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September 21, 2017

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A diamond jubilee for The China Post

The China Post was founded 60 years ago today as the one and only English-language newspaper after a ban was imposed on the creation of daily print media in Taiwan at the end of 1949 when President Chiang Kai-shek moved his Kuomintang government from Nanjing to Taipei. It came into existence simply because it would be an English-language paper, which was considered an all but indispensable daily necessity after a U.S. military assistance advisory group had been created to help train a reorganized Kuomintang army to defend Taiwan against a possible Communist Chinese invasion. Over the past six decades, The China Post has expanded its readership from the originally exclusive American one in Taiwan to include most of the English readers here and an increasingly large clientele abroad. It is no small accomplishment, which Taiwan's first and oldest English paper is celebrating on the occasion of its diamond jubilee.

As a reader of The China Post, President Ma Ying-jeou has sent a letter of congratulation to its staff, past and current, praising their unwavering commitment and dedication to journalism in the highly competitive newspaper industry in Taiwan and to have "unfailingly offered an unforgettable walk through the history of Taiwan by recording every milestone" it has marked. Yes, all of us at The China Post, including its founders Y. P. Huang and Mrs. Nancy Yu Huang and their son Jack Huang, who is its current president and publisher, deserve President Ma's accolade.

When it was inaugurated, The China Post published a two-page edition on a shoestring budget. The circulation was limited to officers and men of the U.S. armed forces in Taiwan, the U.S. Embassy staff and a handful of Chinese readers who worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The paper's staff was very small and untrained, and Nancy had to write stories herself. There was an army of typesetters who set types by hand. On one occasion, Y. P. had to melt the lead from used car batteries to feed the type-making machine to produce enough types for hand-setting. The dummy was set by hand, too, and once in a while a careless foreman upset it on the plate by prematurely loosening the cords binding one or two typeset segments of it, forcing a print delay. The rotary press was a museum piece which broke down more often than not and forced the deadline not to be met. It's no wonder Y. P. and Nancy used to say that Hollington Tong, asked by President Chiang to publish an English paper in Taipei before he was made ambassador to Japan and then the United States, turned down the offer. Chiang promised all the money Tong would need, but Tong told the president he couldn't obey the order for he couldn't raise a staff.

Things changed gradually. With its readership growing, marking a record height during the artillery duel that kicked off on Aug. 23, 1958 between Quemoy and its opposite shore on the mainland of China, The China Post was on an even keel and on its way to phenomenal success as the leading English-language newspaper in Taiwan. The two-month-long Quemoy crisis, also known as the Battle of the Taiwan Strait, was a turning point in the history of The China Post. The advertising, which used to be scant, increased and with the increased revenue a better staff was recruited to greatly improve the quality of the paper.

Over the years The China Post has changed a lot, but there is one thing that hasn't changed: its dedication to professionalism.

On this occasion of its 60th founding anniversary, we at The China Post wish to thank all our readers for the support they have given us and recommit ourselves to journalism to earn their continued support in the years to come.

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