The Rape of Nanking with Iris Chang

One of the greatest atrocities in history was the rape of Nanking.  All humans are capable of great evil and this is an example. Thousand were murdered and tossed into the Yangtze River. There were so many bodies, the water turned red. Others were buried alive after digging their own graves.

For her book, Iris Chang went to China and interviewed the few hundred survivors still living to document the horrible crimes the Japanese committed.  She talked to one man who, as a child, watched his mother and little brothers being murdered.

Another witness tells Chang how she found her dead grandparents, mother and little sisters naked and raped.

There is a scene showing Chang transcribing taped interviews and it is mentioned that she had nightmares from this project. Chang said, someone had to listen, to record and validate the experience of the survivors and make it public.

The Rape of Nanking Movie Trailer

The Rape of Nanking was published November 1997 and became a bestseller while Japan tried to discredit the book. Iris Chang committed suicide on November 10, 2004. She was 36 and left behind a husband and two-year-old child.

See The Rape of Nanking

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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2 Responses to The Rape of Nanking with Iris Chang

  1. robert says:

    I do not discount anything Chang alleged in her book. However I just want to point out two facts that you failed to mention. 1) Chang was commissioned and funded by the Communist Party to write The Rape of Nanking. It is officially classified as “Communist Propaganda” by the CCP. 2) The attack on Nanking happened because Chinese military troops abandoned their posts upon hearing that the Japanese were approaching. They fled for their lives rather than defend their country and city. During the Chinese soldier’s flight, they trampled, looted and murdered thousands of civilians who stood in their way. Yes the Japanese are guilty and really need to admit it, but at least 50% of the blame should be placed on the Chinese themselves.

    • Robert,

      Interesting.

      However, even if Chang were paid by the Communist Party to write the book, that did not guarantee that an American publisher would publish it. In traditional publishing in America, getting a book published is not easy. In fact, I doubt that without the Chinese Central Government’s support that Chiang would be allowed to do any research in China. If the CCP doesn’t like the project, they make sure it doesn’t see the light of day unless it is an illegal book published without permission.

      The hardcover for the Rape of Nanking was published in America in 1997 by Basic Books, a member of the Perseus Books Group and in paperback by Penguin the same year. I’m sure that American editors checked many of her facts, and it is no secret, that China’s central government has an interest in this story being told. I’ve even heard of other US authors being approached by the CCP to tell this story.

      Consider that the US Endowment for the Arts often awards grants to authors who write nonfiction—does that mean the work they write is propaganda? Calling The Rape of Nanking propaganda because the CCP paid Chiang to write the book is being nitpicky unless you know if Chang were told what to write. The evidence shows that she did her due diligence as a Western journalist and interviewed witnesses by the hundreds and did the research and wrote what she learned from that. As I recall, she interviewed hundreds.

      Since my father-in-law, who was 12 at the time and living in Shanghai, saw similar atrocities and heard from family members in other cities and villages of similar horrors that the Japanese did, I do not doubt one fact in Chang’s book about the Rape of Nanking. I believe I may have mentioned that my father-in-law witnessed the beheading of a cousin close to his age at the time by a Japanese officer.

      As for the Chinese troops abandoning their posts, that is common knowledge for those who know about what took place in Nanking. Those troops were Nationalists or KMT under the command of Chiang Kai-shek, and they were not popular with the people. Moral was also low in the KMT army.

      In addition, Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang troops supported the status quo—the wealthy landowners and factory owners and foreigners in China doing business—to them the peasants were like animals and treated as such.

      The KMT never won the hearts of the people (the peasants) as Mao’s forces did, which is one reason the Communists won China and why so many in China still respect and honor Mao even with the mistakes he made during the so-called Great Leap Foward and the insanity of the Cultural Revolution.

      The Communist Army did not defend Nanking since they were being chased by Chiang Kai-she’s troops all over China and may not have been close to Nanking although they may have had spies there and some may have been killed too.

      The Chinese army you accuse of doing the same thing the Japanese did in Nanking are stationed in Taiwan where they did similar atrocities to the natives there—not the army that defends mainland China today.

      And since Chiang Kai-shek, his generals and government fled the city first, can we expect the troops to stand fast and die in place? They were abandoned by their KMT leaders. If any Chinese are to be blamed, it would be Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist government and they rule from Taiwan–not Beijing

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