Sat, Dec 14, 2002 - Page 4 News List

John Chang gets new identity

RECOGNITION After years of claiming that he really is Chiang Ching-kuo's illegitmate child, the KMT stalwart can finally prove to everyone that he is who he says he is

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Sixty-one years after his birth, KMT Legislator John Chang (章孝嚴) is finally able to tell the world who his real father is, loud and clear.

With his wife Helen Huang (黃美倫) at his side, a joyful Chang yesterday displayed a new ID card to the press that shows late president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) and his mistress Chang Ya-juo (章亞若) were Chang's biological parents.

"It is their wish that I be included in the family's official record of lineage," he said, his shaking hand holding the ID.

"I believe they share my joy and pride in heaven at this very moment," he said.

Born out of wedlock, Chang and his twin brother Winston (章孝慈), who died in 1996, had to carry their mother's last name.

Before authorities issued Chang the new ID Thursday, his maternal uncle Chang Hau-juo (章浩若) and his wife, Chi Chen (季琛), were listed as his parents.

"I will continue to use my last name in commemoration of my mother who died soon after I was born," the lawmaker said, sobbing.

John Chang's parents met in Jiangxi Province where Chiang, already married, acted as a military instructor.

Over the years, some have attributed Chang Ya-juo's early death to foul play.

Though he would not openly admit it, John Chang apparently feels ambivalent toward the Chiang family, whose surviving members to this day refuse to recognize him as kin.

Because of their illegitimate status, the twin Chang brothers did not enjoy the same comfort and luxury afforded the Chiang clan when their father and grandfather, Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), ruled Taiwan.

"My heart grew heavy every time when people asked me who my parents were," Chang said. "Now I can speak their names out loud."

It was not an easy task to redress the lawmaker's longstanding regret, however.

To prove that Chi was not his birth mother, he flew to the US last year to collect hair samples from his aunt for a DNA test.

Earlier, Chang had secured a written declaration from Chi's two sons in China saying that Chang was not their brother, but had been raised by Chi following the death of his own mother.

Retired general Wang Sheng (王昇), who helped support the twin brothers at the request of Chiang Ching-kuo, also supplied a written document to vouch for the father-son relationship between Chiang and the brothers.

In addition, Chang was able to get his birth documents from the hospital in Guangxi Province where he was born.

"I will tell Chiang ancestors of my identity when I visit the Chiang shrine in Zehjiang Province next Tomb Sweeping Day," he said.

After the Communist Party rose to power in China, seven-year-old Chang and his brother came to Taiwan with their maternal uncle and grandmother.

The family settled in Hsinchu County, where the twin brothers completed high school.

Despite his distinguished political career, Chang has sought unsuccessfully to meet with Mayling Soong (宋美齡), Chiang Kai-shek's widow.

Before winning a legislative seat last year, he worked as a foreign minister, vice premier, KMT secretary-general and presidential secretary-general.

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