DCSIMG

Commerce: The Republic of China

经贸-中华民国

President Roosevelt and Chinese Foreign Minister T.V. Soong purchase Chinese Resistance stamps from Postmaster General Frank Walker; the U.S. stamps marked five years of Chinese-Japanese conflict since 1937.
President Roosevelt (seated) and Chinese Foreign Minister T.V. Soong purchase Chinese Resistance stamps from Postmaster General Frank Walker; the U.S. stamps marked five years of Chinese-Japanese conflict since 1937.
Courtesy Library of Congress
President Roosevelt (seated) and Chinese Foreign Minister T.V. Soong
purchase Chinese Resistance stamps from Postmaster General
Frank Walker; the U.S. stamps marked five years of Chinese-Japanese
conflict since 1937.
Courtesy Library of Congress

Sun Yat-sen, the founding father of the Republic of China, was briefly its provisional president as head of the ruling Guomindang party. In 1927, civil war erupted between the nationalist Guomindang, under Chiang Kai-shek, and the Chinese Communist Party. Both sides united against Japan in the mid-1930s, but after World War II, they fought again. By 1949, Communists controlled China. The Guomindang retreated to Taiwan.

Commerce and the amount of mail increased between China and the U.S. from 1911 to 1949. Airmail shortened delivery times, bringing them closer together. China and America were key allies in World War II.

5c Chinese Resistance die proof, 1942
5c Chinese Resistance die proof, 1942
Loan courtesy United States Postal Service, Postmaster General’s Collection
5c Chinese Resistance die proof, 1942
Loan courtesy United States Postal Service,
Postmaster General’s Collection
The design for the 4c Sun Yat-sen stamp underwent many small changes.
The design for the 4c Sun Yat-sen stamp underwent many small changes.
The design for the 4c Sun Yat-sen
stamp underwent many small changes.
4c Sun Yat-sen die proof, 1961
4c Sun Yat-sen die proof, 1961
Loan courtesy United States Postal Service, Postmaster General’s Collection
4c Sun Yat-sen die proof, 1961
Loan courtesy United States Postal Service,
Postmaster General’s Collection
4c Sun Yat-sen lettering die proof, 1961
4c Sun Yat-sen lettering die proof, 1961
Loan courtesy United States Postal Service, Postmaster General’s Collection
4c Sun Yat-sen lettering die proof, 1961
Loan courtesy United States Postal Service,
Postmaster General’s Collection

Sun Yat-sen, founding father of the Republic of China, appears with Abraham Lincoln on a 1942 stamp. Sun Yat-sen studied and lived abroad. His Three Principles (nationalism, democracy, and people's livelihood) reflect a concept he admired from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address: "of the people, by the people, and for the people."

Sun Yat-sen on U.S. Postage Stamps »

As leaders and governments shifted during the early years of the republic before World War II, commercial and education-related exchanges increased between China and the United States. American consulates and the Chinese postal service handled the mail.

British-American Tobacco Co., Shanghai, to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture cover, 1912
British-American Tobacco Co., Shanghai, to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture cover, 1912
British-American Tobacco Co., Shanghai, to U.S. Secretary of
Agriculture cover, 1912
American Consular Service in Tianjin (Tientsin) cover, China, 1918
American Consular Service in Tianjin (Tientsin) cover, China, 1918
American Consular Service in Tianjin (Tientsin) cover, China, 1918
Nankai University, Tianjin (Tientsin), to mathematician Oswald Veblen, Princeton University cover, China, c. 1925
Nankai University, Tianjin (Tientsin), to mathematician Oswald Veblen, Princeton University cover, China, c. 1925
Nankai University, Tianjin (Tientsin), to mathematician
Oswald Veblen, Princeton University cover, China, c. 1925
Peking Red Cross Hospital in Beijing to Minnesota registered cover, China, 1927
Peking Red Cross Hospital in Beijing to Minnesota registered cover, China, 1927
Peking Red Cross Hospital in Beijing to Minnesota
registered cover, China, 1927
Bank notification 'Holding Mail' for customer postal card, China, 1928
Bank notification “Holding Mail" for customer postal card, China, 1928
Bank notification “Holding Mail" for customer postal card,
China, 1928
Bank notification 'Holding Mail' for customer postal card, China, 1928, reverse
Bank notification “Holding Mail" for customer postal card, China, 1928, reverse
Bank notification “Holding Mail" for customer postal card,
China, 1928, reverse
College of Agriculture, National Sun Yat-sen University, to New York cover, Hong Kong, 1941
College of Agriculture, National Sun Yat-sen University, to New York cover, Hong Kong, 1941
College of Agriculture, National Sun Yat-sen University, to
New York cover, Hong Kong, 1941
“Shanghai China” surcharge postal announcement, 1919
“Shanghai China” surcharge postal announcement, 1919
“Shanghai China” surcharge postal
announcement, 1919

Beginning in 1919, the U.S. Post Office sold sixteen types of stamps surcharged for use by its Shanghai postal agency. (A "surcharged" stamp is overprinted with a different value.) The surcharge was double the original face value, reflecting the price of the stamps in Chinese currency.

