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Mei Chang is an older inmate at Litchfield Penitentiary. She also works at the commissary and is first seen in the prison cafeteria, eating with the "Others". Chang is portrayed by Lori Tan Chinn. Chang escapes from the prison during the riot, but is then revealed to have been found shortly after.

Personality Edit

Chang is a quiet person who rarely speaks. She is liked by many of her fellow inmates for this reason. Chang often isolates herself from the other inmates and remains anti-social, this may be why Chang works in a job which does not require many other inmates.

She also has a sense of humor. At Berdie Roger's drama class, for example, Chang makes a sexual joke when Morello was trying to take the improvisation seriously.

In flashbacks, Chang is seen to be gutsy and fearless. It is hinted that she was attracted to her business partner, Fu, but the attraction did not seem to be mutual. Despite this, he is seen to respect her and fulfills the promise he owes her for saving his life. She is described by Carmen Aziza as "annoying as fuck."

Physical AppearanceEdit

Chang typically wears a grey long-sleeved shirt underneath her tan prison jumpsuit. She has short, black hair, and is older than most of the inmates. In the first season, it appears Chang has facial hair on the corners of her mouth. This disappears in the second season onwards. Chang is very little and moves with short, fast steps.

In flashbacks, she is shown to suffer from a skin condition on her face when she arrives from China. Months later, it seems to be less noticeable. Chang weighs 108 pounds.

BiographyEdit

For a list of episodes featuring Chang's flashbacks, see here.

Before Litchfield Edit

In the 1980's, Chang's brother, Lin Chang, once attempted to sell her as a wife to a rich man through the help of a matchmaker. When the man, Sun Zhang, rejected her because of her appearance (a skin condition, possibly dermatitis), she offered to work in the family shop with her brother, Lin Chang, selling traditional Chinese medicine, that dealt illegal animal parts on the side. When her brother was not given his bear bile because of a setback on delivery, she offered herself up to assist in the transactions. On one delivery occasion, she noticed that the dealer was trying to rip them off by giving them ping pong balls instead of eggs, thus starting a fight between the dealer and her business partner, Fu. She knocks the dealer unconscious just as he is about to shoot Fu and Fu declares that he owes her.

She later exacts revenge on the man who rejected her for marriage by telling Fu and his men to cut out his gallbladder ("Ching Chong Chang").

It is implied that she was romantically attracted to Fu, and was saddened by the fact that she could not be with him.

It is revealed that Chang was born in the Hebei province in China. ("Sing It, White Effie")

Season One Edit

Chang works as a cashier at the prison commissary.

She is seen giving the girls a bag of oranges for Tricia Miller's memorial party. She otherwise does not seem to involve herself in any of the high school-like antics and gossip that plagues the other inmates' time in prison.

Because of this, she is generally liked by her fellow inmates, and is chosen by a vote to represent both the "Golden Girls" and the "Others" when counselor Sam Healy forms the Women's Advisory Council ("WAC Pack").

Season Two Edit

Brook Soso becomes Chang's new roommate.

In "A Whole Other Hole", Chang is seen to judge a competition between Nicky Nichols and Big Boo to see who can get the most points in a sex competition (higher points are awarded for more "difficult" conquests).

Season Three Edit

Chang tends to keep to herself during meals and free time. She is shown to have a cell phone stashed away in a shed that she watches a sitcom on, and receives a delivery of oranges from an unspecified person through a hole in the perimeter fence. Chang also likes to make her own food in the microwave using ingredients she gets from the dining room and the commissary ("Ching Chong Chang"). She dips her feet into an unknown solution (Most likely animal blood, following the dead tradition of lotus feet) for extended amounts of time. When Soso asks what the solution is for, Chang does not respond ("Where My Dreidel At").

Chang's isolation is focused on in "Ching Chong Chang". Piper and Alex openly make fun of Chang when they see her brushing her teeth with salt. Later, Chang is accidentally hit in the back of the head by a basketball and no-one apologizes. Chang faces the players and says, "not cool". Maureen Kukudio tells Chang to throw it back, but Chang walks away and Kukudio calls her a dick.

