The Mandarin Observer - A Chinese ATL

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So, basically the Qing Chinese can be described economically as "state capitalist" in how it has a capitalist economy under strong supervision of the state?
Yeah, basically. The semi-fascist government of the National Enlightenment Party does not want corporations/companies going their own way because to do that allows corruption and corruption can breed dissent against the authority in Bejing, just like it did in OTL. In case you haven't noticed, the Mandate of Heaven still exists, albeit with a Buddhist twist to it.

Of course, this is the Mandarin Observer, so we probably aren't going to hear much news about corruption or how bad it is.
Oh, I don't know. The thing about these types of governments is that they breed... competition within their ranks, but that's a long way off.

I wonder if there would still be a Washington Naval Treaty given the butterflies.
What kind of butterflies are you referring to?

Also, see my concerns about the Japanese update.
Right. I'll make the necessary edits.
 
What kind of butterflies are you referring to?
Like, for instance, the possibility that a PoD in the late 1800s/early 1900s would change the location of the Treaty, its year, or perhaps the terms as Japan is busy thinking about how to protect itself against a united China (even with friendly relations, the Japanese will still have to be wary). But seeing that youve left the Beer Hall Putsch intact, I don't think it's a major issue.
 
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Yangszte River Dam Authority established - 1st January 1927
The August and Blessed Government has announced that a dam network will be built on the Yangszte River

The government made the announcement after praising the efforts of Imperial soldiers to extend the influence of the government into Tibet and Xinjiang. The newly-establihed Dam Authority will provide navigation, flood control, electricity generation, fertilizer manufacturing, and economic development to communities on the Yangszte River.

The resulting dam will bring an end to seasonal flooding of the River, which has brought considerable death and destruction to the area. Efforts to control the flow of the river are not new. The Great Jinjiang Levee, completed in 1548, was one of many barriers constructed, and by the late 19th century the Yangtze could drain through only four openings on the south side of the river. However, this has resulted in sediment being deposited only on the river bottom or in Dongting Lake, which has caused the flood level to rise and created a lowland on the north bank. In addition, many of the lakes that had once acted as flood control either were cut off from the river by levees or were converted into cropland. Deforestation further reduced the capacity of the area to handle intense rains, which created more runoff.

There will be multiple dams constructed within the tributaries of the Yangszte River, stretching from Sichuan to Anhui Provinces, with the largest one taking shape near Sanduoping in Hubei Province. The reason for the multi-dam system is to protect the environment, safeguard national heritage and make sure the dams are strong enough to sustain heavy flooding.

The project is set to begin in May of this year with financial and in some cases, manpower support from companies in Germany and the United States.

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The 1911 Yangszte River flood, which killed over 100,000 people.
 
Chinese language to be simplified - 12 March 1927
The Board of Information has announced that it intends to replace the current Chinese character system, with a simplified version.

The initiative to simplify the language began in 1919, as soon as the Party came to power during the Tienanmen Revolution and was one of the first initiatives by the Information Minister Huang Pian, upon his assumption of the office. The initiative was taken up by a committee of thirty academics who have studied in both China and abroad.

In a statement, the Board of Information made the statement that for too long, information had long been in the hands of the powerful. "In high antiquity, government was carried out with knotted cords [to make records]." Thus, even knotted cords already belonged to the rulers. By the time [writing] fell into the hands of the mages and scribes, it was even more so, inasmuch as they served under the chieftains and over the populace. As society evolved, the scope of those individuals who learned to write expanded, but [writing] was largely still restricted to the privileged. As for the common people, they were illiterate not because they lacked the tuition fees, but simply because they were considered unfit since [writing] was restricted only to those who qualified. Furthermore, they were not even permitted to look at books.", the statement read. In essence, the writing system had been kept in the hands of the rich and powerful.

