Stanford—Calling her the “voice of the underprivileged” and a “fighter for people” family and friends of writer and journalist Iris Chang gathered at an unveiling of a bronze statue of her on Thursday, February 1, at the Hoover Institution. The statue, donated by the China Foundation for Human Rights Development, will be on permanent display in the Hoover Archives Reading Room.
Left to Right: Lin Bocheng, Michael Chang, Shau-Jin Chang, Ying-Ying Chang, and Wang Hongzhi (click image to enlarge).
Chang is the author of The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II and The Chinese in America: A Narrative History. In The Rape of Nanking she brought to light a previously little known event in the invasion of China by the Japanese in the late 1930s where Chinese soldiers and civilians were massacred by the Japanese Imperial Army. Her next book, The Chinese in America, told the story of the Chinese experience in America. In researching the books Chang drew on materials from the Hoover Institution Library and Archives. Her first book, Thread of the Silkworm, documented the story of Dr. Hsue-shen Tsien, who, after he was deported by the United States during the 1950s as a suspected spy and Communist, developed the Silkworm missile for the Chinese government.
Chang, who died in 2004, was remembered by speakers at the ceremony for her resolve and dedication to her work. “Her combination of passion and scholarship reached further than that of a journalist or an academic,” said Peter Li, president, Global Alliance for Preserving the History of WWII in Asia. He added that she set an example for future researchers. Zhu Weimin, Deputy Consul General, People’s Republic of China, San Francisco, said “she chose to disclose the truth to the world.”
It was Chang’s love of libraries, however, that her father, Shau-Jin Chang, remembered. Once, she found herself alone in a library, past closing time, he said, because she was so deeply involved in what she was doing.
Shortly before her death Chang donated her extensive materials on the history of the Chinese in America and the human rights violations in Nanking (1937 – 38), which include the lengthy interviews she conducted with American military personnel who served in the Pacific during World War II, to the Hoover Institution Library and Archives .
Chang’s papers are part of the Modern China Archives that include the papers of T. V. Soong, finance minister of China and foreign minister in World War II; official records of the Kuomintang, China’s oldest political party; and the diaries of Chiang Kai-shek dating from 1919 to 1972 and his son Chian Ching-kuo dating from 1941 to 1979, first and third constitutional presidents of the Republic of China.
Speakers at the ceremony included Hoover senior associate director Richard Sousa; Michael Wan, field representative, Office of Congressman Mike M. Honda; Walter Ko, board member, Chinese American Forum; Ignatius Ding, friend; Lin Bocheng, assistant chairman, China Foundation for Human Rights Development, Beijing; Wang Hongzhi, sculptor.