In loving commemoration of Iris Chang -

A Powerful Voice for Victims of the Forgotten Asian Holocaust

1968 - 2004


Best-selling author of The Rape of Nanking left us on the morning of November 9, 2004.

Ms. Chang was born in Princeton, New Jersey and grew up in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. She earned a degree in journalism from the University of Illinois and a Masters in Science Writing at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. She worked at the Associated Press and the Chicago Tribune before devoting herself exclusively to her own writing.

Chang was only twenty-three years old when she published her first book.  Relying upon her fluency in Mandarin, she researched in both the US and China the life of Tsien Hsue-shen, the brilliant Chinese-born physicist who helped pioneer the American space age, only to be driven from the space program and the United States by McCarthy-era paranoia. The book was published to wide critical acclaim in November 1995, including a front-page Washington Post Book World review.

Chang became part of a generation of young Americans of Chinese descent organizing in America to protest Chinese government action at Tiananmen Square.  This group discovered they shared something else--their parents had all spoken of an event in Chinese history that was more horrific than anything these young people could imagine.  The parents referred to it as  "The Rape of Nanking."  Yet none of them could find books in the library for the general interest reader to tell them anything more about the event. Chang decided to research that story and write that book herself.

"This is a book I really had to write," she said in an interview.   "I wrote it out of a sense of rage. I didn't really care if I made a cent from it. It was important to me that the world knew what happened in Nanking back in 1937."

While doing her research, she learned that a German member of the Nazi Party, living in Nanking at the time of the Rape had kept a previously unpublished diary.  She tracked down his heirs, and the diary became a key part of the historical record of that event, confirming the horrific stories told by the Chinese.

The Rape of Nanking became an international best seller, remaining on The New York Times best-seller list for many months.  The columnist George Will wrote of her book: "Something beautiful, an act of justice, is occurring in America today concerning something ugly that happened long ago and far away.  Because of Chang's book, the second Rape of Nanking is ending."

After reading her book, the late historian Stephen Ambrose described Chang as "Maybe the best young historian we've got, because she understands that to communicate history, you've got to tell the story in an interesting way."

For thousands of young Americans students of Chinese descent, Chang became a role model, lecturing to college, university, and general-interest audiences in 65 cities.  Her book continues to be required reading in many courses on human rights and World War II history.

Her third book, The Chinese in America, described the determination of Chinese immigrants to take their place in America.  Because of her deep interest in human rights, she paid special attention to the many groundbreaking legal cases successfully brought by Chinese Americans against racist and exclusionary laws. Many of these victories remain on the books to this day.

Jonathan Spence, the Sterling Professor History at Yale University wrote of The Chinese in America: "I know of no better introduction to this multilayered and emotionally-charged story."

Chang had begun research on a fourth book that was to focus on the experiences of the men who fought in the US tank battalions in the Bataan Peninsula and their subsequent imprisonment by the Japanese for the duration of World War II.   During a research trip, she suffered a breakdown and had to be hospitalized.

Chang was an activist in favor of holding governments and politicians tightly responsible for their actions.  She advocated a color-blind society, and she gave generously of her time to the causes she believed in.   She was also unstinting in helping other young writers get started on their writing careers.

In August 1991, Chang married Brett Douglas.  The couple have lived in California since their marriage.  On August 31, 2002, Christopher Douglas, their son, was born.

She is survived by her husband Brett Douglas, her son, Christopher Douglas, her parents, Shau-Jin and Ying-Ying Chang, and her brother Michael Chang.

After her release from the hospital, Chang continued to battle depression.  In a note to her family she asked to be remembered as the woman she was before her illness, engaged with life, committed to her causes, her writing, and her family.

 

                         

 

 

 

 




沉痛悼念張純如女士

加拿大國殤日前夕, 噩耗傳來, 海外一代哲人, 遽然撤手塵環, 聞者, 哀痛不已。純如女士一生追求正義, 熱愛和平, 為求歷史真相, 上下求索。奮筆直書, 揭軍國狂徒之橫暴, 悲故國黎民之屈辱, 仗義執言, 論斷是非, 唯人道公正是賴。書成風行天下, 讀者無不動容, 紛斥卑污者之惡行, 頌高尚者之偉績。惜路曼脩遠, 憂勞成疾, 其志未竟而魂歸天國, 嗚呼哀哉。純如女士年歲雖少, 可為師長, 立功、立言、立德, 俱為楷模。吾等將繼承汝志, 誓為蒙難受害者討還公道, 以史為鑑, 免蒼生百姓再遭劫難。祈上天護佑, 純如女士主懷安息。

 

加拿大抗日戰爭史實維護會敬輓
 



 

House of Representatives

 

A Tribute to Iris S. Chang

November 17, 2004

HONORABLE MICHAEL M. HONDA

OF CALIFORNIA


Mr. Speaker, today I rise in memory of Iris Chang, a courageous historian, author and champion of Asian and Asian American history, human rights and historical redress. During her brief yet remarkable professional career, Iris touched the lives of countless people, shedding light on past injustices and atrocities that had been forgotten or ignored.  In her personal life, she was a loving wife and mother, a close friend and an inspiration to many.  Iris is survived by her husband, Dr. Brett Douglas, her son, Christopher Douglas, her parents, Shau-Jin and Ying-Ying Chang, and her brother, Michael Chang.

 

Iris Shun-Ru Chang was born on March 28, 1968 in Princeton, New Jersey.  She studied journalism at the University of Illinois, and received her Master’s in Science Writing from Johns Hopkins University.  While at Johns Hopkins, Iris was commissioned to research the life of Tsien Hsue-Shen, a Chinese American scientist who was deported to China during the Communist scare of the 1960s and subsequently founded China’s ballistics program.  Her research led to her critically acclaimed debut, The Thread of the Silkworm, which addressed the paranoia and racism of the McCarthy era.

