CD symbol on Chinese and Taiwanese plates

January 19, 2013

More on John Pemberton’s possible China 1940s  diplomat.

03-0524 PRC CD

03-0524 PRC CD

MR(?) 172 remains unexplained for now……


Further to the March 2013 Post  ‘Fancy a Chinese?‘  and the subsequent identification of the Chinese character on the shield, Alex Kavka sends the Blog the Chinese ideogram for ‘ambassador’, on his Taiwan diplomatic photo 359.    It is the same as that of the current PRC diplomatic corps (not necessarily ambassador)  ideogram 01-718 and another 1972-4 Taiwanese dip. 1 50 also shows the same character.       (from ‘RG’.)

Shown below are the examples from both countries, for comparison…   (Top, RC (current),  centre, PRC,  bottom, RC historic)


Peoples' Rep. China diplomatic corps from

Peoples’ Rep. China diplomatic corps from 1970s/80s.     Brumby archive

Taiwan dip.1972-4 (RG plate)

Formosa/Taiwan dip.1972-4 (RG plate)



Taiwan CD

January 14, 2013

Alex Kafka writes:    The Chinese “ambassador” character 使 on John Pemberton’s photo caught my attention. It seemed familiar, and in fact I had seen it last November in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan.

Taiwan has diplomatic relations with only 23 countries. All others have abandoned it in favour of mainland China.  Therefore diplomatic plates are rare and I was thrilled to see three: numbers 19, 299 and 359.

RC_12_Taipei42 RC_12_Taipei32a RC_12_Taipei53

Last time Taiwanese diplomatic plates were reported, they had a yellow panel with a black character 外, which means something like “foreign”. But now the panel was red and the character was 使.  This is in fact similar to the way the plates looked in the 1970’s (white on red, and 使).  Does anyone know when they changed back from yellow to red?

RC_12_Taipei43   RC_12_Taipei43B

The car with 359 carried a blue-white-blue flag (see photo).  Unfortunately there was hardly any wind and the flag never quite unfurled.  Now Wikipedia has a list of the possible 23 countries:,  very helpfully with flags.  It turns out that there are three possible candidates with similar flags: El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.  Luckily, although the centre of the flag is poorly visible on my photo, part of it got reflected in the shiny bodywork of the car, enough to reveal a piece of the coat of arms of Nicaragua!  (Compare the enlarged detail of the photo with Nicaragua’s flag, from the Internet.)


Does anyone know if the plate numbers are coded or blocked by embassy?  From the single sighting of 359 for Nicaragua it’s hard to draw any conclusions. The other cars, 19 and 299, were caught  moving in traffic;  there was no time to look for any clues.

Alexander Kavka (Eu.575)

Fancy a Chinese?

January 12, 2013

One of EU38 Pemberton’s rarest sightings is shown below – a  US Dodge from Chinese region 03 (or perhaps embassy 03?) with only four numbers, not five as expected via the para. x) in RPWO.       Thought  to have been taken 1947-1952, certainly in London.     The characters on the shield have been sent off for identification*.     Any thoughts, members?

The photographer, John Pemberton, notes that he believes the plate to be from Inner Mongolia…    RPWO gives 03 to have been for Nei Mongol (I.M.) from circa 1949-86.      We suspect that this photo is from about 1946, but it could actually be pre-war………

American Dodge sedan from postwar China.

American Dodge sedan from postwar China.

* A quick answer from  Yun Li in Hong  Kong today reads:

It depends on the context, the most common meaning can be
-a certain title for soldiers / officer, used only in the past
The numbers below the character may be related to the context too. It reminds of something like a signpost in the old china, 1850-1900, or even older
So perhaps it IS a diplomatic series yet undiscovered?
(PRC2)_03-0524 cu_JPvb