The Hong Kong 'China' Overprints
British Offices In China 1917 - 1930


I have not yet put a great deal of information concerning the routing of mail from the Treaty Ports but will update as time permits.

There were special mailboxes set up in the Ports for the mailing of items via the British Post Office. Often mail would be placed in one of the Chinese mailboxes by mistake and they were then forwarded to the British PO. This card from Swatow dated 21 April 1920 appears to have bypassed the British system and been marked as Postage Due whereupon it was assessed 10 centimes upon arrival in France.

The Soviet postal authorities did not open the Trans Siberian Raliway until Sep 2, 1923 after the Bolshevik revolution. Previously the TSR was believed to have closed to international mail before the end of 1917 but details in the Canadian Philatelist (Vol 65 #4 Jul/Aug 2014) appears to prove that it was in use until Mar 19, 1918 but definitely had ceased by Apr 29 1918. This, however is contradicted by examples in HKSC Jn 369 showing examples of mail from Dec 22, 1917 (Although this article was marked "via America"). This example, dated 21 Sep 1917 from Swatow routed via the TSR

Port Destination Routing
Wei Hai Wei GB Wei Hai Wei to Shanghai then by P&O to Singapore, Penang, Colombo, Aden, Port Said, then through the Mediterranean to Southampton then train to London
Wei Hai Wei Malta "Steamer to Dalny (91 miles) then S.M.R. (South Manchurian Railway) to Changchun where, because of change of guage, mail was transferred to a different train for onward transmission to Harbin by the C.E.R. (Chinese Eastern Railway). From Harbin, a junction for Vladivostok, the Trans Siberian Railway main line express trains took the mails to Moscow. From there the mail was sent on to Warsaw, and then to Berlin, Leipzig, Innsbruck, Rome, Naples and Syracuse (Sicily). From Syracuse, the Malta ferry S.S. Ljubljana (contracted in 1922 to carry mail three times a week between Syracuse and Malta) carried the mail to Malta, this cover arriving at Sliema on 7 October 1927"
HKSC Jn 364/30 Mr. Peter Pugh