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Chinese Federation


830px-ChinFed flag svg
Added by Juubi Karakuchi


Anthem: March of the Volunteers (Chinese National)

Solidify our Golden Empire (Imperial)

Various national

Capital

Luoyang (up to 2018 ATB)

Beijing (2018 ATB onwards)

Official Language

Mandarin

Demonym

Chinese, Chin-Fed

Government

Constitutional Monarchy (China)

Head of State

HIM the Empress (Tianzi)

Legislature

National Assembly (China)

Population

2,000,000,000 approx (Total)

Currency

Yuan

The Chinese Federation is a fictional superpower appearing in the anime 'Code Geass'. This article refers to that superpower as it appears in Juubi-K's fanfictions 'Sum of Our Choices' and 'One and Only Son'.

GeographyEdit

In real-world terms, the Chinese Federation consists of China, India, the whole of South Asia excluding Iran, and the whole of Central and South-East Asia, excluding the Phillipines.

HistoryEdit

Twilight of the Qing Edit

The Chinese Federation's roots were laid with the decline and fall of the Qing dynasty. Ruling for over two and a half centuries, the Qing presided over the greatest success and worst decline of China's Imperial tradition. By the middle of the 19th century, China was culturally, technologically, and economically stagnant; yet utterly convinced of its superiority over all other civilizations. In 1839 AD, the true state of affairs would be violently revealed.

The issue in question was an attempt by the Qing government, under the Daoguang Emperor, to halt the import and sale of opium in China. Concerned over the social consequences of opium abuse, to say nothing of the outflow of precious silver to pay for it, the Emperor assigned the scholar and official Lin Zexu to oversee the suppression. Lin confiscated and destroyed all opium his officers could find, while paying no compensation to the largely Indian and European merchants. The Indian powers were outraged, but were unable to do anything about it. None of them had any naval capability to speak of, and the Chinese territories they bordered were far from the centres of power. In an irony not lost on any of them, they called upon the British - their former colonial overlord - to act on their behalf.

Britain was a shadow of its former power, and very much in the pocket of the seemingly all-powerful French Empire. But her new government, headed at least symbolically by the young King Michael I, sought to rebuild British prosperity though industry and sea trade. The latter involved the creation of a global network of trading ports, in some cases built on colonised land, in other cases in the territory of friendly local powers. The Indian states, having little or no ability to engage in sea trade, were at first content to be part of this arrangement, sending their commodities around the world in British cargo ships; the high fees more than offset by the profits. The money the British made from this, as well as from their own trade, both necessitated and funded the creation of a new Royal Navy, built with the latest technology. It was upon this force that the Indians called, prodding Britain into action with a judicious mixture of threats and flattery. The first Opium War broke out in Guangzhou, when Chinese ships attempted to protect British cargo ships - whose owners had signed a pledge not to trade in opium - from being halted by British warships set to blockade the port. What followed was farce intermingled with tragedy, leaving around seventy thousand Chinese troops dead for the cost of a few hundred British dead and wounded. The Treaty of Nanjing, which ended the war in 1842, would only be the first of the so-called 'unequal treaties'.

The causes of the defeat lay in the Qing dynasty's long-standing policies, as well as serious military and economic mismanagement. The armies lead by Nurhaci and his son Dorgon - who actually took the Imperial throne in 1644 - were well-trained and led by the standards of the time, and comparably equipped to European armies of the period. The infantry carried spears, matchlock muskets, and bows - the latter in far greater numbers than in Europe - and were supported by the elite horse archers of the Eight Banners, along with artillery created by Portuguese gunsmiths. The soldiers who attempted to resist European forces in the First Opium War carried much the same weapons, often in poor repair, while their training and organisational systems had broken down. All they had to offer against European firepower was nigh-suicidal courage, earning them a degree of respect from the invaders. All the while, the Daoguang Emperor remained isolated in the Forbidden City in Beijing, kept ignorant of the course of the war by sheer distance and the efforts of his courtiers.

