Iris Chang’s 1997 work The Rape of Nanking precipitated a wave of critiques and reappraisals in Asia and abroad. While held in low-esteem by most historians and academics, it holds greater sway amongst broader reading publics as one of the most widely read popular histories on the subject. The impact of Chang’s book transcends the ongoing and heated debates about the Nanking Massacre itself, and connects with related debates concerning history, memory, and human rights in the Asia-Pacific. The article examines some of these related historical debates appearing in the late nineteen-nineties and shows how The Rape of Nanking has stimulated public interest and recognition of past human rights violations including, but not limited to the atrocities of Nanking.


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