Post Card to China keeps being returned

This is my first forum post, so I hope I’ve put it in the correct place / done it correctly. I have attempted to send a postcard to China three times now and it keeps being returned to me. I’ve spoken to the clerk at the desk and she has no idea why they won’t deliver it. I’ve looked on the list of countries with issues and cannot find anywhere that would indicate it would be a problem. Do I just accept this as a lost card and wait until it times out or what? I have PM’d the recipient and let them know of the issues I’m having getting their card to them. Any advice?

If you used an English address, it could be that the local postcarriers will not understand English. In Beijing that would not be a problem.

You could you the translate tool on to render the address into
a Chinese language.

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Did the recipient react to your PM?
Maybe they moved or something like that…
I’d wait for an answer or maybe contact the Postcrossing support and ask about what you could/should do.


Have you blacked out the barcode on the bottom of the card? I heard that in the US, mail is delivered via these codes and if it’s wrongly encoded to your address, it can’t go to China.


Did you put the same card back in the mailbox after it was returned to you?
The first time it was returned, it could have been that the sorting machine accidentally read your return address and printed the barcode for your address on the card instead of the receiver‘s address.
After that, when you put the same card back in the mail without covering the wrong barcode, it will always come back to you.


I used the Chinese address. It is never making it to China. It makes it to our local hub, and then comes back.

They have. They indicated that it was imperative that I used the Chinese language address they provided or they would never get the card. That is the one that I have used.

Honestly? I’d stop worrying about it so much! I’ve been here just over a year and in my six expired cards, four of them were addressed to China. It happens all the time and it’s absolutely not worth your while sending any card twice, let alone the same card three times! Just forget about it and move on.

Oh, and don’t put your own address on postcards, I have no idea why some people do that. That’s my two-cents’ worth.


yes. The bar code was on a sticker, and that has been removed each time.

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you said that the postcard is being return to you. is the problem that it not leaving the usa or its return from china post?
the sorting machines in the usa is reading the address - if you are sending the postcard with chinese writing, the sorting machine is trying to find the address on the card. it is not noticing that address but finds your return address. this is the reason you are getting the postcard back (if it being return from the usps).
on return addresses, always put it upside down and a red “X” across it so the sorting machine is not reading it. also, cross the barcode on the lower part of the postcard. but also to check on the picture if there is a bar code too. if so, must cross that out too with a black sharpie.
hope that is helpful.


I think this must be it. It is never leaving the USA. I’ve always put my return address on the card (Albright upper left and sideways) but never x’d it out. That is most likely the issue here. I’ll X it out and send it out with a couple I have to send today.

Wow! This forum is great. I got so many responses and so quickly. Thank you to all of you who took the time to help. I really appreciate it!


What about going to Post Office and telling the problem?

She’s done that:

I’ve spoken to the clerk at the desk and she has no idea why they won’t deliver it.

in the usa, sorting machines process the mail. unless you pay extra for manual processing (15¢ for domestic and 21¢ for international per piece of mail). the sorting machines can do up to 30,000 pieces of mail per hour. so, it finding the address fast and will anything looking like an address. non-latin alphabet addresses will be a bit harder for the machine code.
interesting fact that the sorting machine - it took 85 people to process the same amount of mail as one sorting machine. but less errors with human processors.


I have to agree that this sounds like a sorting machine problem.

I work as a mailwoman in the Netherlands and almost all of our mail is sorted by machine. I often see letters (not so much postcards) coming back to the original owner because their return address was more visible than the recipient’s. But I will often redirect these letters to the correct destination by crossing out the return address and striking through the printed barcode. When it goes back into the machine, it usually picks up the correct address. If it happens a second time, I put a sticker on it and send it back into manual sorting which almost always solves the problem.

But given that the recipient’s address is in Chinese and your return address was easy to read, it probably never got streamed into manual sorting. I am pretty sure you leaving your return address out will fix it. But then again is it really worth a 4th stamp? I’d have to agree with @SailingBy here. I’d just skip it and go to the next. You’ve already had contact with the postcrosser. I’m sure he would understand.


This is all very interesting for people who are interested in the USA mail processes, but the fact remains that one postcrosser - who has been here for over ten years - has tried to send one postcard (three times) which didn’t get delivered or registered. This is really not a Big Deal. It happens to everyone. The word “perspective” springs to mind.

But while I’m still here, you said

Please don’t tell us that you’ve tried this three times in sixty days?! (automatic expired, you get a slot back) Or did you mean you’ve tried three times in one year? If the latter, please just forget that one card. . . . . . . .you’ll feel better if you do, honestly. Life’s too short!

It was posted on another topic here on this forum, but this might help, too:


interesting that the usps had this requirement. for any addresses in non-latin alphabet, i just on the bottom of the address write in big black letters the country of destination and never had one of those postcards return by the usps. but i stop putting my return address on them to (thus no returns) but do not know if the postcard was lost if the receiver has not register the postcard.
if you choose to put your return address, put/write it unside down and in small letters and put a red “X” over the return address. this way, the sorting machine will see the correct address and the receiver and/or post office of its destination point can read it.


No. I have not “tried three times in sixty days or a year” I just keep popping it back, with the SAME stamp for the last couple of weeks. I guess my perspective is different than yours. I’m patient and I try to make things work. Yes, I’ve been here over ten years but I haven’t been active for most of those ten. I just this month started again and many things have changed since the pandemic. I agree is isn’t a big deal, but if I can learn something from this, including something I may be doing wrong (which I have found I am), then my perspective is that asking this question was worth it.


English should not be a problem.
I used to live in China, when I received some foreign letters or postcards. Staff would write the addresses in Chinese next to the English ones, in order to make postmans understand where letters or postcards should go.