Despite such a glaring failure, the Qing military system would remain relatively unchanged until the closing decades of the 19th century. China's ruling elite was intellectually and ideologically incapable of understanding what had happened, or what to do about it. The roots of this failure lie in the Qing's rise to power, and the means by which it maintained control. The previous Ming dynasty had seen a period of intellectual curiosity and openness to new ideas, with the hitherto-sacrosanct teachings of Confucius and Mencius being called into question. Seeking to gain legitimacy in the eyes of the often-resentful Chinese, the Qing had suppressed all such inquiry in favour of strict Confucian orthodoxy. This was cemented through control of the Imperial Examination, the centre and ideal of Chinese education. The exam itself focussed entirely on the Confucian classics, and required candidates to produce detailed essays written to a strictly prescribed pattern. This favoured rote-memorization and mental discipline, but left degree-holders with little or no capacity for critical analysis or inquiry; let alone the practical knowledge needed to understand modern economics and technology. To incredulous Europeans, it would have seemed akin to selecting civil servants via an exam written by the medieval Papacy.

Holy War for Heavenly Peace Edit

For all that Chinese society failed to adapt to a changing world, the Imperial examination had other, more human costs. Strict entrance and pass ratios, which were not updated to take China's burgeoning population into account, were onerous in themselves. Records from 1699 noted a candidate aged over a hundred entering the exam on the arm of his great-grandson; while in 1826, a candidate aged 104 failed once again, only to be given his degree out of pity. Far worse, in the eyes of many of China's Han majority, was the favouritism shown to Manchu candidates, who were preferred in the ratios and enjoyed a dumbed-down exam. Though exam failure was not particularly shameful, the psychological pressure and weight of expectation was too much for some candidates to bear. Nervous breakdowns and even deaths during the exams were not unknown, and some unfortunates were driven mad by the horror and shame. Exam failure even produced some of China's more famous rebels. Li Zicheng, the 'dashing prince' who helped bring down the Ming dynasty in 1644, was a postman who had failed the exam. But even he fades in the face of the most famous exam failure of all, who propagated the most destructive and traumatic rebellion in China's recent history.

Hong Huoxiu's entrance to history began in 1837, when he failed the provincial examination in Guangzhou for the second time. Suffering a nervous breakdown, he was tormented by strange visions, some of them involving an old man and an older brother figure, while others involved great birds and strange, otherwordly women. Upon his recovery, his family noticed that his personality had changed, becoming more solemn and authoritative. It was not until six years later, having failed the exam a total of four times and worked as a teacher to support himself, that he tried to make sense of these visions. Examining Christian pamphlets he had been given many years earlier, he became convinced that he was the new Messiah, the younger brother of Jesus Christ; much to the chagrin of curious missionaries, who tried and failed to disabuse him of this notion. Though persecuted by local officials, outraged at his preaching and his destruction of holy statues, Hong won a significant in Guangxi following among his fellow Hakka; one of China's many ethnic minorities. Going by the name of Hong Xiuquan, he preached a collectivist, syncretic version of Christianity, in which the sexes were equal - but segregated - and all assets were paid into a communal treasury.

By 1850, Hong had acquired between ten and thirty thousand followers. After refusing to disperse and killing a magistrate, they defeated an Imperial force early in 1851 near Jintian, in Guangxi Province. On January 11, Hong declared the Taìpíng Tīanguó Yùndòng, the Heavenly Kingdom of Transcendant Peace. Forced to move north by converging Imperial forces, the Taiping army eventually captured Nanjing in March of 1853, making it the capital of their movement. At its height, the Taipings controlled Jiangxi and Zhejiang provinces in their entirety, along with portions of Hubei, Anhui, and Suzhou provinces; with an army of anything up to five hundred thousand men. From his palace at Nanjing, Hong issued a programme of radical reforms, including gender equality, communal land ownership, and the banning of polygamy and footbinding. Meanwhile, the war took on many characteristics of total war, with both sides attempting to destroy each-other's war-making capacity. Agricultural areas were destroyed and entire cities wiped out, with some six hundred towns known to have been destroyed. In Guangdong province alone, around a million people were executed by Imperial forces. Slowly, perhaps inevitably, the Taipings were ground down by Imperial armies, supplied with more modern weapons by the European powers and Britannia. By August of 1864, the Taiping Rebellion was at an end, with a final death toll estimated at between twenty and thirty million.

