Page last updated at 12:17 GMT, Monday, 2 November 2009

'Red' China stamp fetches record

Rare stamp, "The Whole Country is Red", auctioned in Hong Kong 1 Nov 09
"The Whole Country is Red" - except the designer left out Taiwan

A Chinese stamp pulled from circulation the day it was issued because it failed to show Taiwan as part of China has fetched a record price in Hong Kong.

The rare 1968 stamp was picked up at an auction by an unidentified buyer, for HK$3.68m (US$475,000, £290,000).

It features a worker holding a book filled with Mao Zedong's quotations and a red map of China in the background.

However, self-ruled Taiwan was left uncoloured. China sees the island as a renegade province of its own.

The stamp is entitled "The Whole Country is Red". Its sale sets a record price for a Chinese stamp.

Its designer, Wang Wei Sheng, who watched the hammer fall, said he had feared he would be punished for his mistake.

"For a long time I was really worried that I would be jailed," he told AFP news agency.

"Officials told me that it was a really big mistake, but in the end nothing happened."

Mr Wan and other designers had been commissioned to make a series of stamps during the Cultural Revolution, a decade-long period of mass political and social upheaval in China starting in the mid-1960s.

Taiwan split from China in 1949 at the end of a civil war and has been self-ruled since, but Beijing still considers the island as part of its territory awaiting reunification.

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