Berkeley CSUA MOTD:Entry 34846
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2021/10/17 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular
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2004/11/11 [Reference/History/WW2/Japan] UID:34846 Activity:nil
11/11   Iris Chang commits suicide.
        http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/11/11/MNGB59PKL01.DTL
2021/10/17 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular
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www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/11/11/MNGB59PKL01.DTL
Email This Article Iris Chang, the prominent Chinese American author and journalist who fuel ed an international protest movement against Japan with her incendiary b est-selling book, "The Rape of Nanking," was found dead from an apparent self- inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said Wednesday. Chang, 36, of San Jose was found in her car by a commuter about 9 am Tu esday on a rural road south of Los Gatos, according to the Santa Clara C ounty sheriff's office. "I'm just shocked," said retired San Francisco Superior Court Judge Lilli an Sing, who was helping Chang with a documentary on aging US military veterans who had suffered as POWs in Japanese captivity during World Wa r II. "She was a real woman warrior trying to fight injustice." Stunned friends and colleagues sought to understand what might have led t o the suicide of an energetic and passionate young woman who channeled h er outrage over Japanese war atrocities into a busy career of writing an d lecturing. Chang also wrote a history of China's missile program and c hronicled the Chinese experience in America. Ignatius Ding, an activist who worked with Chang for several years in see king to have Japan acknowledge and apology for atrocities it committed d uring World War II, said Chang's current project videotaping the former US prisoners of war had been emotionally taxing for her. "She was doing research recently in Kentucky and ran into some problem," he said. Chang lived in San J ose with her husband, Brett Douglas. Ding, who heads the Cupertino-based Global Alliance for Preserving the Hi story of World War II in Asia, said he did not know what kind of problem Chang might have encountered or whether it was a factor in her death. He noted that she "took things to heart" and usually became emotionally i nvolved in the tragic stories she wrote about. Chang's white 1999 Oldsmobile sedan was found on an isolated private road west of Highway 17 near the Cats Restaurant. She apparently had died fr om a single shot from a handgun. "There was evidence that was recovered that corroborated and was consiste nt with a suicide,'' said sheriff's spokesman Terrance Helm, who wouldn' t disclose the nature of the evidence or if there was a suicide note. Her husband had filed a missing person's report with police at 5:30 am Tuesday, saying he rose early to find his wife missing and that she had been despondent, said San Jose police Sgt. Her husband told police he had last seen Chang at 2 am "She was passionate and articulate," said Ling-Chi Wang, a faculty member in Asian American studies at UC Berkeley. "It's shocking to lose such a young and talented person." "It's a tragic loss," said Chronicle book editor Oscar Villalon. "She was one of the most visible Chinese American authors, who wrote a landmark book that brought to the attention, at least among her American audience , what was nonexistent as an issue." Author of three books and many articles and columns, Chang's most famous work was her controversial 1997 book, "The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotte n Holocaust of World War II," which described one of the war's worst atr ocities. Japanese army troops massacred many Chinese in Nanjing (then called Nanki ng) in late 1937 and early 1938, and Chang not only believed that the ho rrible event was in danger of being forgotten but also accused Japanese society of collective denial about it. Translated into many languages, her book galvanized a redress movement in the United States. It was lauded in the US media, drew criticism from several US scholars on Japan and was vilified by right-wing publicati ons in Japan. The book also propelled Chang into an international spotlight. The year a fter it appeared, the Organization of Chinese American Women named her N ational Woman of the Year. She received honorary degrees and lectured widely at universities, bookst ores and conferences. She delivered the commencement address at Cal Stat e Hayward in June. "She has been a real role model for young Chinese Americans," Ding said, adding that Chang inspired many to consider being authors and journalist s "She was also well-respected in China," he said. Wang said she was an important interpreter of the Chinese American experi ence to the general public, adding that in her book on Nanjing, "she has done more than anybody to call attention to the outrage that took place ." Helen Zia, Bay Area author of "Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People," said Chang "wanted to bring voices to the fore, the s tories shunted aside and ignored in history. Andrew Horvat, Tokyo representative of the San Francisco-based Asia Found ation, said that "there will always be controversy over the accuracy and balance of her writings" but that she "did raise a level of consciousne ss that wasn't there before. In that sense, I think her contribution was very positive." Chang's most recent book, "The Chinese in America," was named one of the best books of the year by The Chronicle. Her first book, "Thread of the Silkworm," told the story of the Chinese scientist who guided the develo pment of China's Silkworm missile. Her grandparent s' escape from Nanjing fed her early interest in what happened there. She received a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Ill inois and worked briefly as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune and Assoc iated Press before entering a master's program at Johns Hopkins Universi ty in 1990. She appeared on the cover of Reader's Digest as well as on many TV progra ms, including "Nightline" and "NewsHour With Jim Lehrer," and she wrote for numerous publications, including the New York Times and Newsweek.