Free Masonry first saw Light in China in the province of Guangzhou during the late 1700’s with the establishment of Amity Lodge No. 407, under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of England, in 1767; and met regularly for 46 years until going into darkness in 1813; when for some unknown reason it’s charter was not renewed when the two Grand English Lodges united in London. Upon the departure of Bro. R.F. Gould from China, In 1886, he says that there were in existence at Victoria (Hong Kong), and in the Chinese treaty ports : 13 English Lodges, 4 Scottish Lodges, 1 American Lodge and 1 Irish Lodge.
It should be mentioned that membership of Foregoing Lodges in China, had been mainly confined to specific Foreign Nationals by the Manchu Government and succeeding Governments, and it was not until 1930, when a group of American and Chinese Master Masons, all of whom had been raised abroad, decided to form a Lodge in Shanghai, for the purpose to bring Free Masonry to Chinese aspirants.
Charter Members of the first Chinese Lodge included Brothers George A. Fitch (later G.M. of the G.L.O.C, in Taiwan), Judge N.F. Allman, Alfred T.C. Kao, Mei Hua-Chuan. I.J. Rawlinson and James L.E. Chow, all of whom had been members of Lodges in the U.S.A. with the exception of Bro. Chow who was raised in an English Lodge in Jamaica.
The group first petitioned the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts for a Dispensation, but this was denied. They then successfully applied to the Grand Lodge of the Philippines who looked upon their request favourably and granted a Dispensation.
The new Lodge 106 was chartered on 27th January 1931, at Peking and by coincidence also named Amity Lodge, as had been the first Masonic Lodge in China, nearly 200 years earlier.
The creation of Amity Lodge No. 106 was followed by the creation of Nanking Lodge No.108 (Nanking), Pearl River Lodge No. 109 (Canton), Szechwan Lodge No. 112 (Cheng-tu), West Lake Lodge No. 113 (Hanzou) and Sun Lodge No. 114 (Shanghai).
During the Japanese invasion of China and for the duration of the Second World War, a small but courageous group of Master Masons of many nationalities gathered together in the unconquered Free Chinese town of Chungking, in the province of Szechwan, and initially formed a Square and Compasses Club.
By early 1943, the Square and Compasses Club, had despite the many hardships of a town under constant aerial bombardment, developed a nucleus of Brothers who felt the need to establish a recognised Lodge. A Dispensation to forma Lodge was submitted to the Grand Lodge of California, who in due course granted this, and fortitude Lodge U.D. was established during 1943. Fortitude Lodge was indeed an appropriate name, as the Lodge met regularly despite the inclement weather, unceasing air raids and almost every conceivable difficulty. In 1945, whit the cessation of the hostilities, the personnel were dispersed, and inevitably this led to the closure of the Lodge, therefore, it’s dispensation was returned to the Grand Lodge of California. It is interesting to note that Fortitude Lodge in it’s somewhat brief existence was to provide in the future four Grand Master for the Grand Lodge Of China : M. W. Brothers William H. T. Wei, Ting Chien, Theodore L. Way and George W. Chen.
Whit the return of the Brethren to their respective abodes, Masonic activity was resumed throughout China. The six Lodges which were Chartered under the Grand Lodge Of Philippine, held discussions concerning the future of free Masonry in China, and it was proposed that a grand Lodge Of China, should be established. These labours came to fruition on 18th March 1949, when the Grand Lodge Of China was consecrated at the Masonic Hall in Shanghai. The six Lodges were transferred and re-chartered with their original names, but were re-numbered as follow:
◾ Amity Lodge No. 1
◾Nanking Lodge No, 2
◾Pearl River Lodge No. 3
◾Szechwan Lodge No. 4
◾West Lake Lodge No. 5
◾Sun Lodge No. 6
Unfortunately, within a short time great problems were to beset the newly established Grand Lodge, when the communist Government came to power, and by 1951 the Grand Lodge of China had ceased to function in Shanghai, and the second Grand Master M.W. Bro. T.F. Wei decided to declare darkness had fallen upon the Grand Lodge Of china.
The Grand Lodge was then temporally moved to Hong Kong, with little more than a few files and, through the effort of the first Grand Master M. W. bro. David K Au, the grand Lodge regalia.