Chang writes a script for Berdie Rogers' drama class about her encounter with Sun Zhang, which is performed by Angie Rice and Sister Ingalls. The subject matter is "past resentments", but when Ingalls objects, Berdie stops the performance, saying that she thinks Chang took the instruction a little too literally. Suzanne says she enjoyed it, but it is met with stony silence from the other inmates, ostracizing Chang.

Later, Piper apologizes for making fun of Chang. Chang thanks her. ("Thank you, lesbian.")

Season Four Edit

Chang plays a very minimal role in this season. During "Work That Body For Me", she briefly addresses Piper, who isn't interested in joining the rest of the inmates at the lake. She tells Piper she's going to enjoy the hot showers while they're completely free. Chang is only briefly seen again in "Power Suit" and "Doctor Psycho".

Season Five Edit

Because Big Boo and Pennsatucky have taken over the commissary, Chang is not able to get in. She asks the girls to give her Dr. Scholl's gel inserts, calcium tabs, a radio, four pencils, and some honey, which they agree to. ("Riot FOMO") Caputo, Janae, Josh, Taystee, Black Cindy and Alison pass Chang who is sitting outside the chapel where the "show" is happening, she states "You in flavour country" while both using a vapor pen and smoking a cigarette simultaneously. ("Fuck, Marry, Frieda")

Near the end of the season she finds the hole Ruiz made in the fence and leaves the prison campus saying "See you later motherfuckers!"

Season Six Edit

It is revealed by Fig that Chang was found by the authorities sleeping in a hollowed-out deer carcass. ("Mischief Mischeif")

Memorable QuotesEdit

"Hey, lesbians. My eyes squinty, but ears work fine."
— Chang to Piper and Alex ("Ching Chong Chang")
"That's not a phone either..." "What is it?" "A DICK!"
— Chang and Morello, doing improv in Berdie Rogers' drama class. ("Empathy Is a Boner Killer")
"Nobody knows you, gangsta with an A."
— Chang to Piper ("Work That Body For Me")
"Fuck you, cracker."
— Chang to Doggett ("Ching Chong Chang")
"I think Miss Rosa get cancer from that lake."
— Chang to Piper ("Work That Body For Me")
"See you later, thug life."
— Chang to Piper ("Work That Body For Me")
"My fingers smell like an old tennis ball."
— Chang
" Not cool."
— Chang ("Ching Chong Chang")
"All Fake. Showbiz."
— Chang to the inmates at drama class, after Sister Ingalls and Berdie Rogers stopped the re-enactment of Chang's memory of resentment. ("Ching Chong Chang")

Memoir Edit

Whilst the real-life inspiration for Chang does not feature in the memoir, Kerman mentions "one tiny Chinese woman in her sixties." It is possible that Kerman was referring to Cheng Chui Ping, known as 'Sister Ping' who was arrested in 2000 and also incarcerated at FCI Danbury[1][2]. Cheng did not speak much English which isolated her from other inmates[3] and this is reflected in Chang's character.

Trivia Edit

  • Chang's nickname in Chinese is 小張 (trad.) / 小张 (simp.) Xiǎo Zhāng, meaning "Little Zhang".

Gallery Edit

Screenshots Edit

Others Edit

References Edit

  1. De Angelis, Maria. Human Trafficking: Women’s Stories of Agency: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016. Print.
  2. http://www.sino-us.com/290/Sister-Ping-A-snakehead-with-a-kind-heart.html
  3. Radden Keefe, Patrick (April 24, 2006). The Snakehead. The New Yorker. Retrieved November 12, 2017.

Appearances Edit

Navigation Edit

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Last seen in Minimum Security Irma Lerman  •  A-Rod  •  Annie Valdez  •  White Cindy  •  Loretta Fisher  • Voth  •  Jayne Cooke
Released inmates Piper Chapman  •  Stella Carlin  •  Mercy Valduto  •  Sara Rice  •  Linda Ferguson  •  Aleida Diaz  •  Sophia Burset  •  Jane Ingalls  •  Jimmy Cavanaugh  •  Judy King
Deceased inmates Poussey Washington  •  Yvonne Parker  •  Tricia Miller  •  Maureen Kukudio  •  Carol Denning  •  Barbara Denning  •  Rosa Cisneros