Two brothers living in New Taipei City have won a court case based on DNA evidence confirming their bloodline to a grandfather who falsified documents to prevent their father from forced conscription by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) forces during the Chinese Civil War.
In a dispute over inheritance and properties, two brothers, surnamed Chang (張), claimed to be the grandchildren of a former Chinese official, despite documentation showing that their father was not the man’s son.
The Changs’ uncle and aunt were the defendants in the case.
After testimonies and a review of the evidence, the New Taipei City District Court ruled that the brothers were directly descended from the grandfather.
The Chang brothers said that they had lived in the same house as their grandfather, and had family photos to prove it.
The brothers spoke on Wednesday about their grandfather, who was a county councilor in China’s Laiyang County in Shandong Province, who had three sons and four daughters.
During the Chinese Civil War, Shangdong Province came under KMT control, and military officers went to towns and villages to force young men into the army, the younger Chang said.
“Most taken were villagers and people with no connections. To prevent my father from being forced into conscription, my grandfather made changes to the household registration records, altering my father’s identity details, including his parents’ names and stating that he was an only son,” he said.
If a family had one son, he was exempt from military service, Chang said, adding that the local government was poorly supervised and record-keeping was not thorough.
The Chinese Civil War ended when Mao Zedong’s (毛澤東) army defeated Chiang Kai-shek’s (蔣介石) KMT troops, who fled to Taiwan in 1949. Mao proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China on Oct. 1 that year.
“Due to his position as a councilor, my grandfather escaped to Taiwan, along with the retreating KMT officials and their defeated troops. He could only bring one son with him, and that was my father,” the younger Chang said.
At that time, with hostilities continuing, Chang said his grandfather was afraid Taiwan would also fall to the Chinese communists.
“My grandfather did not want his KMT connection to place my father in jeopardy, and so, even when living in Taiwan, they maintained the lie,” he said.
Chang said according to the household registration documents, there was no blood link between his father and his grandfather, but they were father and son.
“Throughout that time, grandfather took good care of my father and raised him adulthood,” he said.
After both their grandfather and father passed away, the Changs said they had issues claiming their inheritance because of the incorrect information on their father’s documents.
And so, with a lawyer as witness, the grandfather’s remains were exhumed for DNA sampling, the results of which showed the brothers had a 99.99 percent probability of being directly descended from the grandfather.
The ruling can be appealed.