 

As a historian and an activist, Iris fought passionately for historical justice and reconciliation.  Her book, The Rape of Nanking, chronicled the horrific capture of Nanking during Japan’s invasion of China in 1937, and was instrumental in educating the international community about Japanese military atrocities during World War II—human rights violations that had gone unwritten and unacknowledged for decades.  Her efforts to seek redress for the crimes at Nanking brought her in conflict with the Japanese government and communities worldwide, but Iris was unwavering in her commitment to justice and truth.

 

In addition to her books, which decried social and historical injustices against the Asian and Asian American communities in the United States and internationally, Iris was also a member of the Committee of 100, a national nonpartisan organization of Chinese-American leaders who work to address issues important to the Chinese-American community.  For her work, she earned the Peace and International Cooperation Award from John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and was named “Woman of the Year” by the Organization of Chinese-American Women.

 

Iris will be remembered for her work and service to the community.  Certainly, the millions of people whom she touched through her writings and her activism will not forget the moral vision she brought on past injustices to the international community and the public impact of her work in promoting peace between peoples of differing races and backgrounds.  Her fierce pride of her Chinese-American heritage empowered others with the certainty that they were truly Americans despite their ancestry.  Our community has lost a role model and close friend; the world has lost one of its finest and most passionate advocates of social and historical justice.
 


_______________
 
Michael M. Honda
 


GLOBE AND MAIL

Friday, November 12, 2004 - Page S9

IRIS CHANG, HISTORIAN: 1968-2004
Inspired by the stories of her grandparents and parents, who survived the 1937 Nanking massacre, she forced Japan to face a shameful Past and yet was denied ultimate satisfaction
Associated Press; with files from Globe and Mail archives; staff

SAN JOSE, CALIF. -- Inflamed by accounts she heard as a child, Iris Chang set out to prevent what she called "the second rape of Nanking" -- the consignment of brutal Japanese atrocities to the landfill of history.

Trained as a reporter, she turned away from everyday news to write such history-based accounts as Thread of the Silkworm and The Chinese in America. In 1997, she published the bestseller The Rape of Nanking and went toe-to-toe with what seemed to be all of Japan.

The product of fastidious research and elegant writing, it described the systematic rape, torture and killing of 300,000 civilians by Japanese soldiers 60 years before in the former Chinese capital.

Widely acclaimed everywhere else in the world, the book was greeted with scorn in Japan. Amid threats from nationalist extremists who still deny that the massacre happened, as well as academics who argued that the incident had been exaggerated, a Tokyo publisher scrapped plans to release a Japanese edition. Through it all, the government maintained a blank refusal to apologize.

At the time, Ms. Chang said it showed that many Japanese remained in denial about atrocities committed by Imperial troops. For her to not write the book would have meant, she said, surrender to a "a conspiracy of silence" that amounted to "the second rape."

"I want the Japanese people to know the truth of the rape of Nanking," she told The New York Times. "Like it or not, this is a part of their history."

Ms. Chang took inspiration from stories told to her in childhood by her parents, grandparents and other family members who had survived the massacre. She spent three years in research, scrutinized government and private documents in four languages, and toured Japan, Nanking, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

With chilling parallels to alleged modern-day atrocities in Kosovo, Ms. Chang described mass executions of prisoners of war, the rape and killing of women and the burning of homes.

By 1997, Japanese intransigence approached the absurd. Reviewing the book in The Globe and Mail, Jan Wong said the massacre had made front-page headlines in Japanese newspapers in 1937.

In a feat of detective work, Ms. Chang interviewed survivors, saviours and perpetrators. In her search, she discovered the diaries of a German named John Rabe who, as head of an international safe zone, saved hundreds of thousands of Chinese lives. She called him the "Oskar Schindler of China."

A serious-minded businessman who sold telephones for Siemens, he supported Adolf Hitler and became leader of the Nazi Party in Nanking. When the Japanese advanced on the city, many German nationals fled. Mr. Rabe stayed on as the elected head of a "safety zone." He roamed the city trying to prevent atrocities and providing shelter for hundreds of Chinese women. On one occasion, he stopped a rape in progress by bodily lifting a soldier sprawled on top of a young girl.

Ms. Chang told the stories of other foreigners, too. They included an American dean of studies at a women's college who used her campus to shelter 3,000 female refugees and wounded soldiers. Another was Robert Wilson, a surgeon who had once learned geometry from Pearl Buck. For days, he worked non-stop in a hospital emergency room, treating raped women who had had their bellies ripped open, and men charred and disfigured after soldiers had tried to burn them alive.

As for the scale of actual rape, Ms. Chang estimated the number to be 20,000 to 80,0000 victims. She quoted Susan Brownmiller, author of Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape, who wrote that Nanking was probably the "single worst instance of wartime rape" -- worse even than more recent atrocities in the former Yugoslavia. The sole exception, Ms. Chang said, was the treatment of women in Bangladesh by Pakistani soldiers in 1971, when an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 women were raped.

Producing The Rape of Nanking was a deeply affecting experience for Ms. Chang. After reliving the horrors of 1937 she seemed unable to impassively pass to the side of other such injustices, wherever they may have occurred. After Sept. 11, 2001, she began to speak out against U.S. government mistreatment of Muslims and immigrants. She said incidents of racial profiling had served as reminder of the treatment of the Chinese in America.

"I'm seeing the same kinds of abuses now in the mistreatment of Arab Americans," she said. "The laws that rob any group of their civil liberties will affect us all. As long as any group is being persecuted on the basis of their race or culture, none of us are safe."

Last year, she damned the University of California for banning students from China and Hong Kong because the school feared they might carry the SARS virus. Last year, she told the San Francisco Chronicle that she feared absolute authorities of any description.

