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Chinese Republic - State Ensign (1913)

Last modified: 2020-07-31 by ian macdonald
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[1912 Flag of China]
by Mark Sensen, 26 June 1996

See also:

1911-1913 Flags of North and South China

1912 Southern War Ensign

The southern government used a white flag with a red canton bearing a white sun with nine black rays presumably only during 1912 as a war ensign. This was soon replaced by a red flag with a canton similar to the Kuo-min-tang flag, but with a simplified sun. Later, in 1913 or 1914, this was replaced by the flag that became the national flag of China until the communists took over.

1913 State Ensign

The 1913 state ensign is white with a red canton. On the canton is a black nine pointed star. At the tip and through (for lack of a better word) each point is a white ball. The Merchant ensign is just the canton, used also as war flag. Whitney Smith gives the symbolism as follows:

. . . the dawn of a new day in China. Its red field bore in the center a black star with eighteen gold balls - one for each province of the land. Red corresponded symbolically to the south where the revolution [of 10 Oct. 1911] had been raised, but it also was recognized as the national color of the Han or Chinese people, rising against the yellow (Manchu) dynasty to which they had been subjected . . ."
Nathan Augustine, 05 December 1995

One of the flags adopted at this time was the State Ensign. Although, the dates are unknown to me, the indications were that it was used very sparingly.
Some reports have indicated that the canton of the State Ensign was used as the merchant ensign. I could find no evidence, not to say there is none, to substantiate this claim. I believe that Mario Fabretto agrees with this statement based on his post shown on the web site. This flag known as a historical war flag.
C. Eugene Baldwin, 10 December 1998