A birth certificate purporting to show that the Republic of China’s (ROC) founding father was born in the US will be put on display tomorrow in Taipei, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) said yesterday.
The document, issued on March 14, 1904, says that Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙) was born on Oahu Island, Hawaii, on Nov. 24, 1870.
It enabled him to travel from Hawaii on April 7, 1904, to San Francisco as a US citizen while the Qing Dynasty issued a warrant for his arrest for attempting to overthrow the government.
The birth certificate, obtained from the US Immigration Office, will be a copy of the original file, said Sheila Paskman, spokesperson for the AIT, which represents US interests in Taiwan in the absence of formal diplomatic ties.
Asked whether this was the first time the document was revealed, Paskman said no and that “it has been around for a while.”
The birth certificate contradicts the generally accepted fact among historians that Sun was born on Nov. 12, 1866, in Cuiheng Village, Xiangshan County, in China’s Guangdong Province.
Many believe Sun’s friends helped him secure a fake birth certificate to facilitate his pursuit of US citizenship, which they felt was a necessary asset for Sun’s promotion of his revolutionary work in China.
Regarding the fake document controversy, Paskman said that US officials at the time held immigration hearings on Sun’s case. Documents from that hearing will also be displayed, allowing the public to judge the document’s authenticity for themselves.
The special exhibition, held to celebrate US Independence Day and the ROC’s centenary, will take place at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall from tomorrow through July 30.