Hsu Chung-mao

Historical photo collector, author

Hsu Chung-mao has been a journalist for 20 years. He has been at the frontline in covering the Iraq-Palestine conflict, the US’ bombing of Libya, and the civil wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua. He is currently the head of Nueva Vision Co, Ltd (新世语文化有限公司), and his published works are branded under the Hsu Chung Mao Studio (徐宗懋图文馆) in Taiwan and Qin Feng Studio (秦风老照片馆) in mainland China. In recent years, he has been collecting images of recent world history, to encourage civic education and cultural exploration, and to promote old photos as important first-hand material into recent history.

Professor Wang Huning (left) with the writer at the international university Chinese language debate competition in Singapore, 1993.

Taiwanese photo collector: How I met Xi's top brain, Wang Huning, in Singapore

Photo collector Hsu Chung-mao tells us how he first met current Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Politburo Standing Committee member Wang Huning over 30 years ago at an international university debate competition in Singapore, when Wang was a university professor in charge of a debate team. Wang subsequently became a prominent strategist for Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin, as well as current President Xi Jinping. This article gives a glimpse into Wang’s approach to debating and politics.
Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew goes through an overnight rehearsal of a ceremony at City Hall on the eve of Singapore’s first anniversary in 1966. A large image shows Singapore’s various ethnic groups holding up the national flag, symbolising the nation coming together to forge a bright future.

[Photo story] Taiwanese historical photo collector: My ties to Singapore

As his three-volume set of historical photographs of Singapore, Singapore Yesterday, is rolled out this year, historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao describes his professional and personal connection to Singapore, and his impressions of Singapore, alongside a collection of old photos of Singapore.
Collyer Quay in the 1950s. Directly ahead is Cavenagh Bridge built in 1870, with Anderson Bridge further on. On the right is the General Post Office of the British colonial period, today the Fullerton Hotel. As Singapore was an important international commercial port, many goods were subject to shipping tariffs, so the post office and customs department were usually connected. The post office building was named after the first Governor of the Straits Settlements, Robert Fullerton.

[Photo story] A Taiwanese collector's treasured photos of old Southeast Asia and Singapore

Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao showcases photographs of Singapore at the cusp of great change, from a more rural environment with many kelongs and farms to a bustling trade, finance and tourism hub. Through it all, the Singapore River has witnessed many of these changes, as seen in this collection.
A Malay family on the banks of the Kallang River, 1900s. They were mainly farmers.

[Photo story] When tropical Singapore was ‘too potent to be conquered’

Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao gives a glimpse into how he started collecting old photographs, and why collecting historical photos of Singapore is a passion for him. One of his most prized finds is a photo album that used to belong to a Japanese soldier posted to Singapore and Southeast Asia. He shares some of these photographs here.
In April 1943, the Koreans in China held a rally in Chongqing. The photo shows a Korean revolutionary giving a rousing speech while standing in front of a slogan that says “Up with an independent great Korea”. The meeting included a resolution to ask for other countries to support an independent Korea.

[Photo story] How Korea and China fought together against Japanese colonial control

The Korean independence movement actually began soon after the Russo-Japanese war, when Korea and China fought together against Japanese colonial control. For some 30 years, Korean activists carried out resistance movements against the ruling Japanese government, until the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea was established with Kim Gu as one of its most important leaders. Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao gives a glimpse into the period.
Aisin Gioro Puyi and wife Wanrong, 1925.

[Photo story] Puyi: The last emperor of China

The tragic life of the last emperor of China has been the subject of much popular culture, not least the movie The Last Emperor. But why was he often thought of as a political puppet and how did he go from emperor to commoner? Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao provides a glimpse into the final period of China’s imperial rule.
In June 1937, German leader Hitler received China’s Finance Minister H.H. Kung at the Kehlsteinhaus in the mountains, representing the peak of China-Germany military cooperation. Kung was the special personal representative of Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek.

[Photo story] The secret pre-World War II diplomacy between China and Germany

Before World War II, an unlikely alliance and friendship sprang up between China and Germany. As diplomatic ties warmed, Germany provided China with arms and equipment against the Japanese invasion. However, because China and the Soviet Union were military allies, Hitler drew closer to Japan, resulting in the subsequent deterioration of China-Germany relations, and the division of camps in WWII.
12 May 1945, San Francisco — During the meeting of the UN Conference on International Organization (UNCIO), delegates of four countries who would serve and sit on the UN Security Council look over a document: (from left) British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Robert Anthony Eden, US Secretary of State Edward R. Stettinius, Jr, Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs Vycheslav M. Molotov and Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Soong Tzu-wen.

[Photo story] The establishment of the United Nations and its significance to China

The establishment of the United Nations was a major step towards forging a new world order after the chaos of World War II. For China, it was a chance to recover from the humiliation of the two Opium Wars, the First Sino-Japanese War and World War II, where it was forced to cede territory and submit to Western powers. Not only was China able to sign equal treaties to take back its land, it became a permanent member of the UN Security Council, and took its place on the world stage.
Uzbekistan, Central Asia, early 20th century. A Mongolian yurt stands amid the wide grasslands, as people gather in front of the yurt. A fire for cooking has gone out, and guests are getting on their horses to leave as the host family comes out to see them off. The men on horseback are wearing long robes with slits on the side, with black sheepskin hats. Nomadic men like wearing clothes that are convenient for riding and keeping warm.

[Picture story] China’s western frontier and beyond

Taiwanese historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao considers China's historical engagements with its western frontier and the lands beyond it, and takes note of what the Chinese have documented and popularised in their version of the history of cultural exchanges with civilisations across Asia and Europe. With photos and drawings by young artist Brian Hsu, he brings us through history for a peek at those times.