Court to determine Chiang diaries ownership: Stanford
CNALOS ANGELES -- Stanford University said Tuesday it has asked a court to help resolve a dispute over the ownership of diaries penned by two late Republic of China presidents — Chiang Kai-shek and his son Chiang Ching-kuo.
September 26, 2013, 12:05 am TWN
The private California university's Hoover Institution has been in possession of the diaries for years and has put digital copies online for research and reference.
But the school's possession of those important historic documents has been called into question by several of the late Chiang Ching-kuo's surviving relatives ever since his daughter-in-law, Chiang Fang Chih-yi, signed a 50-year lease of the diaries to the Hoover Institution on Jan. 10, 2005.
Stanford chose to file a complaint with a federal court in San Jose, California after its representatives were unable to resolve the ownership issue when meeting with claimants in Taiwan in April, according to sources familiar with the matter.
The litigation is aimed only at determining the rightful owner or owners of the diaries and is not an attempt to hold on to them, Stanford has said.
A Sept. 24 report by Bloomberg News quotes the complaint, which details Stanford's willingness to return the papers to “the person(s) or entitity(ies) legally entitled,” which it cannot do because it “does not know and cannot determine” just who those people or entities are.
Eryn Witcher, a spokesman for the Hoover Institution, stressed that the school is only looking to clarify who has legal rights to the documents so they can be placed where they belong, according to Bloomberg.
Media reports in Taiwan have indicated the diaries span Chiang Kai-shek's long leadership within the ROC, detailing his life from 1918 through 1975, the year of his death.
Some of the major historical events reportedly covered include the Japanese invasion of China, the civil war between Chiang's government in China and communist forces, and the R.O.C. government's eventual retreat to Taiwan and rule there.
The diaries of his son, Chiang Ching-kuo, reportedly stretch from 1939 to 1979, giving insight into the younger Chiang's terms as the nation's premier and then president.
In November 2010, Chiang Ching-kuo's granddaughter Chiang You-mei demanded the terms of Stanford's 50-year lease be renegotiated, asking for support in her cause from original signee Chiang Fang Chih-yi and other heirs to the family name.