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Posted: 03 October 2007

Jung Chang, author of “Wild Swans”, to speak at UCD

UCD’s Law Society will host a public lecture by Jung Chang, best known for her family autobiography “Wild Swans” which sold over 10 million copies worldwide but is still banned in mainland China.

The lecture will focus on the theme of her second book, Mao: the Unknown Story. “I decided to write about Mao because I was fascinated by this man, who dominated my life in China, and who devastated the lives of my fellow countrymen – a quarter of the world’s population,” says Chang. “He was as evil as Hitler or Stalin, and did as much damage to mankind as they did. Yet astonishingly the world knows little about him.”

In the book, co-authored by her Irish-born husband Jon Halliday, Chang is highly critical, not only of Mao, but of the current Chinese regime, which declares itself to be the heir of the Mao regime. They claim that Mao - in his selfish pursuit of power - caused well over 70 million deaths among his own population. But unlike Hitler or Stalin who have been rejected by their own countries, Mao Zedong lives on - his portrait and corpse still dominate Tiananmen Square in the heart of Beijing.

Among those interviewed for the book were many of Mao’s inner circle who had never previously spoken on the topic, and prominent international statesmen who had significant dealings with him including George Bush Sr, Henry Kissinger, Gerald Ford, Edward Heath, Imelda Marcos, President Mobutu and the Dalai Lama.

Jung Chang’s life was shaped by the political movements introduced by Mao. At the age of fourteen she was a Red Guard, following this she worked as a peasant, a ‘barefoot doctor’, a steelworker and an electrician before becoming an English-language student and, later, an assistant lecturer at Sichuan University. In 1978, she came to England and in 1982 obtained her PhD in Linguistics from York University.

The lecture will take place in O’Reilly Hall, UCD at 7:00pm. Admission is free and open to the public. If you would like to attend the event, please register your interest at

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Jung Chang, author of “Wild Swans”, to speak at UCD