The so-called China crisis, well documented in History of the IAU by Adriaan Blaauw and in Under the Same Starry Sky: History of the IAU by Chengqi Fu and Shuhua Ye, refers to the withdrawal in 1960 of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from the Union. The crisis stemmed from the admission by the IAU, amidst strong protest from PRC and some other member countries, of the Republic of China (ROC) to the Union, creating the so-called “Two Chinas” – or “One China, one Taiwan” problem. The crisis directly led to the absence of mainland Chinese astronomers from the stage of international collaborations and exchanges, and was only solved two decades later. The solution, accepted by all the parties involved, is that China is to have two adhering organizations, with mainland China astronomers represented by the Chinese Astronomical Society located in Nanjing (China Nanjing) and China Taiwan astronomers represented by the Academia Sinica located in Taipei (China Taipei). The denominations “China Nanjing” and “China Taipei” represent the IAU official resolution and should be used in all IAU events.
The China crisis, probably the most serious one in IAU history, was a painful lesson in the 100-year development of the Union. Yet, with its eventual solution, the Union has emerged stronger, upholding its spirit of promoting astronomical development through international collaboration of astronomers from all regions and countries, regardless of the political systems, religion, ethnicity, gender or level of astronomical development.