The national flag of the Republic of China circa.

Sub-collection: China

Republic of China - Embassy Flag - Washington DC, 1928-1979

This woolen Republic of China national flag is marked on the top and bottom of the obverse and reverse to read 'Chinese Embassy, Washington D.C.'. This would date this flag to somewhere in the 49 year period from 1928 to 1979, when the United States maintained full diplomatic relations with the government of the Republic of China and this flag is thus representative of the complex and multi-faceted relationship between the United States and the People's Republic of China (PRC); being neither allies nor enemies.

The Republic of China (ROC) was established in 1912, replacing the Qing Dynasty and ending over two thousand years of imperial rule in China. It is now the oldest surviving republic in East Asia (where it continues to exist on the island of Taiwan). The Republic of China on mainland China went through the struggles of warlordism, a Japanese invasion during World War II and ultimately a civil war between the Kuomintang (KMT = Chinese Nationalists) and the Communists.

The KMT forces defeated the warlords and unified China in 1928. Their flag, the "Blue Sky, White Sun, Whole Field Red" flag designed by Lu Hao-tung in 1895, became the new national flag and naval ensign.

Following the Communist victory on the mainland in 1949, two million Nationalists fled to Taiwan and established a new government using the 1946 constitution, and claimed sovereignty over all of China.

For 30 years after its founding, the United States did not formally recognize the PRC. Instead, it maintained diplomatic relations with the ROC government on Taiwan, and recognized the ROC as the sole legitimate government of all China.
The American embassy followed the ROC government headed by Chiang Kai-shek to Taipei; and the ROC continued to occupy the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC; and U.S. consular officials remained in mainland China. However, the new PRC Government was hostile to this official American presence, and all U.S. personnel were withdrawn from the mainland in early 1950; any remaining hope of normalizing relations ended when the U.S. and PRC's forces fought directly against each other in the Korean War.

On Taiwan, in the 1950s and 1960s, the KMT went through wide restructuring aimed at decreasing corruption and implementing land reform. There followed a period of great economic growth and the Republic of China became, along with Singapore, Hong Kong, and South Korea one of the four 'Asian Tigers'.

During the Cold War, the United States did not recognize the government of the PRC and continued to work to prevent the PRC from taking ROC's seat in the United Nations and encouraged its allies not to deal with the PRC. Despite this official non-recognition, beginning in 1954 and continuing until 1970, the United States and the People's Republic of China held secret meetings at the ambassadorial level, often in Europe.

Both the PRC and the U.S. had issued feelers to try to improve relations between the two major powers. This became a serious concern for the PRC after the Sino-Soviet border clashes of 1969. The PRC was diplomatically isolated and the leadership came to believe that improved relations with the United States would be a useful counterbalance to the Soviet threat.

Through the issue of a Joint Communiqué on the first of January 1979, the United States formally re-established diplomatic relations with Beijing. The US continued to reiterate that although there was full recognition of the Chinese position, there was only one China and that Taiwan is a part of China; as per a previous communiqué. Beijing, in turn, accepted that the United States would continue to have commercial and cultural ties to Taiwan and the domestic law of the United States was accordingly altered to permit such 'unofficial' relations to exist.

The new U.S. policies were outlined in the Taiwan Relations Act; wherein the United States does not formally recognize the Republic of China on Taiwan, but maintains ties through other means.

In turn the U.S. handed over the responsibilities of its embassy in Taipei to a new non-governmental agency called the 'American Institute in Taiwan' which allows the U.S. president and Congress to take appropriate action against aggression towards Taiwan.

This flag bears no other markings; but bears all the hallmarks of a flag made in the United States prior to WWII: the use of wool bunting; the use of cotton appliqué; the use of brass grommets and a marking stamped in English. This flag represents a fascinating period in US history.

ZFC Significant Flag

• Republic of China Embassy, Washington, D.C., 1928-1945.
• Purchase by Zaricor Flag Collection, J&S Military Surplus, Moss Landing, CA., 1990s..


Republic of China (ROC), Wikipedia, 16 November 2011, from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_of_China

History of the Chinese Republic flags, Flags of the World, 16 November 2011, from:http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/cn-rpblc.html

Flag of the Republic of China, Wikipedia, 16 November 2011, from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_the_Republic_of_China

Kuomintang of China, Wikipedia, 16 November 2011, from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuomintang

United States Code Title 22 Chapter 48 Sections 3301 - 3316, Taiwan Relations Act, Taiwan Documents Project, 16 November 2011, from:

Image Credits:
Zaricor Flag Collection

Hoist & Fly

Width of Hoist 47.5
Length of Fly 72


Width of Union/Canton 23.75
Length of Union/Canton 35


Size of Hoist 0.75


Is it framed? no


Are there stars on obverse? no
Are there stars on reverse? no


Has a Blood Stripe? no


Description of Crest/Emblem Soleil in canton


Nation Represented China


Fabric Wool
Comments on Fabric Bunting


Stitching Machine
Comments on Stitching Emblem is zig zag stitched


Method of Attachment Grommets


Applique Sides Single Faced = Mirror Image Reverse


Research Documents


Condition Excellent
Displayable yes