WI: Qing China collapsed mid-19th century

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Solomi, Jun 26, 2017.

  1. Solomi Giết chúng!

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    As you know, during the the period from 1850 to 1874 China was wracked by one conflicts after another from the Taipei Civil War to the Nien Rebellion to the Second Opium War.

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    Miraculously, the Qing still managed to put down the numerous rebellions and continue to be a functioning state for a few more decades.

    But what if that weren't the case? What if the Qing collapse sometime during this period, when the rebellions are still going on in full-swing?
     
  2. Admiral A. Kolchak Supreme Leader

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    Interesting.

    The Europeans will probably move in and establish protectorates and stuff, but I don't see them actually colonizing it since China is as populous as Europe itself.

    Eventually, a reunited Chinese Republic will probably rise from the ashes; how long this will take is another matter.

    On a side note, will Mongolia keep its outer regions? Is Sinkiang going to be independent?
     
  3. Escape Zeppelin Well-Known Member

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    Depending on how those protectorates are managed I could see several Chinas existing for a good long while, even well after independence. The US for example is likely to treat their portion of China similar to the Philippines or Cuba with an eye for eventual independence and will probably support it militarily against any forced attempt at reunification.
     
  4. metalinvader665 Well-Known Member

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    Would it be a republic or could another dynasty be established, thinking of Yuan Shikai's attempt.
     
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  5. Admiral A. Kolchak Supreme Leader

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    I find it unlikely that that could happen during the age of democracy and dictators, and so long after the fall of the last one.
     
  6. Richard V Well-Known Member

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    OTL China collapsed in 1911 and more or less united in 1928 with a 17 year warlord era in between.
     
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  7. Galba Otho Vitelius Well-Known Member

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    "TL China collapsed in 1911 and more or less united in 1928 with a 17 year warlord era in between."

    ???? China did not unite until 1949. Even if you consider that that China was "united" in 1927, it only lasted a decade.

    At any rate, the enthusiasm among the elites for basically junking the imperial system and other Chinese traditions and adopting western models, which eventually led to a Marxist republic, didn't really start until the failure of the Boxer rebelling.

    And collapses of imperial dynasties in the past followed certain patterns, though granted the presence of aggressive newly industrialized states able to project power into China, when China hadn't industrialized, changes things considerably. But one pattern was a lengthy (at least several decades) period of multipolarity, or disunity if you prefer, until a regional power, or warlord if you prefer, conquered the whole mess and started a new dynasty. These periods included a period when the old dynasty was theoretically in charge but did not control anything beyond the Forbidden City, if they had that. Even the shortest transitions, to an from the Ming, had this feature.

    Since the Boxer Rebellion hasn't happened yet, China will follow this pattern. The European holdings might be more substantial IOTL. One interesting possibility is that with more substantial holdings, other countries start intervening to keep China dis-united.

    But things may well turn out the same way as IOTL until Mao prevails around 1949. But Mao being a communist might be butterflied away.
     
  8. Richard V Well-Known Member

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    There was only one central government and though its rule was weak it none the less ruled. The Communists were never strong enough to form a separate state, they themselves were not even unified in this period. What kept China together was the external threat from the Japanese, Russians, and Europeans. I would actually say without this foreign threat that was too strong to ignore yet too weak to actually carve up the country, China would've taken a lot longer to unify.
     
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  9. metalinvader665 Well-Known Member

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    What do you mean? Someone with force of will and popular support could become Emperor. Look at how Reza Shah Pahlavi replaced the Qajar dynasty. There's plenty of parallels to be drawn between Reza Shah Pahlavi and Yuan Shikai, excluding the fact that Yuan Shikai failed.
     
  10. Admiral A. Kolchak Supreme Leader

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    True...

    He'll still be a foreign puppet, though.
     
  11. metalinvader665 Well-Known Member

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    To some extent, yes. But China has nowhere to go but up at that point. China was proposed as one of the "Four Policemen" by President Roosevelt, so clearly China can clear a way to have plenty of influence regionally.
     
  12. Admiral A. Kolchak Supreme Leader

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    This a country that was just toppled by rebellions. It's in no place to immediately become a power. In time, though, yes.
     
  13. AvatarOfKhaine Eldar God of War

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    Well it also depends on the rebellion, after all the Heavenly Kingdom of the Taiping would have just been a new dynasty if successful. And with the Western Powers intervening heavily to restore order IOTL, then a victorious Taiping would probably be able to take all the concessions, even if only for a short time while the anti-Taiping coalition regroups.

    Also, some of the later rebellions would see earlier Japanese annexations of Korea, Taiwan and beyond.

    All rebellions during this period would likely see Russia try to peel off some of the Hui areas, Britain move in over Tibet as part of the Raj and possible integration of some of the other kingdoms such as Nepal and Bhutan in the same campaigns against Tibet.

    So depending on rebellion/revolt, then either a new Dynasty in the Middle Kingdom or an early Warlord era/further division of Tianxia.
     
  14. dandan_noodles Well-Known Member

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    One thing I'd be interested in seeing is a successful modernizing Taiping dynasty [Chu dynasty, maybe?] in a cold war against a Manchu rump state in Manchuria and Mongolia under Russian [or maybe Japanese, wanting to use them as a corridor to attack Vladivostok] suzerainty. Han China united under a nationalistic dynasty committed to industrialization and trade by 1900 at latest would have incredible potential.
     
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  15. Xianfeng Emperor Amateur Iran-o-phile

    Incredible potential, yes, but I'd say you'd still have to cut out the worst partz of the Taiping cult for the dynasty to not become a pariah state and suffer an alt-8 nations alliance.
     
  16. dandan_noodles Well-Known Member

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    Hong Xiuquan is absolutely a madman, so you'd definitely want him spending more time on his poetry, but Hong Rengan was a lot more friendly with the foreigners, so I would think he'd do what he could to avoid an eight nations situation.
     
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  17. 123456789blaaa Well-Known Member

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    Hong Rengan did that. For example, he added Confucius back into the exams and Protestantized some aspects of Taiping worship. Whenever the Taiping gets brought up, people forget that plenty of rebellions across all world history had really crazy parts. They moderate after they get into power. People constantly say that China would fall apart and that Taiping China would as bad as Mao's China X10, which neglects the special circumstances behind Mao's rule.
     
  18. Monter Well-Known Member

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    What would prevent Rengan from ending up like Prince Gong?
     
  19. 123456789blaaa Well-Known Member

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    Their situations are completely different? Hong is at the top of a newly built order, instead of a established order built on obsolete premises. A lot of the time, it's much easier to moderzie the former rather than the latter. This is because established organizations/states have entrenched forces that are disadvantaged when modernization happens. The same principle is a big factor in why Mehmet Ali's Egypt was able to modernize quicker and easier than the Ottoman Empire. Or why Revolutionary/Napoleonic France was able to become so powerful while the Ancien Regime was failing to even sustain itself. The Taiping don't have the same entrenched forces as the Qing do that benefit from reactionary policies. This is because the Taiping aren't a separate ethnic military elite ruling over a huge mass of Han.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2017
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  20. darthfanta Offline

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    I can say with definitive certainty that all of the successor states that originally splintered off from the Qing would be monarchies for a while.

    It's the age of democracy and dictators in Europe,but not in China.Most of the country's elites were not quite exposed to the ideas of the west yet and held them in suspicion.