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Former Taiwan president Chiang Ching-kuo's diaries to be made public

Stanford University's Hoover Institute will make diaries public early next year despite ongoing legal disputes

Chiang Ching-kuo (left) and Chiang Kai-shek. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Chiang Ching-kuo (left) and Chiang Kai-shek. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Stanford University’s Hoover Institute on Friday (Nov. 1) said that the private diaries of former Taiwanese president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) will be made available to the public in February 2020.

The diaries of the eldest and only biological son of former president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣中正), which are being held by the Hoover Archives, record his experiences from 1937-1979. The entries written between 1937 to 1940 and 1945 to 1949 (not including 1948's, which were lost) are transcripts, while the rest are handwritten originals, according to Up Media.

Chiang served as president of Taiwan from 1978 until his death in 1988. His tenure, while authoritarian, saw Taiwan become more open and tolerant of political dissent, with government controls on media and speech being relaxed.

According to Lin Hsiao-ting (林孝庭), director of the Hoover Archives’ East Asia Department, Chiang’s diaries reflect Taiwan’s political history after 1949, the report said. The most prominent event depicted in the diaries is the Kuomintang (KMT) government's retreat to Taiwan from China to Taiwan that year.

Chiang undertook a number of sensitive and confidential tasks under his father’s command, including major defense and foreign policy decisions. The diaries are a source for research into major events such as Taiwan's withdrawal from the UN and the fallout between China and the US, says Lin.

Lin noted that the ownership of Chiang’s diaries has been an ongoing dispute. Thus, he has worried that making the contents of the diaries public might influence legal proceedings.

However, with the cooperation of Stanford University, Taipei’s Academia Historica, and Chiang’s son Chiang Hsiao-yen (蔣孝嚴) and granddaughter Chiang Yo-mei (蔣友梅), the agreement to make the diaries public was reached this summer.

The parties agreed to disclose the contents of the journals in the name of academic freedom. The litigation process to clarify ownership continues, and the Hoover Institute says it will respect the judgment of the Taipei District Court, reported Up Media.

The Hoover Institute will hold a public sneak preview of Chiang’s diaries on Dec. 17. They will be available public viewing in their entirety at the Hoover Archives’ Reading Room, which will open next year.

Updated : 2021-10-26 21:10 GMT+08:00