The statement also highlighted the difficulty of writing the language. "Those who cross over it are the scholar-officials, and these same scholar-officials do their utmost to make writing as difficult as possible because it makes them especially dignified, surpassing all other ordinary scholar-officials. Yang Xiong of the Han dynasty, who had a fondness for strange characters, had this failing. When Liu Xin wished to borrow the manuscript of his Regional Speech (Fang yan), Yang threatened to commit suicide. In the Tang dynasty, Fan Zongshi's essays were written in such a fashion that others could not punctuate them, and Li He wrote poems that were incomprehensible. They all did this for the same reason",[1]

The solution to this, in the Board's eyes, is to impose a Latinization system, consisting of 28 letters, with simplistic spelling and a alphabet for every dialect in the country. For example, in a pamphlet released by the Board to the Mandarin Observer, "Man" is rhen, "home" is fangz. "I eat fruit" is Wo ch goz. "He is a worker" is Ta sh gungrhen.

The Board has said that it will introduce the system gradually over the course of twenty years to create as small a gap between the two systems as possible.

In response to questions about the fate of what are now being called Traditional Characters the Information Minister has stated that it will not allow the writing system to go extinct, but at the same time, it will attempt to place more emphasis on the Simplified Characters in the education system.

[1] I took the quotes from this website
 
Largely replacing Chinese characters with a phonetic script strikes me as very implausible, given the nature of written Chinese and the political orientation of the ruling party.

First, written Chinese, even vernacular, is dependent on a massive number of homophones. Knowledge of the different characters is necessary for comprehension of any complex subject. Now of course, a big enough effort would be able to overcome this by standardizing terms and eliminating as many ambiguities in the new phoneticized language as possible, but this would cause two problems: (a) that nobody would be able to comprehend anything written in "old" Chinese, even if it were given in "simplified characters," and (b) that the ability to invent new terms would be largely limited to foreign loanwords since nobody except specialized researchers would have knowledge of native Chinese etymology. (a) is a particularly problematic since Chinese poetry and the classics are utterly unworkable without Hanzi.

This leads me to the second issue, namely that the political inclinations of a halfway traditionalist ruling class that favors Chinese Buddhism would make them staunchly opposed to such radical change to the language. Phoneticization would render it extremely difficult to understand the Buddhist scriptures for the reasons described above, and also dampen understanding of theological concepts developed in China over the centuries.

tl;dr: if even the communists decided not to go with Latinizing Chinese, there's little chance of a traditionalist government doing so.
 
Now of course, a big enough effort would be able to overcome this by standardizing terms and eliminating as many ambiguities in the new phoneticized language as possible, but this would cause two problems: (a) that nobody would be able to comprehend anything written in "old" Chinese, even if it were given in "simplified characters," and (b) that the ability to invent new terms would be largely limited to foreign loanwords since nobody except specialized researchers would have knowledge of native Chinese etymology. (a) is a particularly problematic since Chinese poetry and the classics are utterly unworkable without Hanzi.
I was actually debating whether or not I would even touch the concept of simplifying the Chinese language, but I decided that if the Party had to remain in power, then it would have to simplify the language so the people could be better educated. But, I couldn't find enough research material on the Simplified Chinese characters aside from the Epoch Times (and I know from personal experience not to trust that website) and Quora (which, while useful, didn't exactly give me much to go on), so I went with Latinizing the language instead. I don't exactly have a high amount of education on the subject, but I deemed it too important to not mention.

I actually had your first point in mind, which is why I specifically said the change would be introduced gradually and that the government was going to keep Traditional Chinese around. The people will have a choice if they want to study Traditional Chinese or not, along with Mongol, Tibetan, Uyghur, etc. I believed that the lack of a Cultural Revolution would lessen the schism between Old China and the new China that the NEP wants to build, meaning that the chances of mass illiteracy would be lessened. The people will si0ill have Traditional Chinese textbooks to draw on so they can understand what the roots of this phonetic language are.

I saw your point on another thread on this website and I wrote that in just in case someone made a similar comment.

This leads me to the second issue, namely that the political inclinations of a halfway traditionalist ruling class that favors Chinese Buddhism would make them staunchly opposed to such radical change to the language. Phoneticization would render it extremely difficult to understand the Buddhist scriptures for the reasons described above, and also dampen understanding of theological concepts developed in China over the centuries.
Good point, but I'm sure the NEP would find some way to justify it, such as citing the fact that simplification of the language to this extent, along with retaining the Traditional characters as a option, would make it easier for the Chinese people (and potentially others) to achieve the four aspects of knowledge, according to Buddhism. They could potentially equate it to Buddha walking thirty miles to teach a poor person and then making sure that person was fed before he received spiritual education.
 
