(T’AI - WAN)





The Emblem

The Seal

The President



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After a short rule of the Dutch V.O.C. on Taiwan  (1643-1661), the Qing Dynasty ruled Taiwan as a prefecture from 1683. In 1875 this prefecture was divided into a North and a South prefecture. In 1885, the island was made into a separate Chinese province. As a result of the 1894-95 First Sino-Japanese War, China had to cede Taiwan and Penghu to Japan by Treaty of Shimonoseki of 17 April 1895. Japan would rule the island for 50 years until its defeat in World War II.

In 1942, after the United States had entered in the war against Japan and on the side of China, the KMT Chinese government renounced all treaties signed with Japan before that date and made Taiwan’s return to China (as with Manchuria) one of the objectives of the war. In the Cairo Declaration of 1943, the Allied Powers declared the return of Taiwan to China to be one of several Allied demands. In 1945, Japan unconditionally surrendered and ended its rule in Taiwan. The territory was put under the administrative control of the Republic of China government in 1945 by the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. By Art. 2 of the San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1951, the Japanese also formally renounced the territorial sovereignty of Taiwan and Penghu islands. This was confirmed in the Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty signed by the Republic of China and Japan on April 28, 1952 in Taipei and ratified on August 5.


The Republic of China is a continuation of the chinese republic founded when the emperor of China was deposed on 12 December 1912. After a period of unrest a second republic was founded in 1928 by Sun Yat-sen’s Kuomintang which had its capital in Beijing (Peking). The same year a communist people’s army was founded to overthrow the Kuomintang government. In 1930 the  People’s Army under the command of Mao tse Tung had occupied territories in the south-western provinces of Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi and Fujian. After a counter offensive of the nationalist government they had to retire from Jiangxi. After the Long March the settled in Shaanxi. 

AS a reult of the Long March in 1947-’49, the People’s Army occupied the whole of the Chinese continent and the Nationalist Republican Governement of Chiang Kai-shek had to retire to the isle of Taiwan where it continued the Republic of China. Its capital is Taipei.




A set of national symbols was designed in 1928 and is still in use by the Republic of China/Taiwan governement.


A national flag for the Republic of China was adopted on 8 October 1928. It shows a red field with a blue canton charged with a twelve rayed white sun.

The “Blue Sky with a White Sun” flag was originally designed by Lu Hao-tung, a “martyr” of the Republican revolution. He presented his design to represent the revolutionary army at the inauguration of the Society for Regenerating China, an anti-Qing society in Hong Kong, on February 21, 1895. In 1905, Sun Yat-sen added a red field to the design to create what would become the current flag of the Republic of China. According to George Yeo, the Foreign Minister of Singapore, in those days the flag was sewn in the Sun Yat Sen Villa or Wan Qing Yuan in Singapore by Teo Eng Hock and his wife.

In 1912 this flag had been propagated by Sun Yat-sen to be the flag of the Republic but a different flag was preferred. The white sun on a blue field then became the flag of the commanding officers of the navy. For the different ranks a red device was added.

The flag was confirmed for the Republic of China in the Constitution of the Republic of China, Adopted by the National Constituent Assembly on 25 December 1946, promulgated by the National Government on 1 January 1947, effectuated on 25 December 1947.


Chapter I General provisions, Art. 6 reads:


“The national flag of the Republic of China shall show a red field with a blue sky and a white sun in the upper left corner.”


The 12 points of the White Sun in the emblem represent the the twelve months and the twelve traditional Chinese hours (shíchen), each of which corresponds to two modern hours (xiǎoshí, literally meaning: “small shi”) Together they symbolize the spirit of unceasing progress.

The three colors of blue, white and crimson represent collectively the three principles of the people:

  • Blue - Equality, justice and Min Chuan (democracy).
  • White - Fraternity, frankness, and Min Sheng (people’s livelihood).
  • Crimson - Liberty, sacrifice and Min Tsu (nationalism).


The Blue Sky with a White Sun of the canton serves as the design for the national emblem of the Republic of China (ROC), the naval jack of the ROC Navy, and as the party flag and emblem of the Kuomintang (KMT).


The Emblem


The circular emblem of the Republic of China was adopted 17 December 1928. It consists of a blue disc charged with the white 12-rayed sun. This came on the embassies and consulates, on passports, stamps and seals and was also on the emblems of the National Armed Forces. The earliest version was also printed on coins.


Æ See illustration in the head of this essay


1 cent piece 1936-‘40

12-rayed sun, name of the country (Chung Hua Min Kuo), date.