"The more concentrated the power in the hands of a few, such as in a totalitarian regime or in a dictatorship, the more likely that this powerful elite will commit atrocities both at home and abroad," Ms. Chang said. "It seems as if almost all people have this potential for evil, which would be unleashed only under certain dangerous social circumstances."

Democracy, she told the Chronicle, could not be taken for granted. "It is still very much a young and fragile experiment. We have to be cognizant of the cyclical nature of abuses of civil rights."

Born in Princeton, N.J., Ms. Chang was raised in Champaign-Urbana, Ill., where her parents taught at the University of Illinois. Ms. Chang later attended the same school to study journalism and fell in love with Bretton Lee Douglas, an engineer whom she later married. After that, the couple moved to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore where she earned a master's degree in science writing. In recent years, they lived in Silicon Valley, San Jose, where Mr. Douglas had a job at Cisco Systems.

For her part, Ms. Chang worked briefly for the Chicago Tribune and Associated Press before leaving to pursue her own writing. At 25, she published her first book, Thread of the Silkworm, the story of Tsien Hsue-shen, a Chinese-born physicist who built China's missile program after being driven from the United States during the Cold War.

Last year, she published The Chinese in America, a history of Chinese immigrants and their descendants in the United States.

While the book was another success, Ms. Chang inexplicably suffered a breakdown. During a recent trip to research a book about U.S. soldiers who fought the Japanese in the Philippines during the Second World War, she had to be hospitalized, her editor and agent Susan Rabiner told Associated Press.

In a note to her family, she asked to be remembered as the person she was before she became ill -- "engaged with life, committed to her causes, her writing and her family,'' Ms. Rabiner said.

Ignatius Ding, a close friend who founded Global Alliance for Preserving History of World War II in Asia, told the San Jose Mercury News that Ms. Chang had seemed defeated. "She was really in a slump and very depressed."

A retired engineer who financed Ms. Chang's early research, Mr. Ding said he remembered her study, the room where she wrote, as "being like a shrine," its walls plastered with research, maps and documents. "She would sit in there and just look at all those photographs. She was like a zombie.''

Iris Shun-Ru Chang was born on March 28, 1968, in Princeton, N.J. She died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Nov. 9, 2004. She was found dead in her car on a side road near her home in San Jose, Calif. She is survived by her husband and two-year-old son.


Sing Tao Daily 20 November, 2004

五百親友送上最後一程
張純如南灣入土為安

(本報記者陳安琪洛斯阿多斯報道 )張純如的遺體在家人和朋友等數百人的陪伴下,昨
日中午時分在洛斯阿多斯的天國之門墓園下葬。 早上十時,天國之門墓園的教堂聚集
了超過五百人,教堂內外都擠滿參加葬禮的人士。紀念儀式由張純如的生前好友、世界
抗日戰爭史實維護會發言人丁元主持,首先致詞的是她的丈夫Brett Douglas。

致詞開首,Douglas就強調,雖然張純如在死前幾個月患上了精神病,但這只是她人生
裡面的一小部分,他印象中的張純如仍然是那個熱衷寫作、做事投入、愛家、愛人類的
一個女性。

Douglas記得,十三年前的一個星期六,他叫張純如一起到海灘走走,因為當時他們住
在聖他芭芭拉,陽光與海灘都是每個人的最愛。不過,他的妻子卻說不,因為「海水的
鹽會弄痛我的傷口」,足見她對自己的寫作和所聽所聞的敏感和投入。

接著致詞的張純如爸爸張紹進說,他的女兒是一個情感豐富又非常敏感的人。他還記得
女兒第一次真正看書是在四歲的時候,「那個時候她還不懂得書裡面所有的字,最後由
媽媽幫她填補解釋不懂的生字」,之後她更就這本故事書畫了一些作品帶回學校,深得
同學們的歡迎。

在葬禮上不時掉眼淚的弟弟張純愷說,姐姐張純如的人生觀和處事方法對他有重大的影
響。回想姐姐說的話,「只要有決心,所有事都是有可能的」,令他更勇於在人生中嘗
試不同的事務。

自張純如逝世的消息傳出後,世界各地的媒體都紛紛報道,而來自不同背景的讀者也去
信或以電郵方式表達他們對張純如的敬佩。

看到社區對姐姐的尊敬,張純愷表示十分欣慰,但他也很坦誠地說,其實張純如有沒有
寫書對他來說並不重要,他最關心的只是姐姐本身。

她的媽媽張盈盈、她的幾位生前好友、經理人羅波娜等也分享了他們與張純如的逸事。
雖然每段親情和友誼之間都有不一樣的故事,但這些故事中都突現了張純如的毅力和決
心。對於她的朋友或家人來說,認識張純如為他們帶來人生中的轉變,每個人都變得更
積極、更投入。

約一小時後,這個在華府和南京同步舉行的紀念儀式結束,來賓也跟著家人移步至墓
地,目送張純如的遺體入土,並逐一上前為她送上鮮花。

正如張純如的經理人羅波娜所說,今次她的離開還是有一個值得欣喜的原因︰張純如終
於得到平靜,在天國與天使們開心地生活。

丁元表示,他們特別安排攝影師把整個葬禮過程拍下來,希望張純如的兩歲兒子
Christopher長大以後能夠看到這個錄影帶,更認識他的媽媽。



San Francisco Chronicle

Iris Chang's suicide stunned those she tried so hard to help -- the survivors of Japan's 'Rape of Nanking'
- Kathleen E. McLaughlin, Chronicle Foreign Service
Saturday, November 20, 2004
 

Click to ViewClick to ViewClick to View

Nanjing, China -- When Iris Chang arrived here in the sweltering summer of 1995, locals were at once surprised and bemused that the sweet, ponytailed, young American planned to take on the darkest period in the city's modern history --

the 1937 wartime massacre when Japanese invaders killed some 300,000 people and raped, burned and pillaged the Chinese capital, then called Nanking, into ruins.