Clarification on the Status of the Chinese Language - 15th March 1927
It has come to the Board of Information's attention that some are opposed to the simplified character program announced by the Information Minister and believe that it will undermine their familial connection to our ancient past.

We wish to clarify that the Traditional Characters will retain official status within the August and Blessed Government, due to the special place it has in our history and culture. It will co-exist alongside Simplified Characters on all documents and paraphernalia. There shall be no law that will place Simplified Characters above any other writing system within the Chinese nation.

As for education, all schools will be mandated to have at least one Traditional Characters class where children will learn about it's importance to the development of the Chinese nation. All Chinese citizens will be expected to be fluent in both Simplified and Traditional Characters.

When it comes to studying Buddhism, religious study will be a Traditional Character-only subject, due to the complex nature of the subjects contained within. Religious texts will not be translated to Simplified Characters and Buddhist monks, while expected to, do not necessarily have to study Simplified Characters. Monasteries will be encouraged to teach Traditional Characters. To study Buddhism is to undertake a spiritual journey. Studying it in the Traditional Characters only will preserve the sanctity of the experience. Religion will always have a role within the country's education system, without exception.

The Board of Information would also like to emphasize that as the Chinese civilization is the most ancient and therefore, the most superior civilization , it is the view that Europeans (except for our White Russian and German compatriots, of course), lack the discipline to fully understand our way of life, so the Simplified Characters were created for the ease of European visitors to our country.
 
Government prepares charter for first Chinese car company as Ford suffers - 1st March 1930
As the Great Depression continues to sweep the world, the Chinese automobile industry has been placed in danger by the potential withdrawal of Ford Motor Company from the Chinese market.

While the Ford Motor Company hasn't explicitly declared their intent to leave China, it's spokesman for Chinese Operations has said that operations within the country will be substantially reduced to cope with the economic turmoil wrought on the company by the collapse of the American stock market in October.

At the time of the 1929 meltdown, the Ford Motor Company had just ceased production of the Model T automobile and had begun production of the Model A. There about a dozen of each car within the country, produced by Chinese labour unburdened by the chaos that is the American labour system[1]

In response to the potential pullout, the August and Blessed Government has revealed that it is preparing a charter for the first ever Chinese car company - Chuang-Xin[2][3] - in the event that particular factories, mostly located in the south of the country, are forced to shut down. "We will not, under any circumstances, allow the Chinese automobile industry to crash and burn so soon after the Chinese people gave birth to it", a statement from the Board of Industry declared. The company will reportedly continue production of cars based on the Ford design.


[1] If you know about Ford, you probably know what I'm talking about.
[2] Mandarin for 'innovation'
[3] Also, the first Chinese car company in OTL wouldn't exist until 1947. Feel free to debate the impact of this on the world's automobile industry (if there is any).
 
Food-Binding Exhibiton draws crowds 11 years after ban - 1st August 1930
A grotesque, but necessary exhibition, is on display in Shanghai, showing the horrors of foot-binding.

Foot-binding is the process of applying tight wrappings to the feet of young girls to modify their shape and size. The process resulted in the victims having broken toes, with the victim's toes being pressed tightly under the sole, with the wrapping forcing the foot to fold at the arch. This happened to children between the ages of 4 and 9. The idea was that women with bound feet would be attractive to prospective partners.

Foot binding was prevalent from the Southern Tang dynasty in the 10th Century to the Tienanmen Revolution in 1919, when it was finally banned across the country. The Manchus had attempted to ban it in 1644, but failed. To give credit where it is due, even foreigners knew that foot-binding was a barbaric practice, with the first anti-footbinding committee being established in 1874 by a British missionary.

Daoism, from which our interpretation of the Buddha, is inspired, teaches that masculinity and femininity are two complementary forces that cannot exist without each other. In the state's correct version of Buddhism[1] and in Tibetan Buddhism as well, women can become nuns and are just as capable of achieving enlightenment as men are. Since women can achieve enlightenment, then they have more to contribute than just cooking rice for their husbands[2]. It is for this reason that foot-binding was outlawed by Imperial Decree not long after the installation of the National Enlightenment Party to power.

