After the character’s actress spoke out about racism during production, Cho Chang’s name has been re-examined by fans.
Katie Leung played the role of Cho Chang in 2005’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, acting as Harry’s temporary love interest. However, the actress spoke about her experience of racism while filming on a recent episode of the Chinese Chippy Girl podcast, as reported by BuzzFeed.
“I was, like googling myself at one point, and I was on this website, which was kind of dedicated to the kind of Harry Potter fandom. I remember reading all the comments. And yeah, it was a lot of racist s**t,” she said.
“I remember them saying to me ‘Oh, look, Katie, we haven’t seen these, there websites that people are talking about. And you know? If you get asked that, just say it’s not true, say it’s not happening,” added Katie on publicists.
Although she continued that she was “really f***ing grateful” to be in the film, she explains there’s one thing she would have done different: “I keep saying like, ‘oh I wish I’d maybe said something,’ but you can’t do that.”
Fans are looking to Cho Chang’s name
With these new reports of dealing with racism while playing the role of Cho Chang, fans of the franchise have also turned attention to the character in itself—specifically, her name.
“Even the character itself is problematic tbh. Cho Chang is supposed to be Chinese, but then her name contains two Korean surnames. And of course, she’s from Ravenclaw, where the clever kids stay. That’s how you put Asian characters, right? The stereotypes game is strong,” wrote one Twitter user.
It checks out too. Cho Chang is a Chinese character, and yet her name is made up of a Korean surname (Cho) and Chinese surname (Chang, which is also the romanization of a Korean surname too).
While in the past, fans have also dubbed the naming “lazy” with comparisons to the term ‘ching chong’, often used to mock Chinese people.
This isn’t the first time Cho Chang’s name has gone viral either. In 2013, poet Rachel Rostad’s spoken poem ‘To JK Rowling, from Cho Chang’ swept the internet, with her take on Asian stereotypes in the Harry Potter universe, and the wider film industry. Rachel points out the illegitimacy of the name, comparing it to a French man being named Garcia Sanchez, after two Spanish surnames.
What has Katie Leung said about the Harry Potter name?
After JK Rowling received backlash for her comments on the term ‘women who menustrate’, actress Katie Leung gave her own views on Cho Chang. Well, kind of.
“So, you want my thoughts on Cho Chang? Okay, here goes…” she wrote on Twitter.
However, following tweets didn’t divulge an in-depth analysis of the character. Instead, Katie posted links for initiatives and GoFundMe’s relating to the Black Lives Matter movement.