He was previously a researcher at CPC Central Party Literature Research Center, where he wrote the official biographies of Zhou Enlai and Mao Zedong after the Cultural Revolution. Gao witnessed killings by PLA soldiers on 4 June 1989 during the student protest at Tiananmen Square and was deeply moved by this experience. He emigrated to the United States in 1993, where he wrote Zhou Enlai: The Last Perfect Revolutionary in 2007.
As a supporter of democracy in China, Gao believes that the Tiananmen Square protests exposed the Chinese Communist government's "illegitimacy" in governing China, and that the current economic system is responsible for China's social ills.
- Zhou Enlai: A Tragic Hero? Gao Wenqian talks about his new book at the Center for Chinese Studies
- Saint and Sinner By Peter Ritter
- Venkatesan Vembu, "Rubble rousing," Daily News & Analysis, November 9, 2009.
- "The Two Killing Scenes I Witnessed during June Fourth". Human Rights in China. Retrieved 24 May 2019.