China Table of Contents
Postal service is administered by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, which was established in 1949 and reestablished in 1973 after a two-year period during which the postal and telecommunications functions had been separated and the ministry downgraded to a subministerial level. Although postal service in China goes back some 2,500 years, modern postal services were not established until 1877 by the Qing government. Development was slow; by 1949 there was only 1 post office for every 370 square kilometers.
Since then the postal service has grown rapidly. In 1984 China had 53,000 post and telecommunications offices and 5 million kilometers of postal routes, including 240,000 kilometers of railroad postal routes, 624,000 kilometers of highway postal routes, and 230,000 kilometers of airmail routes. By 1985 post offices were handling 4.7 billion first-class letters and 25 billion newspapers and periodicals. In 1987, after a six-year hiatus, six-digit postal codes were ordered to be put into use.
Data as of July 1987