【4/23/2021】CAPA-NoVA Distinguished Chinese American Project

(Written by: Xiaoyan Deng)


张纯如(Iris Shun-Ru Chang) (March 28, 1968 – November 9, 2004) was a Chinese American journalist, author of historical books and political activist. She is best known for her best-selling 1997 account of the Nanking Massacre, The Rape of Nanking (南京暴行:被遗忘的大屠杀), and in 2003, The Chinese in America: A Narrative History.

Chang is the subject of the 2007 biography, Finding Iris Chang, and the 2007 documentary film Iris Chang: The Rape of Nanking starring Olivia Cheng as Iris Chang. The independent 2007 documentary film Nanking was based on her work and dedicated to her memory.

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Chang was born in Princeton, New Jersey and raised in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. She attended University Laboratory High School of Urbana, Illinois, and graduated in 1985. She was initially a computer science major, but would later switch to journalism, earning a bachelor’s degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1989. After brief stints at the Associated Press and the Chicago Tribune, she pursued a master’s degree in Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University.


Chang suffered a nervous breakdown in August 2004, and continued to suffer from depression and experienced the side effects of several medications she was taking. On November 9, 2004, at about 9 a.m., Chang was found dead in her car in Santa Clara County. Investigators concluded that Chang had shot herself through the mouth with a revolver. News of her suicide hit the massacre survivor community in Nanjing hard.

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【Not only do we live among the stars, the stars live within us! 】

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