university in China and later pursued a PhD in Sociology at Harvard University.
“No matter what I did, I felt like an outsider in the society into which I was born. I struggled to assimilate…and made a lot of painful efforts to fit in, but nothing seemed to work,” wrote Gong in her book Born American: A Chinese Woman’s Dream of Liberty
Before joining VOA, she helped found Radio Free Asia’s Cantonese Service and ran for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates in 2009. She has authored several books, including: Born American: A Chinese Woman’s Dream of Liberty
and The Cultural Revolution Cookbook
, both of which include her memories of China.
Gong is a frequent commentator on Chinese affairs. She recently appeared on the PBS Newshour
to discuss the case of a human rights campaigner who escaped from house arrest.