When she left a month later, historians, friends and colleagues were so impressed with her single-minded focus, they harbored little doubt the 27-year- old Bay Area writer would focus a global spotlight on what Chinese call the "Great Nanjing Massacre." They were right. When Chang's book, "The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II," was published in 1997, it became an instant best-seller, generated international attention and reignited debate over Japan's responsibility for war crimes.

Chang, who lived in San Jose, shot herself to death Nov. 9 in her car, parked along a rural road south of Los Gatos. The news hit Nanjing fast and hard. This bustling city of 6 million glimmers with modern construction and growing wealth, but scars from the Japanese occupation linger barely beneath the surface. Many wonder if the gentle, sympathetic young woman, known here as Chang Shunru, was the massacre's latest victim.

"It all had such a huge impact on her mind," recalls Duan Yueping, then assistant curator of the Memorial Hall of the Nanking Massacre Victims, who worked every day with Chang, guiding her to massacre sites and through stacks of documents and photos.

Duan, a tough middle-aged woman who studied the Nanjing atrocities for years and considers herself a seasoned pro, still has nightmares from the stories she's heard and photos she's seen. Chang, she says, worked incessantly in Nanjing interviewing survivors, immersed in graphic pictures and documents, all the while agonizing over why the story was not widely known outside China. By the time she left Nanjing, Duan says, Chang was physically weak but even more committed to telling the story.

"The subject matter had to affect her. Perhaps she could not bear it," Duan says, her eyes filling with tears as she pulls out a picture of herself and Chang at a dinner in Nanjing.

"We just can't understand why such a great young writer and lovely person would leave the world so early," Duan says, shaking her head.

In her Nanjing book, Chang wrote: "My greatest hope is that this book will inspire other authors and historians to investigate the stories of the Nanking survivors before the last of the voices from the past, dwindling in number every year, are extinguished forever."

Two of the city's last living victims do know that Chang's work changed their lives.

Ni Cuiping was 11 years old when Japanese soldiers slaughtered her parents and six other family members, stabbed her repeatedly with a bayonet and left her for dead. There was no money or means for medical treatment during the siege, so she healed slowly and badly. Nearly 70 years later, her left shoulder is mangled from the stab wounds that left her whole arm underdeveloped and useless.

"My body is a witness to the Japanese atrocities," says Ni.

Chang's book -- the first widely published English-language history of the massacre -- brought global attention to the plight of survivors like Ni. Though there were extensive trials after the occupation ended, Japan paid no reparations and international politics kept the massacre under wraps for decades while survivors, many unable to work because of their disabilities and social stigma, languished in poverty. Chang videotaped their stories, wrote them down, and, most importantly, gave them a voice around the world.

"We wanted the whole world to know," says Ni, who visited San Francisco with Chang for a war-crimes conference in 2001.

Iris Chang has faded from the memory of Xia Shuqing. Her mind, especially this time of year, is occupied with other things. Xia was a girl of 7 when Japanese soldiers broke down her door, shot her father to death, raped and killed her mother, then murdered five other family members. She, too, was bayoneted repeatedly and left for dead. It all happened in December of 1937, and when winter approaches, it's difficult for Xia to think of other things.

"I was half-blind, I've cried so many times over these years," says Xia, her eyes welling.

Ni says that, at one time, she would shake with fear trying to speak of the Japanese invasion and the slaughter of her family. Because of the work of Chang and others, she and Xia feel strongly today and speak openly of their horrors. Though they are financially better off and more comfortable from donations and help after Chang's book, both women still want Japan to issue an official apology, something for which Iris Chang fought passionately.

Chang ended her life before she saw any apology; Japan has issued no formal statement regarding her death. Her loss has left another wound in Nanjing and across China. Her death made headlines nationwide, with newspapers referring to her in reverent tones as a modern-day heroine. In Nanjing, the city was abuzz, from taxi drivers to shopkeepers, about what may have led to such a sad ending for the "young warrior," named alongside NBA star Yao Ming as one of the most famous young Chinese today.

Besides giving international attention to a story that has long been a bruise on China's national psyche, Chang added immensely to the overall body of research about the Nanjing Massacre. Historian Sun Zhaiwei, a professor at the Jiangsu (Province) Academy of Social Sciences, was one of the first people to meet Chang in Nanjing. Sun noted that Chang uncovered the historically invaluable 2,000-page diaries of German John Rabe, a Nazi who saved tens of thousands of Chinese from certain slaughter by creating a Nanjing safety zone marshaled by the city's then-few expatriates.

Others can't help but compare Chang's fate with that of another American, Minnie Vautrin, who lived in Nanjing during the Japanese occupation and led a safe house effort that saved thousands of lives and thousands of Chinese women and girls from systematic rape by Japanese soldiers. In her book, Chang wrote how Vautrin returned to the United States and killed herself a year later, exhausted and haunted by the images of those she could not save.

Chang's close friend Ignatius Ding, a retired Cupertino engineer who sponsored some of her early research, said the parallels between Vautrin and Chang are strong. Both were deeply passionate and involved, both took the events to heart and both eventually collapsed under the weight. A Chinese garden in Norfolk, Va., that contains a memorial to Minnie Vautrin plans to add a memorial to Iris Chang, including her as the latest victim of the Nanjing Massacre.

Although Chang's work was dismissed as amateurish by some historians and Japanese scholars, Sun, considered one of China's foremost authorities on the Nanjing Massacre, said Chang's real contributions were invaluable.

"I could not believe it was true when I heard the news," says Sun, clutching a photo of himself and his daughter with Iris Chang in the United States. "I sincerely believe that her contributions to Nanjing and to world peace will always be with us."

