China Republic flag
Republic of China 1912 - 1949

This part of our catalogue deals with stamps issued by the Republic of China as it existed between the end of the Empire (1911) and the establishment of the People's Republic of China in late 1949. In the early years of the Republic the country was somewhat unified, although warlords continued to control large pieces of the country particulary in the west. When Sun Yat-Sen died in 1925, the new leader, Chiang Kai Shek, fought a continual battle with the Communist Party for control of the country. In addition, Imperial Japan took advantage of the lack of central control and initially seized control of the north-east section of China commonly called Manchuria. The Japanese then installed the last emperor of China as the first emperor of the new nation of Manchukuo. From Manchukuo, Japan could easily reach and control other areas of northern China. Beijing, the Imperial capital became too dangerous for the new republican government and the capital was moved south, to Shanghai and to other cities. The Nationalist forces (Koumintang) fought against the Communist forces or with the Communist forces against the Japanese. This constant chaos continued for more than twenty years. The Koumintang under Chiang Kai Shek left China and settled on the island of Taiwan. The People's Republic of China was established on 1st October 1949.

This constant chaos was not conducive to the establishment and continuance of a national postal service. Stamps were issued and used. However stamps issued by the Nationalists were not accepted by the Communists and vica versa. With some parts of the country changing hands regularly, it must have been extremely difficult for ordinary citizens to know if their letters would be delivered. With the civil chaos came economic chaos and rampant inflation in all parts of the country. All of this is very obvious from the evidence available in postage stamps. Stamps are issued and overprinted, some overprinted again and some even three times. Values on new issues throughout the 1940s goes up and up, from 1¢ to $100,000 in less than ten years.

The chaos also means records of stamp production are not readily available for this period. Without good records it is somewhat difficult to assess the value of an issue. Without good records it is difficult to know if a proposed issue was actually put into service. Without good records, forgeries are easier to produce and more difficult to detect.

Stamps East is the online Canadian source for stamps and other philatelic items from the People's Republic of China (China, PRC), the Republic of China (Taiwan, ROC), and other stamp issuing jurisdictions in Asia particularly East Asia.