Far eastern defense

14 03 2008

Taiwan stampTaiwan (Republic of China), Scott 1237, 1959, Engraved, 42mm x 24mm
In commemoration of the defense of the Republic of China’s Quemoy and Matsu islands, the two areas shown here precariously close to the mainland, we have this issue with a perspective view of the Taiwan Straits. Taiwan itself is featured prominently with the curve of the horizon looming over it ominously.

From a decade earlier, we have these stamps from the other side of the struggle.

china2-1402

East China, Scott 5L35, 1949, 31mm x 22mm
This is the aftermath of the pivotal victory of Hwai-Hai (Hwaiying and Haichow) during the Chinese Civil War, with what appears to be a map showing the order of battle along with jubilant throngs. The map is skewed, as if overlaid on the scene. The date “1949-1-10” is the date the Communist forces destroyed those of the Nationalists.

china0-1402china1-1402

East China, Scott 5L62 5L63, 1949, 32mm x 23mm
A pair of stamps showing the major cities of of Nanking and Shanghai presented without regional context, but with the year they were added to the mainland side.

I still remember how shocked I was on the occasion of Mao‘s death, because such a long-term player on the geopolitical stage had seemed immune to a normal fate like that. And now so much has changed in that corner of the world and one wonders what the key figures of that time would have thought about burgeoning capitalism (of a sort) in mainland China today.

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