A Hundred Days to RevolutionEdit

This period also saw a largely forgotten Second Opium War, running from 1856 to 1860. The ostensible cause was repeated aggression by Chinese subjects against Europeans, notably merchants and missionaries. Of these, the single most famous was the missionary Auguste Chapdelaine, tortured and executed in February of 1856 by officials in Yaoshan. The war went little better for China than its predecessor, ending with the loss of territory to the Russians, and the infamous looting and burning of the Summer Palaces. The subsequent Convention of Beijing forced China to allow religious freedom and open more trade ports, as well as to pay an idemnity of 20 million taels of silver. The Chinese were forbidden even to refer to Europeans or Britannians as 'barbarians' in official documents; a cutting psychological blow. This second humiliation saw the rise of the Self-Strengthening Movement; an attempt by Chinese officials and intellectuals to improve Chinese military technology while maintaining its culture. Under the Tongzhi Emperor, China managed a brief period of reform and gradual improvement, as it attempted to square the circle of mastering Western science and technology while maintaining its culture and spiritual beliefs.

It was this period that saw the rise of Dowager Empriess Cixi, mother of Tongzhi, who secured the regency with the help of Dowager Empress Ci'an and Prince Gong. 'Attending audiences behind the curtain' as the Chinese put it, Cixi ruled China through her son, who proved a dissolute and generally unsatisfactory character. Contrary to popular myth, Cixi was greatly interested in and supportive of reform, seeing it as necessary to the survival of the dynasty and the protection of China. But this was never to be at the cost of her own power and influence, as proven by her mistreatment of Prince Gong; dismissing him from his numerous positions on a trumped-up charge of inappropriate behaviour at court. Though he was reinstated to the Foreign Ministry under popular pressure, his demotion greatly disrupted the liberal reforms to which his support had been instrumental. When Tongzhi died without issue in 1875, the throne went his young cousin Prince Zaitian, who reigned as the Guangxu Emperor. A virtuous and frugal youth, Guangxu attempted and succeeded in reducing the Imperial household expenses in 1892, an achievement diluted by the need to provide for his increasingly extravagant aunt.

The conflict between aunt and nephew came to a head in 1894, with the outbreak of the First Sino-Japanese War. Like those between Guangxu and Cixi, tensions between China and Japan had been building for some time. Having industrialised and modernised at breakneck speed, Japan had taken advantage of China's weakness to expand its influence on the Korean peninsula, a long-standing Chinese vassal. Tensions reached their peak in March of 1894, when pro-Japanese Korean revolutionary Kim Ok-gyun was lured to Shanghai and murdered by a Korean agent. A subsequent peasant rebellion in June saw the transfer of Chinese troops to Korea, which the Japanese took as a violation of the Treaty of Tientsin. Japanese troops landed in Korea, captured Seoul, and replaced the pro-China government with a pro-Japan regime. The war that followed lasted eight months, and saw China utterly defeated on land and sea. The Chinese army sent to Korea was poorly organised and led, its soldiers equipped with a bewildering variety of weapons and trained to fire blindly at the enemy in the hope of intimidating them by sheer weight of fire. China's new Beiyang navy had been lavishly equipped with new warships, most of them larger and more powerful than those available to the Japanese. But the crews were poorly trained and motivated, and the ships often in a parlous state of repair. Against the modern Japanese army and fleet, neither stood any chance.

Guangxu was deeply shocked by the defeat, which convinced him that China was in mortal danger. Worse, his aunt had proven that she could not be trusted. Throughout the war, ministers had made reports to her instead of him. Even worse, it was revealed that his own father, Prince Chun, had plundered Imperial navy funds in order to rebuild the Old Summer Palace as Cixi's retirement residence. Chun had done this in order to protect his son, but the scandal was no less severe for it. The defeat effectively ruined the Self-Strengthening movement, and shattered the already shaky political consensus that had underpinned it. Contrary to popular opinion, reactionaries such as Prince Duan were not seriously trying to hold back the tide of progress, at least not in terms of technology. Duan was quite content to arm troops under his command with the latest western weapons, and even had them trained in modern tactics, but made them wear Chinese-style uniforms. The main motive of the reactionaries, at least among the elite, was simple xenophobia; a hatred of foreigners and foreign influence, and of the changes they might inflict on Chinese social structure, philosophy, and identity. Equally unsettling, especially to Cixi, was the way in which regional leaders had taken centre stage in the Self-Strengthening movement, potentially threatening Imperial control.

More to come

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