Burnt by the Sun examines the history of the first Korean diaspora in a Western society during the highly tense geopolitical atmosphere of the Soviet Union in the late 1930s. Chang argues that Tsarist influences and the various forms of Russian nationalism(s) and mindsets blinded the Stalinist regime from seeing the Koreans as loyal Soviet citizens. Instead, these influences portrayed them as simply a colonizing element (laborforce) with unknown and unknowable political loyalties. One of the major findings of Chang's research was the depth that the Soviet state was able to influence, penetrate, and control the Koreans through not only state propaganda and media, but also through their selection and placement of Soviet Korean leaders, informants, and secret police within the community.
Jon K. Chang is an American researcher who holds an MA from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a PhD in Russian/Soviet history from the University of Manchester.