Following the fall of the Mainland China to communism, a number of the Chinese and other Nationalities followed the Government of the Republic of China, to Taiwan. Early in 1951 those Brethren discussed the formation of a Square and Compasses Club. Brother Olivier Todd, Past Senior Warden of the International Lodge in Peking was elected as President.
Such was the success of the first « Club » in Taipei, that later Square and Compasses were formed in Tainan in 1956, and Taichung in 1965.
Back in 1951, a petition was submitted to the Grand Lodge of China, in Hong Kong, for the creation of a new Lodge, appropriately named Liberty Lodge. In August 1952, M. W. Bro. T. F. Wei travelled from Hong Kong with an escort of several Brethren, and duly consecrated the Liberty Lodge No. 7. In 1953, after several difficulties to obtain permission to conduct Masonic Business, from the Authorities, Bro. T. T. Tuan has the honour, of being the first Mason, ever to be raised in Taiwan.
The Grand Lodge of China was reactivated on Taiwan in 1955, as was Amity Lodge No. 1 in the same year, followed by Pearl River Lodge No. 3 at Tainan in 1956, Sun Lodge No. 6 at Taipei in 1956 too, and Szechwan Lodge No. 4 in Taichung in 1957.
In 1961, the Deputy Grand Master George W. Chen, accepted the position of Chairman of a Committee, to translate the Masonic Ritual and Monitor into the Chinese Language. Without further delay and not knowing that it would be a decade of hard labours before the task was completed.
The Brethren of Han Lodge, applied for a dispensation in 1971 and Han Lodge No. 8 was granted it’s Charter on 28th October 1972 and has the distinction of being the first Lodge to conduct it’s entire business in the Chinese language.
In the eve of Christmas 1985, Tang Lodge No. 9 was chartered.
In 1997, Harmony Lodge No. 10 was chartered in Taipei and was followed 3 years later by High Sun Lodge No. 11, chartered in Taipei County.
Lodges in China (under the Grand jurisdiction of Philippine Grand Lodge)
1931 Amity Lodge No.106 (Philippine Grand Lodge) in Shanghai
1933-39 Nanking Lodge No.108 in Nanking
1931 Pearl River Lodge No.109 in Guangzhou
1936 Szechwan Lodge No.112 in Cheng-Tu
West Lake Lodge No.113 in Hanzou
1937 Sun Lodge No.114 in Shanghai
1943 Fortitude Lodge (California Grand Lodge)
History of Grand Lodge of China
1949 Grand Lodge of China in Shanghai
Amity Lodge No.1
Nanking Lodge No.2
1949 Pearl River Lodge No.3 (re-chartered under the Grand Lodge of China)
1949 Szechwan Lodge No.4(re-chartered under the Grand Lodge of China)
West Lake Lodge No.5
1949 Sun Lodge No.6(re-chartered under the Grand Lodge of China)
1953 Liberty Lodge No.7
History in Taiwan
1951 Friends of China Club in Taipei
Taipei Square and Compasses Club
Modern History in Taiwan
1955 Amity Lodge No.1 reactivated in Taipei
1956 Pearl River No.3 reactivated in Tainan, now in Kaohsiung
1957 Szechwan Lodge No.4 reactivated in Taichung, moved to Lung-Tan County, Tao-Yuan, now in Taipei
1956 Sun Lodge No.6 reactivated in Taipei
1956 Liberty Lodge No.7 reactivated in Taipei
1963 The First Temple of MW Grand Lodge of F&AM of China erected
1972 Han Lodge No.8(chartered under the Grand Lodge of China) in Taipei
1985 Tang Lodge No.9(chartered under the Grand Lodge of China) in Taipei
1994 Lodge Room renovated in Temple
1997 Harmony Lodge No.10(chartered under the Grand Lodge of China) in Taipei
2000 High Sun Lodge No.11(chartered under the Grand Lodge of China) in Taipei County
The Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry of the Southern Jurisdiction, USA, Valley of Taipei, Orient of Taiwan
David Au Chapter No.1 RAM
Concordia Chapter No.2 RAM
Taipei Council UD, Royal & Selected Master
Taipei Commandery UD, Knights Templar
The Ali Shan Oasis Shrine Club of Taipei
Yangmingshan Chapter No.5, OES