I was shocked by the news that Iris Chang, author of the bestselling books, The Rape of Nanking, and The Chinese in America, was found dead from gunshot wounds in her car along a California highway on 10 November 2004. She was only 36 years old, and leaves a husband and a 2-year-old son.
Born in New Jersey, she studied science writing at John Hopkins University, and was a journalist before becoming a full-time writer.
I was put in contact with her in 1998 when I was researching the Rape of Nanking for a musical that I had been trying to write. She was extremely helpful and agreed to be the historical consultant for our project.
The Rape of Nanking is about one of the most tragic events of World War II, and often referred to as the Chinese holocaust. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians were slaughtered, raped and tortured by Japanese soldiers over the course of a few weeks in Nanking during December 1937 and early 1938. The savagery and ferocity of the butchery left a permanent scar in Chinese minds.
Websites about the Rape of Nanking:
An undeniable history in photographs
Nanjing Massacre (click on tab Nanjing Massacre)
Review of Iris Chang's Rape of Nanking
Unfortunately the Japanese government has to this day consistently denied responsibility for this massacre.
It is with great sadness that I mourn the passage of such a young and talented writer.
20 May 2011