Xiaofan was born and raised in Wuhan, China. He majored in History and Economics as an undergraduate student at William & Mary. He is interested in communism in the 20th century as well as how historical narratives and collective memories of past events are constructed and contested in contemporary China. He has worked at AidData, a think tank at William & Mary, where he examined the infrastructure projects under China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Outside of academics, he likes to think about security issues in East Asia like an armchair admiral. He is a travel enthusiast, a food lover, and a mediocre table tennis player. He likes Wuhan-style Shaomai, and he believes that Cantonese Shumai is for the weak.