Stamps of Embassies and Consulates

National emblem and name of the office in Chinese and Latin script


The Seal


The Republic of China (Taiwan) has two types of national seals, the Seal of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Seal of Honor. According to the Seal Statute, the legislative speaker bestows the Seal of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Seal of Honor to the new president during the inauguration ceremony to symbolize the transition of power and political authority from the old government to the new government.

The Seal of the Republic of China (Taiwan) is used to authenticate the president's approval of official documents, including the ratification of treaties with foreign governments and other diplomatic papers.

The Seal of Honor is used by the president to stamp certificates of national decorations as well as documents honoring specific persons.[1]


The Seal of the Republic of China (Taiwan)


The Seal of the Republic of China (Taiwan) is the official seal of the state. It is used to authenticate credentials, acts of ratification, acts of acceptance, exequaturs, consular commissions, etc. It was made by the National Government after it achieved national unification in the wake of the Northward Expedition, and was first used on October 10, 1929.

Made of emerald jade, the seal weighs 3.2 kilograms and has a height of 10 cm, 4.3 cm being the height of the body and 5.7 cm being that of the handle. The surface of the seal  measures 13.3 Í 13.3 cm.


The Seal of Honor



The Seal of Honor is the official seal with which the head of state confers honors and decorations. It is used for stamping medal certificates, citations, commendatory plaques, and other such items.

This seal was made by the National Government after it achieved national unification following the Northward Expedition, and was first used on July 1, 1931.

Made of sheep’s suet white jade, the seal weighs 4.3 kilograms and stands 11.1 cm in height, 4.6 cm being the height of the body and 6.5 cm being that of the handle. The face of the seal is 13.6 cm square.

Because the seal is made of such a highly precious, rarely found material, and because the size of its face is bigger than those of ordinary seals, special care must be taken in using it so that its body will not be damaged and the color of the imprints will be even. The steps of using are to fix the seal in a face-up setting, cover the face of the seal with cinnabar oil ink, fix the document sheet for marking face down, and apply pressure evenly on the back of the sheet. The whole process is something like making a rubbing


The President


President’s Flag

Vice President’s Flag


The Office of the President


Office of the President’s Emblem


The emblem of the Office of the President consists of the National Flower surrounded by a garland of ears of rice.


National Flower



The plum blossom, Prunus mei, was officially designated by the Executive Yuan of the Central Government to be the national flower on July 21, 1964. The plum blossom, which produces shades of pink and white and gives off a delicate fragrance, has great symbolic value for the Chinese people because of its resilence in harsh winter weather. The triple grouping of stamens (one long and two short) represents Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Three Principles of the People, while the five petals symbolize the five branches of the ROC government.


The plum blossom was introduced in the early yars of the R.O.C. when it became a part of the emblems on the uniforms of the high ranking military commanders. Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek himself wore a gala-uniform of which the collar and sleeves were decorated with branches of the flowering plum tree. His belt was closed with a buckle showing a plum blossom. This can be seen on a portrait of him, probably from his early years as a chairman of the National Military Council of the R.O.C. (1928-’48).

Also, the cap badge of the General officers consisted of the national emblem surrounded by branches of a flowering plum tree.

Army General officers  cap badge

1 Yuan, 1960-‘80


In 1960 the plum blossom was placed on a 1-yuan coin and today, surrounded by ears of rice, it is the emblem of the Office of the President. Versions of the emblem are on the pulpit of the Office of the President.


Armed Forces


Ministry of National Defence Emblem

Flag of the Minister of Defence (ancient)



Ministry and Minister of National Defence Flag


* For the rank flags of the other officials of the Ministry of National Defence:

Military Police Command




Army Command Emblem


Cap Badge

National Cockade for all ranks of Army and Air Force

For the higer ranks surrounded by a garland of flowering  plum tree branches




Navy Command Emblem


The cap badge a foul anchor per pale, crested with the twelve-rayed sun and surrounded by a garland of leaves and ears of rice.


Mariner Corps


Mariner Corps Emblem


The cap badge the emblem, surrounded by a garland of leaves and ears of rice.


Air Force


Air Force Command Emblem


ROC Air Force Officers cap badge

ROC Air Force Roundel

ROC Air Force NCO’s cap badge


Pilot’s wings




National Security Agency Emblem


Coast Guard Emblem



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© Hubert de Vries 2012-01-19


[1] Source: Government of R.O.C. website