Stanford Sues Chiang Kai-Shek’s Kin Over Diary Ownership
By Karen Gullo - Sep 24, 2013 12:01 AM ET
Sept. 24 (Bloomberg) -– Stanford University, holder of one of the largest collections related to the Chinese Nationalist Party, sued Chiang Kai-shek’s descendants to resolve competing claims for ownership of the party leader’s personal diaries, which were loaned to the university in 2004.
Stanford’s board of trustees seeks a court order shielding the school from lawsuits over the papers and requiring the descendants to “litigate amongst themselves his or her rights or claims” to the diaries, according to a complaint filed in federal court in San Jose, California.
Stanford’s Hoover Institution was loaned the papers, consisting of 51 boxes of materials with hundreds of thousands of pages, by the daughter-in-law of Chiang Ching-kuo, Chiang Kai-shek’s son. Since then, the school has received claims of ownership by several of Ching-kuo’s grandchildren and other relatives in Taiwan, as well as differing instructions regarding the handling of the papers, Mark Litvack, an attorney for Stanford, said in the complaint.
“Plaintiff is ready, willing and able to return” the papers “to the person(s) or entity(ies) legally entitled to it or parts of it, but under the circumstances, plaintiff does not know and cannot determine to whom the” documents should be delivered, according to the complaint.
Taiwan has been ruled separately since Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang party fled the mainland in 1949 after a civil war against Mao Zedong’s Communists. The Communist Party still deems Taiwan a renegade province that must be unified with China, by force if necessary. Chiang Kai-shek died in 1975.
The case is The Board of Trustees for the Leland Stanford Junior University v. Chiang Fang Chi-yi, 13-cv-04383, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).
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