In tribute to Chang, the victims' memorial hall in Nanjing held a service at the same time as her funeral in Los Altos on Friday. The stark memorial hall, filled with documents, photos and human remains, will add a wing next year dedicated to Iris Chang.

Memorial hall director Zhu Chengshan said Chang's book brought immense attention to the place, boosting international recognition and funding. The number of visitors each year to the hall, built near one of Nanjing's mass graves, has doubled to 1.2 million people since the book was published.

"We all think she contributed so much. Her spirit will never die, especially in this fight," says Zhu. "Her influence won't die."

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URL: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/11/20/DDGN29TV0G1.DTL


http://www.mercurynews.com/images/logos/site/mercurynews/mercurynews/site_logo_280x75.gif

 

 
http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/entertainment/books/10240223.htm
Posted on Tue, Nov. 23, 2004
Books
Iris Chang | 1968-2004
A storyteller's joys and sorrows
CHANG'S IDEAS FILLED BOXES, AND MANY OF HER PROJECTS CONSUMED HER EMOTIONALLY

Mercury News

Iris Chang presented at least a hundred talks every year at bookstores, college campuses and other venues, and yet very little was known about the private life of the Bay Area bestselling author and historian who died of an apparent suicide two weeks ago.

Although she made a career as a spokeswoman in support of reparations for Chinese wartime victims, documented in her most popular and controversial book, ``The Rape of Nanking,'' she was a writer of varied interests who hoped to tackle many other topics during her lifetime.

    
 
http://www.mercurynews.com/images/mercurynews/mercurynews/10247/105004625191.jpg
Pat West -- Mercury News archives
 

As Iris Chang posed in 1996 at an exhibit on the Sino-Japanese war while writing "The Rape of Nanking," she was taking the emotional undercurrents to heart.

http://www.mercurynews.com/images/mercurynews/mercurynews/10247/105004645685.jpg
Richard Koci Hernandez -- Mercury News archives
 
 Iris Chang signs a petition in 1994 as she takes part in a campaign to obtain reparations for Chinese war survivors.
 

Digging through files at her home office where she spent much of her time, Chang's husband of 13 years, Brett Douglas, recalls in a phone interview his wife's passion for storytelling.

``She has files overflowing with papers, and if I went into the garage, she has two more banker's boxes full of just story ideas,'' Douglas says.

Among the topics on her constantly growing book proposal list are: women in the workplace; raising a healthy baby; a program for prisoners employed as off-shore oil well divers; and oral histories of Douglas' relatives dating to 14th-century Scotland.

``Basically, if she thought it would make a good story,'' Douglas says, ``she wanted to write it.''
 

Former colleague and longtime friend, Christi Parsons, a staff writer at the Chicago Tribune, remembers Chang's passion for telling compelling stories during her nine-month stint as a newspaper journalist. Chang's outstanding quality, Parsons says, was her ability to do her job with empathy and with a conscience.

``An editor was hammering her mercilessly one day for not calling back again the family of a victim who had died tragically,'' Parsons says. ``So she picked up the phone, handed it to him and said `Here, you do it.' She was kind to people even when she was doing the really hard stories.''

But her empathy was an asset and a detriment, says Ignatius Ding, a close friend who founded Global Alliance for Preserving History of World War II in Asia, a Cupertino group that advocated reparations for victims of Japanese atrocities in World War II.

``She worked on such sad stories of victims from Asia and former P.O.W.'s,'' Ding says. ``She was so compassionate to her victims, and it got to her a lot of times. She told me that she would sit in the dark, surrounded by the photos of the victims in her study, unable to produce a word all night because of her nightmares. She was so saddened by the dark side of human society.''

Before Chang's death, the 36-year-old was mother to 2-year-old Christopher and spent most of her time at home.

Occasionally, she would indulge in a massage at a spa, listen to jazz or classical music, or hike with her husband at Rancho San Antonio County Park in Los Altos, ``but I'd have to exert a lot of effort to get her to go,'' Douglas says.

In between her writing and lengthy spurts of travel to lecture, do research and promote her books, one of her few pastimes included renting movies, which she approached nearly as meticulously as she did her work.

``She was extremely methodical about watching every Oscar-winning movie ever made,'' Douglas says. ``She'd rent five or six from Blockbuster at one time. She also researched which books were made into movies.''

Chang also had created a lengthy reading list of authors she admired. In her expansive library of nearly 3,000 books are some of her favorites: Ray Bradbury, William Manchester and Richard Rhodes.

But her work always seemed to seep into daily life -- even her hobbies. Favorite movies were of the historical fiction genre, which matched her preferred genre of book writing, and reading novels would spur her to seek out the authors to solicit them for career advice.

``She wouldn't do much outside her work,'' Douglas says. ``She loved her work so much that she wanted to do it all the time.''


Iris Chang

1968-2004

Born: Princeton, N.J.

Residence: San Jose

Occupation: Author and historian

Family: Brett Douglas, husband; Christopher, son.

Education: Bachelor's degree in journalism, University of Illinois; master's degree in writing, Johns Hopkins University.
 

Books: ``Thread of the Silkworm,'' ``The Rape of Nanking,'' ``The Chinese in America''

 

EXCERPTS FROM BOOKS OF IRIS CHANG

 

Excerpts from Iris Chang's ``The Rape of Nanking,'' about the brutal 1937 Japanese occupation of ancient Nanking during World War II. The book spent 10 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List.

• ``The Japanese would take any men they found as prisoners, neglect to give them water or food for days, but promise them food and work. After days of such treatment, the Japanese would bind the wrists of their victims securely with wire or rope and herd them out to some isolated area. The men, too tired or dehydrated to rebel, went out eagerly, thinking they would be fed. By the time they saw the machine guns, or the bloodied swords and bayonets wielded by waiting soldiers, or the massive graves, heaped and reeking with the bodies of the men who had preceded them, it was already too late to escape.''

