Tue, Jul 09, 2002 - Page 2 News List

Chang ID change to be mulled

NAME GAME KMT lawmaker John Chang's request to have his adoptive parents' names replaced with those of his biological parents will be sent to the Ministry of the Interior

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

With his niece yesterday publicly expressing her dismay over the move, the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) said yesterday it would call a meeting later this week to discuss an application by KMT Legislator John Chang (章孝嚴) to have his birth parents' names put on his identification card.

Chang, the son of late President Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) was born out of wedlock. He has filed an application with the municipal Bureau of Civil Affairs in May to have his biological parents -- Chiang and Chang Ya-juo (章亞若), rather than his adoptive parents -- registered on his ID card.

"We'll invite officials of the Ministry of Justice and the Bureau of Civil Affairs of the Taipei City Government to discuss the legal aspects of Chang's application," said a MOI official who preferred to remain anonymous.

Chang said last week that his application is basically a family matter.

"I made the decision after extensive discussion with my family. The change would represent a respect for history, a return to the facts a realization of my parents' wishes," he said, adding that he would not like to see the matter turn into a legal dispute.

Meanwhile, Chang Yu-chu (章友菊), daughter of Winston Chang, the lawmaker's late twin brother, yesterday wrote to the China Times (中國時報) expressing her dismay at her uncle's intentions.

"Personally, KMT lawmaker John Chang's words bother me very much, as he claims that he has consulted the family of his twin brother [on the matter]," he said, hinting that the legislator had not in fact discussed the matter with her and her family

"I don't want to see my father's name be continuously used as a tool," she said.

"Neither do I want to support him [the lawmaker] foolishly without having a chance to express my own opinion," she added.

On his application, Chang, a former foreign minister and secretary-general to the president during the KMT era, also insisted on retaining his mother's surname.

The request puts the municipal bureau in a legal quandary, as household registration rules require children to carry their father's family name. The bureau has forwarded the case to Ministry of the Interior.

John and Winston, were born in Gueilin, Guangxi Province, in 1941 and raised by their maternal grandmother after their mother died. At present, the parents listed on Chang's ID card are his uncle, Chang Hau-juo (章浩若) and his wife, Chi Chen (紀琛).

A MOI official said Chang's application involves three legal issues -- Chang must prove his blood relations with Chang Ya-juo as well as produce evidence showing that his birth father, Chiang Ching-kuo, had reared him and that Chiang had agreed to his use of his mother's surname.

The official said generally, there are two ways to prove blood ties -- a birth certificate or a DNA test. "But neither is feasible in Chang's case," he noted.

Chang, the only surviving son of the late president, said he had not discussed his plans with the late president's Russian-born wife, Chang Fang-liang.

"I don't want to disturb her peaceful life," Chang said, adding that he doesn't think that correcting the names of the parents identified on his ID card requires the consent of the Chiang family.

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