As part of its Modern China Research Project, the Hoover Institution is making available for research significant materials recently added to the Hoover Library and Archives East Asian collections. Photocopies of the early diaries (covering the period 1917 to 1931) of Chiang Kai-shek, the Republic of China's first constitutional president, will be made available to researchers beginning March 31. The Hoover Institution has the diaries on loan.
In addition, the first of the microfilmed Kuomintang (KMT) records are now also available for research; they are of the Central Reform Committee, covering the period 1950–1952. The KMT is the Nationalist Party of the Republic of China.
Hoover Institution director John Raisian said, "The Hoover Institution has long been dedicated to the gathering of unique archival information related to the 20th century with respect to economic, political, and social history in the world. Today, with the opening of portions of Chiang Kai-shek's diaries, we are providing first-hand access to an important period of the generalissimo's life to interested scholars. Further, the opening of KMT records will enable researchers to conduct in-depth study of the evolution of political governance in the Republic of China."
At a special presentation today when he announced the opening of the diaries for research, Hoover senior fellow Ramon Myers commented on the historical significance of the Chiang diaries and of the Central Reform Committee, which was established by Chiang in Taiwan.
Myers said that the early Chiang diaries were copied and circulated within a small group of scholars in China. After 1950 the KMT continued to select, edit, and publish many of Chiang's diary entries. "As none of these published materials accurately represented the original diaries, now, for the first time, researchers can read the authentic diaries," Myers said.
Chiang family members deposited the handwritten diaries of Chiang Kai-shek and his son Chiang Ching-kuo, third constitutional president, at the Hoover Institution in 2005, pending the creation of a suitable repository on the territory of China. Microfilm preservation copies of the complete diaries are being made while they are on loan to Hoover.
As the Chiang's diaries are too fragile for researchers to examine, the Hoover Archives is making photocopies of the originals for researchers to examine. The diaries to be opened on March 31 cover only a small period of Chiang's career; the remainder of the diaries will be opened over the next few years. Because of the uninhibited nature of many personal comments in the diaries, family members have chosen to keep some passages private and have redacted these from user copies. Recognizing the historical significance of the diaries in their entirety, however, family members have authorized that the redacted passages be released in 2035.
The Hoover Institution has cooperated with the KMT since 2003 to preserve the official historical records of the party's archives in Taipei. As the oldest political party in Asia, the KMT acted as China's leading revolutionary party until it was defeated in 1949 by Chinese Communist Party forces and forced to relocate in Taiwan. On August 5, 1950 the KMT formally established the Central Reform Committee to create a new political organization. In October 1952 the Seventh National Congress of the Kuomintang adopted the Central Reform Committee's final reports, affirming the formation of a new Kuomintang. These records were microfilmed in Taipei. One copy was given to the Kuomintang Archives, another use copy was deposited at the Hoover Institution, and a positive microfilm master copy has been stored at the Hoover Institution.