Sun, Jul 14, 2002 - Page 2 News List

Chang faces legal nightmare in struggle to put the Chiang name on his ID card

By Jimmy Chuang and Tsai Ting-I  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Chang Ya-juo, believed to be John Chang's biological mother. Many suspect that Chang Ya-juo was poisoned by Chiang Kai-shek.

PHOTO: FROM THE BOOK ``CHIANG CHING-KUO AND CHANG YA-JUO' BY CHO

KMT Legislator John Chang (章孝嚴) will have to overcome seemingly insurmountable legal hurdles to amend the names of his parents on his identification card.

On Friday, the Ministry of the Interior spelled out the problems he would face in recording former president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) and his mistress, Chang Ya-juo (章亞若), as his biological parents.

John Chang and his twin brother, Winston Chang (章孝慈), were born in Gueilin, Guangxi Province, in 1941.

Household registrations for illegitimate children in Taiwan usually list only the biological mother, leaving the space for the father blank.

But on John Chang's household registration, Chang's uncle, Chang Hau-juo (章浩若), and his wife, Chi Chen (紀琛), are listed as his parents.

To change this, the ministry said, Chang would have to prove two things: that Chang Hau-juo and Chi Chen are not his biological parents; and that Chiang and Chang Ya-juo were indeed his biological parents.

"To erase the current listed parents' names, Chang has to prove in court that the household registration was forged and that the current listed parents are not his biological parents," said Vice Minister of the Interior Chien Tai-lang (簡太郎).

According to the Household Registration Law (戶籍法), a child's listed parents on the household registration should be their birth parents or adopted parents, which would require the existence of an adoption certificate.

To prove who his biological parents are, Chang would have to provide a birth certificate or DNA tests, the ministry said.

Both couples are dead, but Chang said that the sons of Chang Hau-juo and Chi Chen in China would be able to prove that he doesn't have any blood relations with them.

He also said he would try to contact the hospital in Gueilin where he was born to get his birth certificate.

Nevertheless, a judge told the Taipei Times that John Chang could get the names changed if he could prove that he had been `adopted' by Chiang, although this would prove nothing about who his real father is.

According to Article 1065 of the Civil Code, a child born out of wedlock who has been acknowledged by the natural father is deemed to be `legitimate.' If the child has been maintained by the natural father, acknowledgement is deemed to have been established.

"By law, if an illegitimate child wants to become a `legitimate' child, he or she must complete the legal process of adoption. The law also requires the natural father of the illegitimate child to accompany the child through the process, including filing an adoption application and attending a civil trial."

According to the judge, the biggest problem for John Chang is that Chang Hau-juo, his registered biological father, is not alive to "accompany" him through the process. He would also have difficulty proving that Chiang had raised him and treated him like a son.

However, if he succeeds, it seems he will be able to keep the family name has been using.

Under the Article 1059 of the Civil Code, children assume the surname of the father, unless he has agreed that the child shall assume the mother's surname, and only then if the mother does not have any brothers.

However, the ministry decided on Friday that the Civil Code does not apply to illegitimate or adopted children.

"This article does not state either way that adopted children have to take the name of the mother or the father," a civil judge at the Taipei District Court (台北地方法院), who wished to remain anonymous, told the Taipei Times. "As a result, Chang will not have a problem with this."

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