Ayris Chan

Ayris Chan

American writer.
Date of Birth: 28.03.1968
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Iris Chang
  2. American Writer, Historian, and Journalist of Chinese Origin
  3. Journalism Career
  4. Literary Achievements
  5. Impact and Controversy

Biography of Iris Chang

American Writer, Historian, and Journalist of Chinese Origin

Iris Chang was an American writer, historian, and journalist of Chinese origin. She was born to American university professors who had emigrated from China. Chang attended the Experimental High School at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, where she later obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism in 1989. She also earned a master's degree from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Journalism Career

Chang began her career as a correspondent stringer for The New York Times in Urbana-Champaign. She also collaborated with the Associated Press and the Chicago Tribune. During her journalism career, Chang covered various topics and events, gaining experience and honing her writing skills.

Literary Achievements

In the later years of her life, Chang focused on writing books about the experiences of Chinese immigrants in America. Her most famous work, "The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II" (1997), brought her worldwide acclaim. The book, published on the 60th anniversary of the Nanking Massacre, documented the brutal mass killings of over 300,000 innocent civilians in Nanking in December 1937 by Japanese soldiers. It detailed the rape and murder of at least 20,000 women by Japanese soldiers. In addition to chronicles and commented documents, Chang's book included interviews with survivors.

Chang's book remained on The New York Times bestseller list for 10 weeks. The success of her book also led to the production of a documentary film titled "Nanking" in 2007, which received awards at film festivals in the United States and Hong Kong.

Impact and Controversy

Influenced by Chang's work, the United States Congress passed a resolution in 1997 calling on the Japanese government to officially apologize for the war crimes committed by the Japanese army. However, her book was banned in Japan for many years and was only published there in 2007.

Working on her book about the events in Nanking took a toll on Chang's mental health. She experienced bouts of depression and insomnia. In August 2004, she suffered a nervous breakdown and received medical assistance at a psychiatric hospital in Louisville for three days. Chang was diagnosed with manic-depressive psychosis and was prescribed medication, including risperidone.

On November 9, 2004, Chang was found dead in her car near Los Gatos, California. She had taken her own life with a revolver. Her tragic death shocked the literary community and left a void in the world of journalism and historical writing. Despite her short life, Iris Chang made a significant impact with her important and influential works.