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November 2, 2007

Iris Chang

Filed under: Freestyle — Fei @ 12:20 am

I went to a panel discussion on Nanking Massacre at Stanford today, Room 370, Bldg 370. When I got there, I was surprised to find out that the room was quite small. Less than a hundred people sat through the discussion. What happened? Is this the difference between the east coast and west coast? Frankly speaking, the discussion was still enlightening… I just wished to hear opinions from both sides, debates of some kind… but only found out its education purpose… what’s the purpose of a panel if everyone thinks the same?

It was the first time I saw Iris Chang’s parents, describing their daughter’s story on the best seller book “Rape of Nanking”. They must have talked the same story to people over and over again…

Talking about Iris Chang, I recall the first time I saw her. It was in late April, 2003, at Princeton University, the closing event for APAHM. APAHM means Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, in case you don’t know. At that time I had no idea who Iris was, but a friend dragged me there. The place was McCosh 50, the biggest classroom on campus, seating 500 people. Big the room was, it was packed, literally packed. Iris went to Princeton to promote her new book, “The Chinese in America: A Narrative History”. She did not mention Nanking during her speech at all. However, all questions from the audience were about Nanking… How popular the book was? That raised my interest… Later I talked to Paula and other people, and found out how significant the book was… The book was the first one to educate Americans on that piece of history. It was the best seller in New York times when it was first out in 1997. I kept an eye on her after the event… only sadly found out her suicide one year later…

Well, it’s 70th anniversary of Nanking Massacre… it’s time to think about it again… I actually wrote something last year, but never finished… maybe it’s time to complete my assignment…


  1. all that i know of her originates from she suicide in Nov.–allmost three years ago, i shall not understand, probably not until having completed a book for parents to dwell on.

    Comment by ditto — November 2, 2007 @ 2:29 am

  2. I actually think one hundred people being present is not bad. I am TAing modern Chinese history this semester and really wanna know what students think about the massacre.  

    Comment by 杜撰 — November 2, 2007 @ 11:59 am

  3. I went to a book promotion talk she gave at Stanford several
    years ago. She was weary, yet filled with passion and wrath,
    when talking about her book, and all the ignorance and resistance,
    even open threat, she encountered after publishing the book. It
    casted had a lasting, disturbing shadow on her personal life.

    Later, I attended the local memorial service after her suicide.
    Apparently the book she was working on after Rape of Nanking,
    on certain US military abuse in Philippines, was also a depressing
    topic …

    Comment by Xiaoqing — November 2, 2007 @ 3:02 pm

  4. http://daily.stanford.edu/article/2007/11/2/panelistsRememberNanking

    Comment by lim — November 3, 2007 @ 8:36 am

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