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2300AD & 2320 Discussion of the original 2300AD from GDW, the revised 2300 from Mongoose Publishing, or QLI's 2320AD.

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  #1  
Old June 18th, 2008, 12:48 PM
Anders Anders is offline
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Default Manchurian national identity

I just found this interesting entry on "Strange Maps", dealing with the logic of Chinese geopolitics. Essentially the paper indirectly cited argues that core China can be regarded as an island, surprisingly isolated from the rest of the world by geography. The large hinterland regions that have become part of China are natural buffers, extending outwards until firm geographical limits (Himalayas, jungles, deserts) make further expansion pointless and outside incursion unlikely.

This analysis suggests that the successor states of China are fundamentally different from current China, especially Manchuria. The heartland has split; this situation might have happened in the US if the post-Twilight governments never united. The interesting thing is that while Manchuria certainly contains the northern heartland most of it is non-Han former buffer states. Canton and China (i.e. greater Sichuan) are much more pure Han. I'm starting to suspect that Manchuria is not as traditional Chinese as it no doubt it claims to be (legitimacy is always valuable).

If we consider the situation during the Twilight war things went very badly: nuclear exchanges across the region, massive megadeath and no doubt refugee movements and disconnected army units on a scale that made Europe look very well-organized. As things settled down it is likely that the groups that did best were the ones that either could live off the land (such as Mongolians and some of the non-Han people) or military units carving out their warlord kingdoms. No doubt several ex-Soviet units were involved. So my theory of the formation of Manchuria would be that it coalesced from these mainly non-Han groups, took on the mantle as a legitimate continuation of Beijing and maybe used Mandarin as a lingua franca, but retained ethnic diversity. This is also why the Manchurian government retains the complex, nearly feudal approach it does, and why Manchuria appears to be much more open outwards than the other two Chinese nations.

To Canton and China Manchuria is not Chinese at all, just Chinese-speaking.

Another thing to note is that Manchuria does not have much great agricultural land; it was more or less forced into industry and international trade - which it profited from immensely. The links to Central Asia are also stronger than present. CAR would make the next logical buffer state if Manchuria were to continue the traditional Chinese system, and this is why the Central Asian War was so crucial to them.
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Old June 18th, 2008, 02:35 PM
Waldemar Waldemar is offline
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This is not a new situation for China, in 2320 AD they have more than 3,800 years of recorded history.

The conventional historical view of China's history is that of a country that has been alternating between periods of political unity and disunity and occasionally coming under the dominance by foreign peoples, most of whom assimilated into the Han Chinese population.

The Han Chinese ethnicity has some problems though. There is substantial genetic, linguistic, cultural and social diversity between the various subgroups of the Han, due to historical influences and millennia of immigration and assimilation of various regional ethnicities.

Personally I don't think the Manchurians call themselves "Manchurians". It alludes to the Manchurian ethnicity. Manchurians are a distinct ethnicity, nearly completely assimilated in to the Han Chinese today. It also alludes to the Manchurian Qing dynasty, and Manchuguo, the Japanese puppet state between 1932-1945. I think the official name is probably Zhongguo, the Middle Kingdom, carrying the unbroken line from the first Emperor. The matter of vassal states such as Tibet and Korea, is not new in Chinese history.

As stated on page 56 in 2320 AD Manchuria's misfortunes in the two Central Asian Wars are now leading to Manchuria starting to talk about "Chinese Territorial Integrity" which worries Canton and its buffer state rump-China very much.

The Middle Kingdom is thus more of a meme, an idea, a form of government, a tradition than a "nation". Otherwise it wouldn't have survived for so long.

Canton is "the realm of the southern barbarians". That Manchurian piece of propaganda actually has some merit, as Canton has placed itself outside of the Middle Kingdom, its culture and is using Cantonese dialect as the official language. Ethnically, culturally etc they are about as diverse as Manchuria. Canton is stated as even more feudal, and split between warlords... oops sorry regional governors. I would imagine Canton also maintains its legitimacy as "China", perhaps calling itself the Republic of China.

Rump- China, one of Canton's two vassal states (the other being the Federation of Indochina) could even be the remnants of the People's Republic of China claiming legitimacy from a long defunct dynasty (the Mao dynasty) as the "true China". It has happened before in Chinese history.

