FATAL Campaign

Families Advocating Transparency in Autopsies of Loved Ones

Richard Chang, death at Abbey National in London

5th September 2005

When you don’t know the person, his family, or his friends, you can only read about it in the papers. After all, journalists are supposed to be truth seekers, reporting an event from all angles, questioning with skepticism, attempting to get at the real truth but leaving a question mark for the readers to conclude for themselves.

What really happened to Richard Chang? Was the verdict of suicide at his place of employment the end of story? Could it have been prevented?

At his memorial service I attended a year ago, I found it impossible to believe that the only son of elderly parents with a family of his own to support would jump to his death.

From my understanding of Chinese traditions, the eldest son has responsibility not only of his own wife and children but his parents also. Knowing the high achiever that he was, I could not believe that he would end a life full of promise.

Someone like Richard Chang had much to look forward to. He was serving his notice, having accepted another job offer. He had plane tickets to take his family to New York for his son’s choir performance, an event they had planned for a long time. There was nothing to anticipate his fall on that fateful Tuesday, 13 July 2004.

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