In November 1897, two German missionaries were murdered by a mob in Shantung Province, China. In response, German naval forces occupied the port city of Tsingtau, and the German government used the occupation to press the Chinese government for a long-term lease of the port and the surrounding area. In March 1898, Germany and China entered into a 99-year lease under which Germany would control both sides of the entrance to Kiautschou Bay, as well as the islands within. Around this leased territory would be a small neutral zone which would, in effect, also be under German control.
A post office was opened at Syfang on 1 August 1906. It remained open until the early days of World War I, closing in mid-September 1914.