Iruan Ergui Wu, who was at the center of a messy custody battle between relatives in Taiwan and Brazil a decade ago, is to arrive in Taiwan next month for a two-week visit.
Taiwan Catholic Mission Foundation executive director Austin Ou (歐晉仁) said that Wu will use his Brazilian passport for his upcoming visit to Taiwan despite also having Republic of China citizenship.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Overseas Community Affairs Council have helped arrange Wu’s upcoming trip, said Ou, who has closely followed developments in Wu’s life since he returned to Brazil in 2004.
“I believe the visit will be conducive to future Taiwan-Brazil relations,” Ou said.
The Commercial Office of Brazil in Taipei said yesterday that because the 18-year-old Iruan, also known by his Chinese name Wu Yi-hua (吳憶樺), is an adult, the Brazilian government will not interfere with his visit to Taiwan.
It added that Iruan is welcome to visit the office during his stay and that it will be happy to offer any assistance.
Ou, who has visited Iruan twice every year since he returned to Brazil, said Wu will be accompanied on his visit by his foster parents, who are Germans living in Brazil.
During his stay, Wu is to reunite with his Taiwanese relatives, whom he has not seen since 2004, when a Taiwanese court granted custody to his maternal grandmother in Brazil following the death of both of his parents.
Wu is looking forward to seeing his aunt and cousins, and reuniting with his elementary-school classmates from the few years he lived in Taiwan, Ou said.
Ou said he has offered encouragement to Wu and incentives for good grades — including this upcoming trip to Taiwan.
Wu’s father, Wu Teng-shu (吳登樹), was a fisherman from Jiading. He had his son in Brazil with a Brazilian woman, but returned to Taiwan shortly after she gave birth in May 1995.
Iruan’s grandmother Rosa Leocadia DaSilva Ergui was awarded custody of the child three years later when his mother died of cancer.
In 2001, Wu Teng-shu brought the young boy to Taiwan to visit family, but when the father died two weeks later of a heart attack, uncle Wu Huo-yen (吳火眼) decided to keep Iruan in Kaohsiung.
DaSilva Ergui later came to Taiwan to bring the boy back to Brazil, marking the beginning of lengthy court proceedings that lasted more than two years before the Taiwan High Court ruled in the grandmother’s favor.
When Iruan was taken from his uncle’s home on Feb. 10, 2004, clashes erupted as the eight-year-old’s relatives tried to stop police from entering their home.
He was later adopted by a German couple in Brazil because of his grandmother’s poor health.
Iruan’s upcoming trip to Taiwan has drawn wide attention in the Taiwanese expatriate community in Brazil, Ou said, with Taiwanese businesspeople and expatriates in Sao Paulo to host a party for him on Jan. 1 to wish him a safe trip.