• ``If I did not know about the Rape of Nanking before my visit to this teeming, congested, and thriving city, I would have never suspected that it even took place, for the population of the city was at least ten times greater than it had been immediately after the massacre. Underneath the prosperity, however, hidden from view, were the last human links to the past -- the elderly survivors of the Nanking massacre. Scholars in the city guided me to a few of them scattered throughout Nanking.

What I found shocked and depressed me. Most lived in dark, squalid apartments cluttered with the debris of poverty and heavy with mildew and humidity. I learned that during the massacre some had received physical injuries so severe they had been prevented from making a decent living for decades. Most lived in poverty so crushing that even a minimal amount of financial compensation from Japan could have greatly improved the conditions of their lives. Even $100 in reparations from the Japanese to buy an air conditioner could have made a world of difference to many of them.''

Taken from ``The Chinese In America.''

• ``The gold rush was born out of the sense among people living bleak lives of interminable desperation, Chinese or otherwise, that here at last was a chance to change the unchangeable -- to wrench themselves out of the endless and demeaning routine of their daily existence and maybe catapult themselves into another class entirely. People more conservative in outlook might regard with contempt those who would invest all they had in such pie-in-the-sky hopes, and China had always been a land where the conservative outlook -- respect for one's elders, one's betters, one's rulers -- was highly revered. But wherever the future was the dimmest, there, too, would be found people most eager to grab at this last chance at a better life, a chance that according to rumor had already led some few to great riches.

Like the thousands of others who had come to San Francisco to find their fortunes, the Chinese quickly set out for the gold fields. During the early 1850s, some 85 percent of the Chinese in California were engaged in placer mining. Over the next months and years, they wandered the western wilderness, sometimes walking hundreds of miles in response to news of fresh discoveries. They soon replaced their Chinese silk caps or straw hats with cowboy hats and their hand-stitched cotton shoes for sturdy American boots. But along with their blue cotton shirt and broad trousers, they retained one vestige of Qing tradition: a long jet-black queue that swayed gleaming down their backs.''

 


新民晚報  2004-11-19 

用生命來寫作的張純如                       支林飛 

華人的驕傲和楷模滿腔正義的斗士 用生命來寫作的張純如

 

張純如死前留下了一張紙條,要求家人記住她生病前的樣子。她還寫道:我曾認真生活,為目標、寫作和家人真誠奉獻過。

《南京暴行──被遺忘的大屠殺》(以下簡稱《南京暴行》)一書作者、美國華人女作家張純如近日在自己的汽車內自殺身亡。

 

警方:認定自殺身亡

 

張純如的丈夫佈雷特•道格拉斯在8日報警說妻子失蹤。美國加利福尼亞州警方9日上午接獲報案,一名路人在舊金山市以南80公里的洛斯•蓋托斯鎮一條偏僻鄉村小徑上,發現一名亞裔女性死於車內。經過警方及驗尸官調查,確定這名女性就是著名的華人作家張純如。她頭部中了一槍,警方認定這是一起自殺事件。

 

經紀人:患有憂鬱症

 

風華正茂的張純如為什麼突然自殺?張純如的出版經紀人蘇姍•拉比內爾說,張純如死前被醫生診斷患有憂鬱症,在今年初她就曾住院治療,最近5個月病情迅速惡化。生前,她正在採訪第二次世界大戰期間被日軍關押在菲律賓、飽受折磨的美國戰俘,準備寫一本揭露日軍暴行的新書,她為此心力交瘁。拉比內爾說:我和她經常通話,最近她告訴我,她無法繼續完成這個寫作計劃了。很顯然,她感到很悲傷。

 

丈夫:工作害了她

 

張純如的丈夫道格拉斯認為,是工作害了她。她多年來調查日軍二戰時期的暴行,從《南京暴行》到她近來準備寫的新書,接觸的全都是無比殘忍和血腥的歷史事實,一個個悲慘故事反反覆復地讓她陷入痛苦深淵,加上艱苦的採訪和寫作,最終導致她崩潰;他還說,妻子是工作狂,工作異常投入,經常挑戰體力極限,直至患病。他說:她是如此投入。她總是把自己推向極限,經常工作到累倒為止。

道格拉斯說,今年8月張純如飛往肯塔基州採訪,但一抵達目的地就病倒了,住院治療3天後飛回舊金山。工作不順讓她很沮喪。此後,她開始接受心理治療,但她放不下手頭的工作,很快又埋頭整理寫作材料。此後,張純如精神狀態時好時壞,9月有過一次自殺的苗頭。10月,她的身體和精神狀態惡化,無法照顧幼子,夫婦倆將兒子送到住在伊利諾伊州的外公外婆家照看。

 

發現:《拉貝日記》作證

 

張純如的成名作是她在1997年出版的、揭露侵華日軍暴行的《南京暴行》一書。

祖父張鐵君是南京大屠殺的幸存者,張純如從小就從家人口中瞭解到南京大屠殺的慘劇。上大學時,她到處尋找相關資料和書籍,但沒有發現一本能夠真正觸動人心的書。於是,她決定自己寫一本,讓世人更多地瞭解第二次世界大戰中被遺忘了的大屠殺。她認為:只有弄清大屠殺的原因,才能避免重蹈覆轍。

為了完成此書,張純如到中國、日本和中國台灣訪問大屠殺受害者,搜集了大量的日軍暴行鐵證。在為期兩年的搜集資料過程中,她最大的收穫就是發現了德國人約翰•拉貝記錄南京大屠殺情形的《拉貝日記》,這成為日本政府無法抵賴的史實證據。

