View Full Version : China becomes a satellite state in the 19th century
April 6th, 2007, 01:39 AM
Ignoring the last thread (http://www.alternatehistory.com/discussion/showthread.php?t=52303) which became a fascinatingly tragic shouting arena, try to imagine what could have happened in the 19th century to turn China into (at least in part) under the direct influence of a foreign colonial power. In short, if the Qing still exist, they are puppets at the hands of foreign interests. Foreign interests now have much greater power in directing the activities of the nation than they did in OTL. That's the bare minimum-
Select your own choice for:
a) Colonizing nation
b) Model of colonizing (which OTL colony is the situation analogous to?)
Please note that I'm allowing a lot of leeway. OTL China's leadership was very much weakened and humiliated by the foreigners. In your scenario, you can choose in what ways they are weakened, what abilities are taken by others.
How does China end up?
April 6th, 2007, 06:03 PM
I would say the two obvious powers, presuming not too great a diversion would be Britain or Russia. Because British control of the seas and economic and fiscal domination, at least early in the century and Russia's common border give them the best chances to apply influence. Britain would be by far the most likely I suspect because even with the common land border Russia would have great difficulty exerting major force deep into China, even without opposition from another European power.
Possibly a cumulative process that persuades the British to go for direct control rather than try and reform the existing Chinese system from outside. Say the Opium war last longer, giving deeper hostility. Then at some point when Britain is busy, say in the Crimean War or Indian mutiny, a local Qing commander in the south seeks to try and seize Hong Kong. As a result Canton is occupied and annexed.
Tension means the Taiping revolt and resultant civil war is more bitter and longer lasting. Possibly because of the bad feeling between the Chinese and Europeans there is no Ever Victorious Army. During this period Britain defends the Canton area against the rebels and leads in defending Shanghai. As such establishing a tradition of ruling areas and also gaining some support from the local population from the order and relative wealth that this creates.
After the Taiping are finally defeated the Peking government seeks to restore its rule, leading to a new clash and its heavy defeat, in part using Chinese sepoys. Britain and France occupy Peking, then clash with Russia which seeks to occupy Manchuria. The resultant short war has two results. Russia gains much of Manchuria and as a result Britain establishes a protectorate over the region around Peking to prevent further encroachment. Also the fighting largely destroys what civil order there is in China.
A rump Qing dynasty is maintained in official power, similar to the Delhi sultanate in India and British forces and officials are increasingly drawn into various areas of the country to try and restore order and crush various warlords. By maintaining free trade and using some involvement from other powers they avoid alienating the other European powers too much. [Which is probably the single biggest problem in terms of finding an explanation on how this could happen]. Occasional clashes with Russia in the north, which also helps secure British control as they are seen as the least bad alternative to many Chinese.
Basically trying to draw a parallel with what happened in India, the collapse of internal order and competition with other powers drawing in British forces. More difficult as Britain will not have the same chance to prevent interference from other European powers. Especially with the Russians in the north. although they will face serious logistical problems until they get railways to the Pacific.
April 6th, 2007, 07:35 PM
Problem: It's difficult enough to see one European power making China a satellite, but it's even harder to imagine that no other power would interfere.
April 6th, 2007, 08:34 PM
I think trying to unify China as one colony would be enough to trigger a world war, perhaps the Crimean War just got larger and turns into World War I?
April 10th, 2007, 09:18 AM
I'd think a partitioned China would be more likely. France, Britain and Russia at least would nab bits of it. Germany and Japan would probably want some bits too.
April 10th, 2007, 06:26 PM
Perhaps if Russia and other powers tear away bits of China to set up as puppet states (Inner and Outer Mongolia, Manchuria, Sinkiang, Tibet, etc.), the rump states remaining would be small enough to be managed by a single European power?
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