The living examples of foot-binding are quite gruesome, with these women being unable to walk or function as normal members of society as a result of their predisposed place in a society that did not have the wisdom of the Buddha. According to government inspectors, 0 percent to 50 percent of Chinese women had bound feet in the 19th century. For the upper classes, the figure was almost 100 percent. There are estimates that as many as 2 billion Chinese women have broken and bound their feet

The exhibit draws attention to the practice's basis in Confucianism and how that belief system perpetuates a culture of civility where daughters are placed at a inferior position to their brothers within the family structure. "Confucianism perpetuates a patriarchy which is dangerous to Chinese women", the leader of the newly-founded Lotus Women's Foundation, Xu Jin, proclaimed at the exhibiton. "We must reject ideologies which say women must damage themselves to please men",


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Comparing normal feet to so-called 'lotus feet',

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Wealthy Chinese women with their feet bound


[1] Just in case anyone is curious, the National Enlightenment Party follows the Mahayana branch of Buddhism and to be specific, follows a mixture of Chan and Pure Land Buddhism.
[2] Before anyone brings it up, I am aware that different versions of Buddhism have different views on gender equality.
 
1st July 1931 - Japanese tourists arrested in Liaoning Peninsula
Three Japanese individuals have been arrested and charged with espionage in Liaoning Peninsula.

When arrested, the individuals were found to have photographs of 'water tanks' delivered to China from France, along with photographic equipment, in their possession. The spies are allegedly members of Japanese military intelligence

The individuals were put under interrogation where they allegedly admitted their activities and they are to be transported to Beijing for trial before the Supreme Court. A life sentence is the maximum penalty they can receive if arrested.

The Japanese embassy in Beijing has filed an official diplomatic protest, claiming the individuals are simply tourists and are residents of the Japanese enclave of Ryojun.
 
18th September 1931 - Japanese media spreads lies of 'Chinese attack'
Japanese media have gone into a bizarre tailspin with reports of a 'Chinese attack' on their troops.

The stories began disseminating today when quoting unknown sources, a Tokyo newspaper described a Chinese artillery assault on a Japanese garrison near the border with Japanese-controlled Korea. The attack allegedly killed 20 Japanese soldiers and injured several dozen.

The Foreign Ministry, of course, has denied the attack ever took place and staff of the Mandarin Observer can testify to this, as they have interviewed several people near the site of the alleged incident and it is unanimous that this attack never took place and is a invention of Japanese propaganda.

Relations between the Japanese and Chinese governments have been deteriorating somewhat after he 1929 Wall Street Crash, which severely affected Japanese exports, and the so-called 'Liaoning Incident' earlier this year in which several Japanese spies were arrested, tried and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Imperial troops have been ordered to their combat positions in preparation for a potential Japanese assault on the Three Northeastern Provinces.
 
20th September 1931 - Proclamation of War
PROCLAMATION OF WAR BETWEEN THE GREAT QING AND THE EMPIRE OF JAPAN
20th September 1931

People of China and the world, yesterday, 19th September 1931, our peace-loving country's Liaoning Province was viciously assaulted by the military forces of the Empire of Japan.

The attack on that peninsula conssited of a poorly organized infantry and armoured assault on the cities of Yingkou and Andong. The enemy used out of date human wave tactics against machine gun companies and our tanks, while the enemy foolishly had no tanks to speak of.

A counter-attack resulted in the capture of the southern tip of the Liaoning Province and as I speak, artillery is resounding throughout the Three Northeastern Provinces against Japanese forces in Korea

For 36 years, the Japanese Empire has used Korea as their doorstep into mainland Asia and they have used the peninsula's strategic position to threaten Chinese interests. This is a situation that is intolerable. When we retaliate, and we will retaliate, our offensive won't stop until we reach Pusan. We will not stop until Korea is taken out of Japanese hands.

