Post-WW2 occupation zone in China
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Post-WW2 occupation zone in China


The area of Luda (Dalian), Guandong, is probably the most fascinating and historically important post World War Two zones in China. Following the Red Army’s advance into North East China in September of 1945, where they liberated what was up to then the Manchurian Empire State, the area now was under their influence and their presence.


This region was under Russian control from August 1945 until May 1950: Though politically run by the Chinese Communist party, financial, military and external issues where controlled by the Soviets. They even formed a separate banking and postal system for this region: specially designed Soviet banknotes poured into the city and special postal stamps where issued and used internally and for letters being sent outside. This was a separate governed area, known as Guandong Zone, or in Chinese as 关东区.


Here is a rare and important travel document, though not purely Chinese but also not a solely Soviet issued one as well. In fact, it was a jointly-issued-used travel document that was given to those who wanted to travel outside the zone and into mainland China: front is in Chinese, the back is in Russian.


The document was issued to 31 year old Zhang Zhenggui from Shandong peninsula. It states that the purpose of the trip was trade. Document is numbered as HAIKOU 1031, dating July 8th, 1948. Period of use is from July to September 8th only. It was issued and hand applied with chops. The document was printed under Soviet supervision, we can tell this by their special printing code that was applied to all official papers that came out of this zone during those years: Soviet printing imprint Ec50008301 is found at the bottom, similar code is also found at the back of the identity documents that were issued as well: Ec 00001. One figure who ‘signed’ it was named Zhou Guang 周光  (1912 – 1977), his position is indicated as director-general of the Guandong Public Security (main) Administration bureau (office).


Some basic background on this important Chinese figure:


Zhou Guang originally came from Henan province, he joined the Chinese Communist Youth League in 1928, then formally joining the Chinese Communist party in 1930, the same year he entered the Red Army. Following the formation of the PRC in 1949, he held various high positions in the North East, such as: Mayor to Luda city, Changchun city (formally the capital of the Japanese puppet state of Manchuria – Xinjing 新京), deputy governor of Jilin province and more.

Between 1947 and 1948 he served as high ranking official of the public security bureau for the Luda Zone (Dalian city) and assisted in easing the hardships of the Nationalist applied economical blockade of the region. Later he formed the Dalian Police Academy and contributed to its guidelines and teachings after 1949 as well.


The document has numerous water-patrol exit/entry stamps from July 14th, September 4th and October 17th, past the official validity date for this travel document. The first 2 earlier stamps are most likely exiting and entering, where as the third stamp reads as “permitted”. I assume he was permitted to exit and there is no re-entry stamp later on, though other smaller Chinese inspection stamps at the bottom exist. I may think he left and did not return back, maybe even returning to his home.


One can see this zone as another post-war Soviet zone as those we find in Europe after 1945. What makes this unique and important is that it is most likely the ONLY such zone outside Europe that was established and controlled by the Soviet Red Army.


Enjoy the images.




Thank you for reading “Our Passports”.


Neil Kaplan
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