Outstanding Diplomatic passport for Beijing - Our Passports
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  • ambassador Rudenco Teodor

Outstanding Diplomatic passport for Beijing

One of the earliest official passports used for the PRC.


Early 1950 issued passport for Beijing. Used during the Korean War and at the height of the Cold War as well.


The Peoples Republic of China was established on October 1st 1949 in Beijing, following the Communists success in the long and bitter civil war that ravaged the country after the end of World War Two.


As in all cases when a country’s independence or formation is declared, the establishing of foreign diplomatic relations is a vital step in its development. Its position in the international community is as important as its domestic gains and stability.


1949 was the year that most of the Communist bloc officially recognized and established diplomatic relations with the PRC, for example: the USSR, Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Mongolia, North Korea and Poland. Other nations followed in the 1950’s and 1960’s, with the highlight being the 1971 United Nations recognition of Beijing being the sole representative of the Chinese People.


China and the United Nations


Bucharest established diplomatic relations with Beijing following its recognition on October 5th 1949. The first Romanian ambassador to arrive to its newly opened embassy in the Chinese capital was on March 5th 1950, but the diplomatic staff began to arrive earlier.


China-Romania relations


The passport in this article is an exquisite and superb specimen relating to the formation of diplomatic ties between these two countries, and most likely one of the earliest officially issued passport to be located for use in the Far East.


Diplomatic passport number 445, which in itself is a remarkably low SN, was issued on January 5th 1950 in Bucharest to Silard Pavel (He would later become Romania’s ambassador to these following states: Japan (1959), Indonesia (1963), Iran (1967), Afghanistan (1971)) whose position is described as “embassy counselor” and can be seen as Romania’s first embassy advisor or staff officer to China. His route to Beijing started at the Romanian capital, where in order to obtain the Chinese diplomatic visa he had to first travel to Russia:

I can only presume that by early 1950 there still did not exist a Chinese consular department in Bucharest and that only after receiving the Soviet transit visa that was issued to him on January 23rd he could proceed to the Chinese embassy that was located at Moscow (entering on January 30th at Ungheni and leaving on February 16th via Otpor (now Zabaykalsk)). The extremely early and rare Chinese diplomatic visa was issued to him on February 7th: visa number 779.


I personally find interesting the term inside this visa used to describe his transiting through north eastern China, the traditionally old name for that part of the country called Dongbei.


The passport, used until 1953, is nicely visaed with several Chinese, Soviet & Romanian diplomatic visas, issued in China and abroad. Another surprise that was found inside this unique passport was the attractive and exceptionally rare Mongolian People’s Republic Diplomatic visas that can be seen on pages 25 & 35 (Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs early visa extensions done by Liu Shan (刘山 – 外交部职员) – who was chief of the consular visa department of the ministry in Beijing – 1950; pages 18-19).


The passport was extended and visaed personally by the ambassador himself, Teodor Rudenco (position from March 1950 to November 1952) – added image from his 1957 passport, during his 2nd posting as ambassador, again to Beijing (November 1957 to January 1959).


I have added images of this early Cold War Diplomatic passport for the Far East.



Thank you for reading “Our Passports”.


Neil Kaplan
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