Last edited by Waldemar; June 18th, 2008 at 03:44 PM..
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Old June 20th, 2008, 06:53 AM
rfmcdpei rfmcdpei is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anders View Post
This analysis suggests that the successor states of China are fundamentally different from current China, especially Manchuria. The heartland has split; this situation might have happened in the US if the post-Twilight governments never united. The interesting thing is that while Manchuria certainly contains the northern heartland most of it is non-Han former buffer states. Canton and China (i.e. greater Sichuan) are much more pure Han. I'm starting to suspect that Manchuria is not as traditional Chinese as it no doubt it claims to be (legitimacy is always valuable).
The Chinese situation reminds me a bit of the era of the Song dynasty, from the 10th to the 13th century. After the Jurchen conquest of much of what is now northern China, the ruling dynasty retreated to the south where it supervised the growth of a mercantile and dynamic separate state. As for Sichuan, it was always a backwater.

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If we consider the situation during the Twilight war things went very badly: nuclear exchanges across the region, massive megadeath and no doubt refugee movements and disconnected army units on a scale that made Europe look very well-organized. As things settled down it is likely that the groups that did best were the ones that either could live off the land (such as Mongolians and some of the non-Han people) or military units carving out their warlord kingdoms. No doubt several ex-Soviet units were involved. So my theory of the formation of Manchuria would be that it coalesced from these mainly non-Han groups, took on the mantle as a legitimate continuation of Beijing and maybe used Mandarin as a lingua franca, but retained ethnic diversity. This is also why the Manchurian government retains the complex, nearly feudal approach it does, and why Manchuria appears to be much more open outwards than the other two Chinese nations.
The Qing all over again?

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CAR would make the next logical buffer state if Manchuria were to continue the traditional Chinese system, and this is why the Central Asian War was so crucial to them.
Not only that: The Far Eastern Republic must be run by twitching people.
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Old June 20th, 2008, 03:15 PM
rfmcdpei rfmcdpei is offline
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Korea and Koreans might also have played significant roles. EC/S does state, I think, that Korea survived relatively intact, if not quite on Japanese levels. It might make sense for post-reunification government Korea to try stabilize its Chinese hinterland, as a source of raw materials and as some sort of defense against a resurgent Japan. One thing might easily lead to another.

Something like this would certainly give Korea a reason to remain closwely allied to Manchuria. Why would Koreans want to separate themselves from their Manchurian alliance and risk losing access to their biggest and most profitable markets? Besides, there are all those ethnic Koreans living across the border. What could we do for these people?
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Old June 21st, 2008, 03:31 AM
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It would seem that there's a reason why there's such an "archaic" institution as royalty in Manchuria - national solidarity. It could easily be imagined that Manchuria is sort of an "artificial nation" like Iraq or Tito's Yugoslavia was.

Perhaps Manchuria's pertinent early history stretches back to the post Twilight War era. China is dominated by warlords, self-styled "princes" and "kings", and military controlled communities. Under such a situation, with continual marauding from former Chinese military units and former Soviet military units, and various communities (which may or may not be ethnically exclusive), it was seen that getting the Manchurian industrial heartland would be impossible without alliances between groups that controlled various industries necessary to create the vertical chains of industrial product production. In the chaos of the post Twilight world, perhaps written alliances and similar things were worthless, so people fell back upon (and found the effectiveness) of the old "marriages for alliance" system with some family on top with their allies/peaceful rivals under them. To them, various former military and perhaps even former marauders who were forward-thinking enough to see which way the wind was blowing, or perhaps they just wanted a piece of stability and the promise of electricity, running water, and safe farming.

Such a mish-mash of white Russians, central Asians, and Han would be unwieldy. The various groups would not like each other. But their "chains of fealty" went to one particular family - perhaps the ruling family of Manchuria basically IS Manchuria; without it, the country would fly apart into splinter states dictated by religious, ethnic, and similar lines. However, with the ruling family and power of heritage behind it, there's no privation "Manchurians" won't endure. Maybe the situation isn't as acute in 2300, but the old lines still are there, even if faded.
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 08:26 AM
general_tiu general_tiu is offline
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And if Manchuria is supposed to be the descendant of both Qing China, and Japanese-Controlled Manchuria [I imagine that Manchuria in 2300 AD still uses the Manchurian flag from the "Japanese vassalage" period], then why did they had to bash both the PRC [rump China] and Canton [Republic of China?] for being barbarized even they had the country's name of a non-Han ethnic group?
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Old September 4th, 2008, 04:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epicenter00 View Post
It would seem that there's a reason why there's such an "archaic" institution as royalty in Manchuria - national solidarity. It could easily be imagined that Manchuria is sort of an "artificial nation" like Iraq or Tito's Yugoslavia was.

