Thursday 22nd July 2010by admin
Chapter Three: go south to Hong Kong (2)
Lufei also realized the importance of decentralizing the company’s business after the January 28 Incident. The new Hong Kong Chung Hwa printing plant was established in To Kwa Wan, Kowloon, Hong Kong in 1933. The plant was well-equipped for security printing. It soon began to print government securities, small denominations of currency, and cigarette boxes in 1932. The first two orders were the printing of government banknotes issued by Guangdong and Guangxi in 1935. Thereafter, the printing house of Chung Hwa Book Company became a major production factory for Chinese currencies.
The Marco Polo Bridge Incident (or the Lugouqiao Incident) marked the invasion of China by Japan, which lasted for eight years (1937–1945). Both the Commercial Press and Chung Hwa Book Company moved and rooted in Hong Kong since then, making use of the special geographic and political position of the city to boost(?) China’s cultural development.
Lufei set up Chung Hwa’s Hong Kong Branch after the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, supervising the company’s printing and publishing businesses in Hong Kong and southern China. After Shanghai was lost to the Japanese in 1937, all the equipment, materials and staff were moved to Hong Kong. The Hong Kong plant continued to operate until the day the city fell into Japanese hands and was forced to print paper currencies for the Japanese invaders. The same happened to the printing plant of the Commercial Press until the surrender of the Japanese in 1945.
The Commercial Press set a target of publishing one book every day to offer people spiritual food during the war. It continued to publish the University Series, current affairs magazines and children books. The Press also formed cost-saving committees in Hong Kong and Shanghai, economized the use of papers and used new layouts to save the precious printing resources then. The Press also tried to ship books back to the mainland to help spread culture and knowledge among Chinese people.
During the Chinese Civil War (1945-49), Chung Hwa was still the currency printer, and was responsible to print Chinese Yuan (Renminbi) after the foundation of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949 while the Commercial Press had shifted its core business to textbook printing. The press was also the printer of the first and third sets of postal stamps of the PRC.
(To be continued)