Return of Chinese prisoners of war (1954)

First Day Covers

Towards the end of the Korean War the issue of when and where to repatriate prisoners of war was a major problem. One year after the release in January 1954 from prisoner-of-war camps of Chinese troops in South Korea, Taiwan (or the “Republic of China”/ROC) issued a series of special stamps. The 1955 official Taiwan Post release for this issue stated:

During the Korean War, thousands of Chinese Communist soldiers surrendered voluntarily or were captured by United Nations troops. The principle of their voluntary repatriation was established in the ceasefire negotiations. Around 14,000 Chinese prisoners of war chose – despite communist hostility – the side of freedom, returned to the breast of the motherland, and volunteered to follow the Republic of China in the fight against communism.

Their return to Taiwan marks a unique victory in the anti-communist struggle. It clearly shows the feelings of the masses behind the Iron Curtain, and is a sign of the future success of Free China in the counter-offensive on the mainland. The day on which the former prisoners of war were given their freedom, January 23, 1954, was named “Freedom Day”.

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4 thoughts on “Return of Chinese prisoners of war (1954)

  1. In my opinion, this cover is not a real postal transmitted cover. It just a blank first day cover produced by a Taiwanese stamp dealer . Then somebody wrote a GDR address on it subsequently to make it like a real postal transmitted one for selling a higher price.

    1. Indeed it is possible what Yan Wang assumes. The cover has postage enough for airmail, but shows no airmail-sticker or mark. On the other hand: The cover is not Registered, so there was no need for a German receivers-postmark.
      And what we know: For political reasons for several long periods between 1950 and 1986 postal communication between Taiwan and East-Germany (GDR) was disconnected. This is not researched yet by philatelists, but it is possible, that during the tough times of 1955 no direct postal contact between the two countries was possible.

  2. Definitely a First Day cover with address added afterwards due incorrect German spelling and incorrect written address.
    Article on Chinese POW was very interesting as was not aware of some facts.

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