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Foreign colonies in China

Last modified: 2023-07-03 by
Keywords: china | liu kung tau | weihaiwei | port arthur | tsingtao | tsing-tao |
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Ensign of the Administrator of Liu Kung Tau

ensign of Liu Kung Tau administrator]
Jaume Ollé

The ensign was used by the administrator of Liu Kung Tau in the early years of the 20th century.
Željko Heimer

The flag was probably used from 1899-1902.

1898. Leased to Britain by China for 25 years. Consisted of the island of LiuKung, a strip ten miles broad along the whole coastline of WeiHaiWei Bay, and a sphere of influence covering 1500 square miles in Shantung province. The barracks and fortifications were at the time occupied by Japan who handed them over to Britain, when the China paid an indemnity with money given by Britain. Administered by Senior Naval Officer of Royal Navy.

1899. Administration transferred to a military and civil commissioner appointed by the War Office. Garrison consisted of 200 British troops and a specially constituted Chinese Regiment with British officers.

1901. Decision that the base should not be fortified and administration transferred to Colonial Office.

1902. Civil Commissioner appointed.

1903. Chinese Regiment disbanded.

1905. Russia left Port Arthur and under the terms of the lease WeiHaiWei should have reverted to China. At the request of Japan, and because Germany was occupying KiaoChow, Britain re-negotiated the lease.

1930. Administration returned to China but Britain continued to use facilities on loan for ten years.

It is unlikely that the LKT badge ever appeared on a Blue Ensign. Any shipping needed during the military administration would have been supplied by the Royal Navy.

It seems reasonable to assume that the WeiHaiWei badge replaced the LiuKungTau badge when the Civil Commissioner was appointed. The amendment inserting the LKT badge into the Admiralty Flag Book was dated November 1899 and the WHW amendment, February 1904. These are amendment dates not approval/adoption dates.

This gives dates of 1903-1930 for the WHW badge, UJ and BE. The one bird is a Mandarin Duck, the other appears to be a small goose of some sort.
David Prothero, 2 January 2000

Weihaiwei Territory

[Weihaiwei colonial flag]
by Blas Delgado Ortiz

Colonial badge

Weihaiwei was a British lease territory in Northeast China. It was a rather obscure, and therefore interesting territory. The colonial badge of Weihaiwei shows a duck, presumably a specific species indigenous to that area.
John Fetzer, 16 February 1996

This badge is also mentioned in those HMSO books I have right now, although there's a footnote saying that the badge is "obsolete since 30th September, 1930." There are two birds, one of which looks like a duck but another which looks different -- it's white with blue throat, red beak, green top, and some other brown markings.
Dipesh Navsaria, 16 February 1996

According to Webster's New Geographical Dictionary (1988) Weihai or Weihaiwei is a seaport in Shantung province, northeast China at the eastern end of peninsula on the north coast, 40 miles east of Chefoo and on southern shore of the Strait of Pohai; a naval base, ship-repairing center, fishing port; good harbor protected by Liu-Kung Island. History: Chinese fleet destroyed here by Japanese 1895 and port occupied by Japanese 1895-98; leased to Great Britain 1898 and used as a naval base; returned to China 1930; occupied by Japanese 1938-1945; occupied by Communist naval forces 1949.

Liu Kung Tau was part of the lease of Weihaiwei.
Jarig Bakker, 30 December 1999


The ducks depicted are Mandarin ducks (Aix galericulata) with the male in the foreground and the female partly obscured. These ducks were endemic to China but their population was severely threatened. They were imported to the UK and through a combination of escapes and releases, there is a thriving population in southern England.

The species has been 'rediscovered' at some unknown sites in China and the wild population is no longer thought to be endangered. It is slightly ironic that Britain borrowed a Chinese port and then a Chinese duck was given loan of the New Forest area.
Ian Peters, 10 August 2003


In 1900's it was a former German Territory. In 1918 it was transferred to Japan and in 1945 transferred to China.
Jaume Ollé, 14 November 1999

My 'Allers Illustrerede Konversations-Leksikon' says: Leased in 1898 to Germany for 99 years. Kiautschou is the territory, Tsingtau is the main town.
Ole Anderson, 20 November 1999

Tsingto (German: Tsingtau) was the capital city and the port of the former German territory of Kiautschou (Jiaozhou) in China.

There wasn't neither any coat of arms, nor a flag for this territory. The only flag used in the territory was the service flag of the governor of Kiautschou. It was horizontally black-white-red with the Imperial eagle without crown in the middle of the white stripe. This flag wasn't specific to Kiautschou as it was also the service flag of the governor of East-Africa. Of course, in all German colonies were used military colours as well as the Imperial war flag.

Source: - Schurdel, Harry D., Flaggen und Wappen Deutschland, Augsburg, Battenberg, 1995, pp.229-230.
Pascal Vagnat, 19 November 1999

The city that was spelled Tsing-Tao in the old Wade-Giles system is now Qingdao.

Port Arthur

In 1900's it was a former Russian Territory. In 1905 it was transferred to Japan and in 1945 transferred to China.
Jaume Ollé, 14 November 1999

My 'Allers Illustrerede Konversations-Leksikon' says: Chinese until 1894, when Japan took over. Retroceded in 1895. In 1898 leased to Russia for 25 years. In 1905 ceded to Japan as a result of the Russo-Japanese War.
Ole Anderson, 20 November 1999

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