《南京暴行》一書好比一柄刺向日本極右勢力的犀利標槍。該書讓日本右翼分子驚惶不安,他們對張純如恨之入骨。張純如多次收到日本極右分子寄去的恐嚇信,她也向朋友透露過對自己安全的擔憂。由於張純如自殺來得突然,還有人猜測此事可能與日本極右勢力的黑手有關。

 

真相:讓美國人震驚

 

張純如用英文撰寫的《南京暴行》一書以豐富的史料和扎實的調查,記述了侵華日軍當年在南京肆無忌憚燒殺淫虐的暴行。《南京暴行》一出版就在美國引起轟動。它第一次讓美國主流社會真正瞭解南京大屠殺的真相。她本人也說:許多美國人第一次聽說南京大屠殺,讀完書後,他們都震驚了。對於日本政府至今不願承認二戰侵略事實,許多西方讀者表示抗議。

該書出版後連續14個星期名列《紐約時報》暢銷書排行榜,迄今該書先後印刷12次,銷量超過15萬本。美國華人婦女協會當年評選張純如為年度優秀婦女獎

《南京暴行》是第一本記述日軍暴行的英文書籍,後被翻譯成多種外文出版,其影響深遠。日本右翼對此十分惱怒。1998年,日本駐美大使齊藤邦彥污蔑該書是非常錯誤的描寫。他的言論立即遭到中國駐美大使館、美國出版商和各類美國華僑團體的同聲抗議。

這本書也讓張純如成為積極參與維護抗日戰爭史實的社會活動家,以及抨擊日本掩蓋歷史可恥行徑的女斗士。她經常應美國一些社團的邀請發表演講,敦促日本政府反省歷史,汲取歷史教訓,以免重蹈覆轍。張純如說,只有認罪,日本才會變成一個更好的民族。受到日本右翼威脅,迄今沒有一家日本出版社敢出版該書的日文版。

 

讚譽:華人青年楷模

 

作為華人,張純如一直不忘華人先民在美國的奮鬥史。經過數年深入採訪和實地考證,她於2003年出版了《華人在美國》,為150多年來華人移民在美國奮鬥創業的艱辛歷史樹碑立傳。作品發表後,好評如潮。張純如說,她的書旨在表明:美國華人只有團結起來,才能改變自己的命運。

張純如的成功使她成為美國主流社會承認的公眾人物。她曾是美國《讀者文摘》的封面人物,獲得許多大學和組織的榮譽證書,她還為《紐約時報》《新聞周刊》等主流媒體撰寫過許多評論和文章。舊金山世界抗日史實維護會發言人丁元說,張純如強烈的正義感和出色的才能,在主流社會中樹立了華人的良好形象,她一直是美國華人青年真正的楷模。的確,作為一位年輕的少數族裔作家,張純如在美國主流社會贏得如此高的榮譽和地位,為美國華人爭了光,讓他們引以為傲,她的成功也值得其他華人青年效仿。

 

支林飛

 

出身書香門第

張純如於1968年出生在美國新澤西州普林斯頓的一個華人移民家庭中。父親當年是台大物理系狀元,母親則一直從事生物化學研究工作。

張純如從小聰慧好學,長大後熱愛寫作。1989年從伊利諾伊大學新聞系畢業後,她曾在美聯社和《芝加哥論壇報》擔任記者,後來她又在約翰•霍普金斯大學獲得寫作碩士學位。

張純如23歲時與在硅谷工作的白人工程師道格拉斯結婚,組成了一個幸福家庭。兩年前她還生下了一個可愛的兒子。

 

生前主要作品

《蠶絲》:該書介紹了中國導彈之父錢學森。

《南京暴行──被遺忘的大屠殺》:該書記述了侵華日軍當年在南京肆無忌憚燒殺淫虐的暴行。

 

評價:哈佛歷史系院長威廉•C•柯比在給該書作序時寫道:南京的暴行在西方已幾乎被人們遺忘,所以,本書的問世尤顯重要。張小姐把它稱為被遺忘的大屠殺,將二戰期間在歐洲和亞洲發生的對數百萬無辜者的屠殺聯繫在一起。

《華人在美國》:書中反映了華人在美國遭遇迫害和歧視的歷史,也歌頌了華人Q對美國社會發展作出的巨大貢獻。

評價:《洛杉磯時報》的書評稱,此書既是華人移民的故事,也是美國史詩的一部分。這本書的真正意義還在於幫助美國主流社會正視華人的地位和對美國的貢獻,有利於加快華人融入主流社會的步伐。

 

------------------------------------------

金陵晚報  2004-11-18 

張純如發現了《拉貝日記》 

 

【金陵晚報報道】張純如對南京大屠殺歷史研究的貢獻不僅僅在於:在英語國家將南京大屠殺這段歷史的真相公佈於眾併引起廣泛關注,其實,張純如還有一個不為人知的貢獻:是她,發現和促成了《拉貝日記》的面世。

朱成山告訴記者:當年張純如在他的建議下去了德國柏林追尋拉貝的足跡,張純如通過德國教師協會找到了曾任德國中學教師的拉貝先生的外甥女賴因哈特夫人,發現了塵封達59年之久的拉貝日記。這才促使這一珍貴資料公佈於世。

朱成山回憶,大約是張純如離開南京的一年後,南京大屠殺遇難同胞紀念館突然收到了一個寄自德國柏林的包裹,打開一看,竟然是長達87頁的拉貝致希特勒的報告書拉貝先生簡歷。這正是拉貝外甥女賴因哈特夫人根據張純如留下的紀念館地址寄來的。

朱成山趕快請省外辦的吳中德先生幫助翻譯,併對資料的內容和真實性進行了研究和考證;幾乎同時,在張純如的促成下,賴因哈特夫人被紐約南京大屠殺受難同胞聯合會的陳憲中、邵子平等先生邀請赴美,於19961213日在美國首次向世界公佈了《拉貝日記》。這件事通過媒體傳播後,立即引起了轟動。

