AHC: Bigger/Superpower China

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by British Republic, Jul 23, 2014.

  1. British Republic Love Union, Hate Westminster Banned

    May 19, 2014
    Spectrum HQ, London
    This AH Challenge is split into 2 parts, but both relate to China:

    1: With the earliest possible POD, Have China cover only the OTL area of the PRC/ROC, but Korea, Central Asia, Tajik/Uzbek Afghanistan, Siberia (up to the Urals) and the Russian Far East, Indochina and parts (or all) of Burma at least.

    2: With the earliest possible POD make China the main economic, political and military superpower of the the world (or at least one of the main ones) at the earliest possible time, as well as in the present day
  2. Richard V Well-Known Member

    Jul 5, 2013
    You would have to change how the Chinese see themselves and their place in the world. Perhaps if the Mongol Yuan dynasty lasted longer like the later Qing, a successor Chinese dynasty would come view the Great Khanate and neighbouring khanates as an extension of China.
  3. 'Ezana Gay Muslim

    May 3, 2012
    It's not necessarily that the Chinese need to view those areas as extensions of China. Most Chinese dynasties were pretty expansionist when they got the chance to do so, whether or not they were expanding into China or other areas. The Ming, ethnic Chinese, tried expanding into the neighboring steppe polities, but were not very successful. The reason the Qing were successful was because unlike the Ming, they operated a truly multi-ethnic state, using local customs to subdue Mongolia and Xinjiang rather than trying to conquer them with Han troops (which always ends poorly). I agree however that it's easier for this to happen when China is ruled by foreigners simply because unlike Han dynasties, foreign dynasties have firsthand experience at balancing multiple cultures and ethnicities.
  4. Richard V Well-Known Member

    Jul 5, 2013
    Chinese dynasties as late as the Ming expanded into their near abroad when they could, but since the Tang Dynasty they haven't really tried expanding well beyond the Sinophere, which incidentally was the most multicultural empire to emerge out of China.

    The Manchus ran a multi-ethnic state, but they didn't build their empire on tolerance for local customs. The Mongols bought into the system because they would be part of the ruling class and jointly exploit the Han majority with the Manchu elites. Xinjiang was pacified by the genocide of the Dzungars. It's hard to see a Song or Ming era Confucian state adopting this kind of divide and conquer plus genocide approach to conquer distant lands.

    For this hyper Sino empire to exist I think it would have to be a Mongol successor empire where the new Han dynasty retains sufficient political leverage for Mongol successor states to become their clients. Perhaps resembling the relationship between Cossack hosts and the Russian Tsar.
  5. profxyz Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2014
    Hong Kong
    For 1) all of that is doable with an industrialized Tang/Song/Yuan/Ming China that, for whatever reason, abandons the formula of 'vassals' and opts for direct annexation. Not improbable, but will require some major 'shock event' that changes their worldview, or some organizational capability that can overcome logistical/administrative distances. Also possible with a more inclusive non-industrialized Yuan, I suppose.

    2) Again, every scenario in 1) will automatically create 2). For other scenarios, it's probably just a PoD where China industrializes (Song/Yuan/Ming), is interested in exploration (Tang/Song/Yuan/Ming/Qing), or successfully Westernizes (Ming/Qing).

    Re: the Qing, of course there's a big difference between the early Qing and the late Qing attitude towards minorities, perhaps as a result of the (not-so-unjustified) belief that Russia was actively trying to wrest those regions away from the Empire, partly because of increasing Han pressure on the borderlands of the Empire.

    But for the Kangxi/Qianlong periods, the Qing was relatively tolerant towards ethnic minorities, but were rather good at adopting local customs for their own purposes. Just like the Ottoman Empire, for example, imams in Xinjiang had to recite prayers in the name of the Qing Emperors, and Qianlong did build mosques throughout China (though facing the Imperial Palace, rather than Mecca).