6c on 3c “Shanghai China” overprint block of four, 1919
6c on 3c “Shanghai China” overprint block of four, 1919
6c on 3c “Shanghai China” overprint
block of four, 1919
6c on 3c “24c on 12c “Shanghai China” overprint on registered cover, 1919
24c on 12c “Shanghai China” overprint on registered cover, 1919
Loan courtesy Al Kugel
24c on 12c “Shanghai China” overprint on registered cover, 1919
Loan courtesy Al Kugel

In 1937, Pan American's round-trip flights from the U.S. to the Asian mainland and back closed the final aerial gap in world airmail service. From Hong Kong, the China National Aviation Corporation provided service to 21 Chinese cities. Pan Am held a 45 percent stake in CNAC, an early U.S.-Chinese collaboration.

25c China Clipper approved die proof, 1935
25c China Clipper approved die proof, 1935
25c China Clipper approved die proof, 1935
Round the World via Hong Kong first flight cover to U.S. Postmaster General, Netherlands, Straits Settlements, Brazil, 1937
Round the World via Hong Kong first flight cover to U.S. Postmaster General, Netherlands, Straits Settlements, Brazil, 1937
Loan courtesy United States Postal Service, Postmaster General’s Collection
Round the World via Hong Kong first flight cover to U.S. Postmaster
General, Netherlands, Straits Settlements, Brazil, 1937
Loan courtesy United States Postal Service, Postmaster General’s
Collection
China to United States first flight cover to Juan Trippe (Pan American), China, 1937
China to United States first flight cover to Juan Trippe (Pan American), China, 1937
China to United States first flight cover to Juan Trippe (Pan American),
China, 1937
Emperor Henry Puyi on postcard, Manchukuo, 1934
Emperor Henry Puyi on postcard, Manchukuo, 1934
Emperor Henry Puyi on postcard, Manchukuo, 1934

In the 1930s, Japan occupied Taiwan and northern China, setting up a puppet government in 1932 in Manchuria, which it renamed Manchukuo. War broke out with China in 1937 as Japan continued to advance. Chinese forces evacuated Japanese-occupied Shanghai, where U.S. Marines remained in the foreign sector.

U.S. Marines during Shanghai evacuation, “no postage available” cover, 1937
U.S. Marines during Shanghai evacuation, “no postage available” cover, 1937
U.S. Marines during Shanghai evacuation, “no postage available” cover, 1937
Occupied Formosa (Taiwan) cover, Japan, 1931
Occupied Formosa (Taiwan) cover, Japan, 1931
Occupied Formosa (Taiwan) cover, Japan, 1931
American Consulate in Shenyang (Mukden) cover, Manchukuo, 1933
Occupied Formosa (Taiwan) cover, Japan, 1931
American Consulate in Shenyang (Mukden) cover, Manchukuo, 1933
Anniversary of the U.S. Constitution stamp on cover, China, 1939
Anniversary of the U.S. Constitution stamp on cover, China, 1939
Anniversary of the U.S. Constitution stamp on cover, China, 1939

Joining with China as wartime allies, the United States and Great Britain gave up their extraterritorial rights, imposed by treaties a century earlier. The New Equal Treaties stamps celebrate this change. An earlier Chinese stamp honored the U.S. constitution; its Chinese map includes the former Manchuria, despite Japan's occupation.

Equal Treaties with George Washington rejected essay, China, 1945
Equal Treaties with George Washington rejected essay, China, 1945
Loan courtesy Michael Rogers
Equal Treaties with George Washington rejected
essay, China, 1945
Loan courtesy Michael Rogers
New Equal Treaties set of six on cover, China, 1945
New Equal Treaties set of six on cover, China, 1945
New Equal Treaties set of six on cover, China, 1945

With the U.S. entry into World War II in December 1941, Chinese and American cooperation intensified. Commemorative U.S. stamps recognize General Joseph "Joe" Stilwell, the senior American military commander in the China-Burma-India theater, and General Claire Chennault, whose daring pilots helped to supply Chinese troops and protected the Burma Road.

World War II with Burma Road pane, 1991
World War II with Burma Road pane, 1991
World War II with Burma Road pane, 1991
Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell first day cover, 2000
Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell first day cover, 2000
Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell first day cover, 2000
Claire Lee Chennault first day cover, 1990
Claire Lee Chennault first day cover, 1990
Claire Lee Chennault first day cover, 1990
Nanjing (Nanking) Japanese POW camp cover, 1946
Nanjing (Nanking) Japanese POW camp cover, 1946
Nanjing (Nanking) Japanese POW camp cover, 1946
Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek Headquarters in Nanjing (Nanking) during Chinese civil war cover, China, 1947
Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek Headquarters in Nanjing (Nanking) during Chinese civil war cover, China, 1947
Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek Headquarters in Nanjing (Nanking)
during Chinese civil war cover, China, 1947

Coca-Cola and China »

After World War II, civil war resumed in China. Mao Zedong's Communists defeated Chiang Kai-shek's nationalist forces, the Guomindang, on the Chinese mainland. Retreating to Taiwan, the nationalist party continued to issue stamps.

Chiang Kai-shek after retreat to Taiwan cover, China (Taiwan), 1953
Chiang Kai-shek after retreat to Taiwan cover, China (Taiwan), 1953
Chiang Kai-shek after retreat to Taiwan cover, China (Taiwan), 1953
Chiang Kai-shek autographed imperforate block of eight, China (Taiwan), 1952
Chiang Kai-shek autographed imperforate block of eight, China (Taiwan), 1952
Chiang Kai-shek autographed imperforate
block of eight, China (Taiwan), 1952
Madame Chiang Kai-shek cover, China (Taiwan), 1965
Madame Chiang Kai-shek cover, China (Taiwan), 1965
Madame Chiang Kai-shek cover, China (Taiwan), 1965