接著,朱成山在對拉貝日記已有初步研究的基礎上,連續發表了《約翰•拉貝其人其事》、《日軍屠城鐵證》和《珍貴的歷史證詞》3篇學術報告。至此,國人初步對拉貝及《拉貝日記》的內容有所瞭解。

此後,在中國駐德國大使館的幫助下,遇難同胞紀念館從拉貝親屬那裡征集2460頁的拉貝日記和拉貝先生收藏的128張南京大屠殺歷史照片複製件,以及拉貝先生當年在南京使用的信箋、木箱、煙袋、拉貝夫婦的墓碑等一批文物;江蘇人民出版社和江蘇教育出版社出版了中文版《拉貝日記》;紀念館還舉辦了拉貝先生之南京資料展,併邀請賴因哈特夫婦來寧參加該展覽開幕式,該展覽歷時4載,先後接待200多萬名觀眾。

朱成山說:這一切的一切,都應該歸功於張純如。如果沒有她找到拉貝日記,沒有她幫助我們與拉貝先生親屬牽線搭橋,恐怕許多事情就不會進展得那麼順利。我從內心裡感激她。記者朱波

(編輯 雲翔)

 

 -------------------------

江南都市報  2004-11-18 

《南京大屠殺》作者張純如丈夫垂淚憶愛妻 保存歷史真相的人權斗士

 

119日,張純如女士結束了自己36歲的生命。在人們想象里,這個寫下《南京大屠殺》的女子,應是戰士一般堅強的;在親朋摯友的記憶中,她是充滿熱情、沉穩而美麗的。他們不能相信張純如是以這樣的方式離去的,就像他們不能相信她已永遠離去。張純如離世已經8天,她的丈夫道格拉斯努力地用他計算機工程師的冷靜和理智回憶愛妻的一言一行。 兩歲的兒子還不知母親已去世 有很多時候,37歲的道格拉斯說著說著就要哽咽──尤其是提到他和張純如兩歲的兒子克利斯多福的時候。 道格拉斯說,克利斯多福年紀那麼小,但是他知道媽媽身體不好,媽媽病了,所以爸爸媽媽把他送到伊利諾州的奶奶家。奶奶服務於幼稚園二十多年後退休,這些個月把小孫子照顧得很好,但是,沒有,我們沒有告訴他…,道格拉斯的淚水湧上來,他說:等他大一點,我會帶他到媽媽墳上去。

搬到北聖荷西這戶連棟屋的邊間已4年,之前夫妻倆住在桑尼維爾,有時會到洛斯阿圖靠近聖安東尼牧場那一帶去爬山,真沒想到才36歲風華正茂的張純如會選擇以槍結束生命,而且就要安息在牧場旁的GateofHaven公墓。家庭影響讓張純如走上理工道路 道格拉斯說,張純如在兩人的母校伊利諾大學原本是讀計算機,伊利諾州大的電機系是全美知名的好,張家都是讀科學的人,所以張純如也走上理工的路。

張純如的父親張紹進於1959年從台灣物理系畢業。那時台大物理是甲組第一志願,張紹進高中讀的新店文山高中毫不以升學知名,但張紹進考到當年的甲組狀元。張純如的媽媽張盈盈是台大農化系畢業。後來張紹進到普林斯頓大學讀碩士,張純如就是在那兒出生的。張紹進與張盈盈後來雙雙在哈佛大學拿到博士,繼之應聘到伊利諾大學,兩老退休後,於兩年前孫子出生時,搬來住在張純如一家人的附近。

張純如恐怕是家人和親戚中第一個離開理工路的。二十歲那年,放下只花了三年、馬上要到手的計算機學位,她決定改走新聞的路,因為從小就愛寫作。她能力高強,沒有延遲畢業,就順利完成新聞系的學位,在芝加哥當了一年記者,就往東岸走,到約翰霍普京斯讀碩士,然後展開寫書的生涯。張純如是個愛貓的人 張純如在死前的三更半夜,一個人開著車往洛斯阿圖的山邊開去,最後在9日上午九點多把車停在一家叫的餐廳附近,吞槍自盡。道格拉斯說,那一帶是兩人五年前考慮要搬去買屋居住的所在。

餐廳以Cats命名,道格拉斯想到妻子原是個愛貓的人,我和她初相識,她才20歲,卻有一隻已經13歲的貓,那只叫塔希的貓從她7歲就養起,是只活了二十多歲的長壽貓!道格拉斯沉浸在往日時光。張純如擅長保存整理史料 張純如曾經那麼悠遊於調查研究寫作的生活。道格拉斯說,妻子寫作的前六年,顯得無憂無慮,她先完成中國飛彈之父錢學森的傳記,然後著手收集南京大屠殺題材。出書之後,聲名鵲起,演講邀約多了,她想保有私生活,選擇較為隱遁下來。

他們搬到離思科科技很近的新家,道格拉斯上班近,張純如每天上班就是從臥房走到書房。RapeofNanking會是以後大家記得IrisChang的一本書,道格拉斯說,這本書以後,賣逾40萬冊,並且很多人找上張純如,給她故事,希望她把故事寫出來。她擅於保存整理史料,她有好多題材等著她去寫…想到愛妻毅然拋下的人生,道格拉斯哭了。

 


OTHER LINKS RELATED TO IRIS:

http://www.jhu.edu/~jhumag/1197web/nanking.html
http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/10227648.htm
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2004-11/21/content_393435.htm
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_world/view/116549/1/.html
http://www.nbc11.com/news/3931905/detail.html
http://www.irischang.name (Chinese)
http://ntdtv.com/xtr/gb/aReadArticle.jsp?id=23026 (Chinese)