Diane Wei Liang was born in Beijing. She spent part of her childhood with her parents in a labor camp in a remote region of China, and the other part in Beijing with her mother when her parents were forced to live and work in different cities. She studied psychology at Peking University. In 1989 she took part in the Student Democracy Movement and was in Tiananmen Square. Later that year, she left China for the U.S. Liang has a PhD in Business Administration from Carnegie Mellon University and was a business professor in the U.S. and U.K. for over ten years. She lives in London with her family.