The diaries of former Republic of China (ROC) presidents Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) arrived in Taiwan on Thursday, and are to be published by Academia Historica from October, the state archives said.
The documents, previously housed at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution Library & Archives, were sent by the California research institute on a flight that landed at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport early on Thursday morning, the state archives said in a press statement later that day.
The 59 boxes of documents delivered to the state archives include the two former presidents’ diaries dated from 1917 to 1979, as well as private letters, manuscripts, telegrams, microforms, official documents and other historic materials, the archives said.
Photo courtesy of Academia Historica
These historic materials first arrived at the Hoover Institution after it signed an agreement in 2005 with Chiang Ching-kuo’s daughter-in-law Chiang Fang Chih-yi (蔣方智怡), which stipulated that the institute could curate the diaries for 50 years.
This led to years of legal wrangling over rightful ownership of the documents.
Chiang Fang and other family members began transferring ownership of the diaries to Academia Historica in 2013, making the state archives the official custodian, the archives said.
Last year, the High Court ruled that documents produced by the two former presidents while they were in office were the property of the country, while personal materials kept when they were not president belonged to the Chiang family, the archives said.
The Taiwanese court ruling was accepted in July by a court in California — which also first began hearing an ownership case brought by Stanford in 2013 — and ordered the university to return the documents to Academia Historica within 60 days, the archives said.
Academia Historica said that it plans to publish the first volume of Chiang Kai-shek’s diary — kept from 1948 to 1954 — in late October, and Chiang Ching-kuo’s diary — kept from 1970 to 1979 — toward the end of this year.
The historic documents would also be digitized for researchers.
The state archives already runs an online presidential database that covers every ROC president from Chiang Kai-shek, who took office in 1948, to Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who is to leave office after she completes her two four-year terms in May next year.
In a press release issued on Friday, the Hoover Institution announced that the handwritten diaries, including portions of the collection that were previously unavailable to the public, would remain accessible for academic purposes.
The Chiang diaries are one of the most requested items by researchers and contain decades of valuable political and foreign policy insights of Taiwan’s past leaders, the institute said.
Academics using the diaries have revised and expanded the understanding of modern China, the Cold War and global history, it said.
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