On that note, I would like to officially proclaim that the Great Qing formally recognizes the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea as the sole, legitimate government of Korea. I have been in discussions with President Yi Dong-nyeong and he has agreed to establish a force of 150 Korean refugees to fight beside their Chinese liberators.

Of course, the issue of Taiwan is close to the hearts of every Chinese citizen and it's liberation will be part of the military's mandate for anti-Japanese operations. We will liberate Taiwan from the hands of the enemy, with whatever means necessary and we will ask the Chinese soldier to give up his life if necessary to see this territory returned to the Chinese fold.

Let today be a warning to any who oppose us from within or without! The Chinese nation can never be deceived or destroyed and we will always defeat our enemies!

I henceforth declare a state of hostilities between the Great Qing and the Empire of Japan and I will give this singular warning to all foreign powers: Stay out of our internal affairs.

Yong Yi Zhongguo!​
 
Of course, the issue of Taiwan is close to the hearts of every Chinese citizen and it's liberation will be part of the military's mandate for anti-Japanese operations. We will liberate Taiwan from the hands of the enemy, with whatever means necessary and we will ask the Chinese soldier to give up his life if necessary to see this territory returned to the Chinese fold.
This raises a good point about how good the Chinese Navy is right now, TBH.
 
This raises a good point about how good the Chinese Navy is right now, TBH.
I agree. I've been tinkering with ideas about the Chinese Navy and I've decided that for now at least, the main aim of the Chinese Navy, will be to facilitate the recapture of Taiwan, so maybe the Chinese focused on building landing craft and airbases near the Taiwan Strait to bomb Japanese ships in the Strait.

Of course, there's also the freaking weather to worry about...
 
30th September 1931 - Chinese forces drive deeply into Japanese territory
Chinese forces have given the Japanese a bloody nose in Korea

Chinese troops swept across the Yalu River along a 550 kilometre front, intent on forcing the Japanese to retreat from the border region. With the forested and hilly areas of the region impassable to tanks, Chinese infantry had to fight their enemies on foot, with only the Imperial Air Force to support them.

Japanese troops were able to inflict dozens of casualties on Chinese troops in the region surrounding the objective of Onjong, But after a three day skirmish, Onjong fell to Chinese forces.

Survivors of the battle of Kanggye report that the Japanese employed booby traps such as tripwire and banzai charges in defence of the city and they largely retreated when the Chinese troops pushed through. "Bastards don't fight fair", one soldier replied, after having lost his leg in a tripwire incident.

While the villages are indeed important areas, the objectives of the imperial Chinese Army also include liberating the Gyeongui Line, beginning with Sinuju, it being across the road from the Chinese city of Dandong made it perfect tank terrain, though some of the tanks fell victim to vicious urban fighting with the Japs turning the tanks into metal tombs for our soldiers.

Not long after the liberation of Sinuju, it was proclaimed as the provisional capital of the Republic of Korea, with President Yi Dog-neyeong personally visiting the Chinese troops and thanking them for their dedication to the liberation of his homeland.

The Imperial Air Force also performed a exemplary service, with machine guns pummeling enemy aircraft until their tail-fins explode into a fiery ball. There is, of course, the bomber aircraft providing support to our troops.

On that note, Japanese aircraft and heavy cruisers have also carried attacks along China's western coast, with 10-15 civilians being killed in the assault.

Over the course of the ten-day offensive into Korea, according to official military records,

- 100-200 Chinese soldiers have been killed in the line of duty
- 5 Chinese pilots have been killed, two have been injured
- 50 Chinese soldiers have been severely injured
- 350 Japanese soldiers have been killed
-5 Japanese soldiers taken prisoner

On a secondary note, it has been reported that Japanese soldiers are retreating from the area surrounding the Turmen River, which the Chinese have taken.

Wherever the soldiers are fighting in Korea, they all agree on their one objective to be reached by the end of the month: Pyongyang, the historic capital of the Korean nation.


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Two Chinese soldiers stand over the body of a dead Jap

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The main type of mine being faced by our troops.

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One of the many Chinese tanks used in the assault on Sinuju


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The Korean Railway Network used by the Japanese, but is now being taken by our troops

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A Japanese bomb explodes in Shanghai
 
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