Date of birth unknown; died circa 103 B.C. Chinese diplomat and traveler.
In 138 B.C., Chang Ch’ien was sent on a mission to Central Asia by Emperor Wu Ti in order to conclude an alliance with the Yüeh-chih tribe against the Hsiung-nu. He was captured by the Hsiung-nu, however, and did not escape and resume his journey westward until ten years later. On the return trip he was detained again by the Hsiung-nu, but he quickly escaped. In 115 B.C., Chang Ch’ien was dispatched at the head of an embassy to the ruler of the Wu-sun tribe, which roamed the area west of China’s borders; he persuaded the Wu-sun ruler to form an alliance with China.