NEW YORK, November 12, 2013 - Historian Jung Chang discussess her revisionist new biography of China's Empress Cixi (1835-1908) in a talk with Orville Schell, Director of Asia Society's Center on U.S.-China Relations. (1 hr., 13 min.)
Jung Chang (張戎 /张戎) was born in Sichuan Province, China, in 1952. During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) she worked as a peasant, a "barefoot" doctor, a steelworker, and an electrician before becoming an English-language student at Sichuan University. She left China for Britain in 1978 and obtained a PhD in Linguistics in 1982 at the University of York - the first person from Communist China to receive a doctorate from a British university. She is the author of the bestselling books Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China (which the Asian Wall Street Journal called the most read book about China), and Mao: The Unknown Story (with Jon Halliday). Her books have been translated into more than 40 languages and sold more than 15 million copies, in addition to millions in pirated editions and computer downloads in mainland China (where both books are banned). Among the many awards she has won are the UK Writers' Guild Best Non-Fiction (1992) and Book of the Year UK (1993). Jung Chang has received honorary doctorates from the Universities of Buckingham, York and Warwick, the Open University, UK, and Bowdoin College, USA.
Orville Schell is the Arthur Ross director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at the Asia Society in New York. He is a former professor and dean at the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Schell is the author of 14 books, nine of them about China, and a contributor to numerous edited volumes. His most recent books are Virtual Tibet, The China Reader, and Mandate of Heaven. He is also a contributor to such magazines as The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, and many others. He is a fellow at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University, a senior fellow at the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Southern California, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a recipient of the Overseas Press Club Award and the Harvard-Stanford Shorenstein Prize for Asian Reporting.