Perhaps Manchuria's pertinent early history stretches back to the post Twilight War era. China is dominated by warlords, self-styled "princes" and "kings", and military controlled communities. Under such a situation, with continual marauding from former Chinese military units and former Soviet military units, and various communities (which may or may not be ethnically exclusive), it was seen that getting the Manchurian industrial heartland would be impossible without alliances between groups that controlled various industries necessary to create the vertical chains of industrial product production. In the chaos of the post Twilight world, perhaps written alliances and similar things were worthless, so people fell back upon (and found the effectiveness) of the old "marriages for alliance" system with some family on top with their allies/peaceful rivals under them. To them, various former military and perhaps even former marauders who were forward-thinking enough to see which way the wind was blowing, or perhaps they just wanted a piece of stability and the promise of electricity, running water, and safe farming.

Such a mish-mash of white Russians, central Asians, and Han would be unwieldy. The various groups would not like each other. But their "chains of fealty" went to one particular family - perhaps the ruling family of Manchuria basically IS Manchuria; without it, the country would fly apart into splinter states dictated by religious, ethnic, and similar lines. However, with the ruling family and power of heritage behind it, there's no privation "Manchurians" won't endure. Maybe the situation isn't as acute in 2300, but the old lines still are there, even if faded.
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Old September 4th, 2008, 05:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rfmcdpei View Post
Korea and Koreans might also have played significant roles. EC/S does state, I think, that Korea survived relatively intact, if not quite on Japanese levels. It might make sense for post-reunification government Korea to try stabilize its Chinese hinterland, as a source of raw materials and as some sort of defense against a resurgent Japan. One thing might easily lead to another.

Something like this would certainly give Korea a reason to remain closwely allied to Manchuria. Why would Koreans want to separate themselves from their Manchurian alliance and risk losing access to their biggest and most profitable markets? Besides, there are all those ethnic Koreans living across the border. What could we do for these people?
Korea is a killing ground, the most intensive combat area outside Europe. US 8th Army and Soviet Yalu Front (and the respective South and North Korean Armies, plus probably some allied forces) fought with the full gamult of tactical nukes etc. up and down the peninsula. The war prettymuch ends with what was ROK occupied by the US (who probably went home) and DROK by WARPAC.

BTW: It seems the author of E/CS didn't bother to check T2K wrt Korea.

We know from the E/CS the south was better off, and Japan invested heavily in Korea and by ca 2050 the North had been annexed to the South. We know that around 2100, Manchuria invaded Korea and set up a puppet government, seizing a lot of Japanese owned property, and that Koreans are happy to be a subject people.
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Old September 5th, 2008, 04:14 AM
general_tiu general_tiu is offline
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But not to the point that Korea is the same position that Manchuria was in the 1930s. They had a cultural identity to protect, after all, and I think in 2300AD they still had managed to balance their allegiance to Manchuria while having some independent mindset in business and pop culture [I've been sitting all day listening to K-Pop and all]. But Manchuria still had cultural influences in Korea, too, and Japan as well though much less so.

Now, what about popular culture in Manchuria? Was is on our standards, boring? Was it awash with agitprop? Is there a disturbing parallel to the Juche worship in North Korea and Emperor Worship in Manchuria? Or is just like the ROK in the real world and Japan [possibly essentially the same in 2300 AD]?
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Old September 5th, 2008, 05:56 AM
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Generally purpose the Manchurians fulfilled in 2300 was a combination of the "Yellow Peril" and "Incompetent Soviets." That is, belligerant, threatening, but quaintly low-tech and no doubt indulging in human wave attacks. Yet, somehow such a nation managed to nearly beat the French Coalition with its staggering technological lead. It's a little mystifying to me, though I guess back in the 1980s it seemed more plausible such a thing could happen (I mean, the storm-gun and their assault rifle were both laughably bad weapons in 2300).

Another factor to take into account was "the Game" which GDW wrote so glowly about in their 2300 development. As far as I can tell, it was a little bit more complex than Risk and probably a lot less complex than Diplomacy. Either way, IMO, it was a poor tool to develop a future history, leading to implausible results like Japan annexing the Philippines, the United States remaining three separate nations for decades on end, and generally encouraging a kind of idealized 1800s style atmosphere of military adventurism in a world which should have been painfully aware what happens when you use military force on people who can develop weapons of mass destruction.

That entire rant is my roundabout way of saying: Take stuff in 2300 with a grain of salt. Looking at how the Manchus are portrayed in 2300, I'd definitely say the way they'd be would be like North Korea with a space program, which I think is a terribly boring and one-dimsensional take on a nation that should be more layered and interesting. If you want one-dimensional bad guys, there's Kafers. I simply find Manchurian technological and cultural backwardness to be more than little unlikely given the long history that Manchuria in 2300 is supposed to have been industrialized.
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