World of the United Front Continued - A graphics TL of China and the world

Chinese Domestic Affairs and International Relations after the First Cold War
Chinese feminists: Crack down on sex offenders in positions of power!
The West: Yes, China's finally showing cracks! This will be the greatest triumph of democracy!
Chinese government: Hmm, these protesters have a point. Let's listen to the issues they have and do something about them
The West: ... heck
  1. I know you said this has nothing to do with OTL events, but I still want to ask: there have been recent controversies in China about the exact sort of thing that the feminists here (and OTL, I suppose) are protesting, with accusations of sexual abuse against men in power (at least from what I heard). Is this by any chance related to that?
  2. So, is the Second Cold War a commonly used term in this TL with regards to the Sino-Western relations?
  3. What is the relationship between China and the Internet in TTL? Is there anything on the scale of the Great Firewall, or is the censorship more limited?
  4. What is the situation of Hong Kong and Macau in this TL?
Chinese feminists: Crack down on sex offenders in positions of power!
The West: Yes, China's finally showing cracks! This will be the greatest triumph of democracy!
Chinese government: Hmm, these protesters have a point. Let's listen to the issues they have and do something about them
The West: ... heck
  1. I know you said this has nothing to do with OTL events, but I still want to ask: there have been recent controversies in China about the exact sort of thing that the feminists here (and OTL, I suppose) are protesting, with accusations of sexual abuse against men in power (at least from what I heard). Is this by any chance related to that?
  2. So, is the Second Cold War a commonly used term in this TL with regards to the Sino-Western relations?
  3. What is the relationship between China and the Internet in TTL? Is there anything on the scale of the Great Firewall, or is the censorship more limited?
  4. What is the situation of Hong Kong and Macau in this TL?

1. It's not so much "nothing to do with OTL", more "nothing to do with particular OTL current events". There's some vague inspiration from, like, 1990s feminism and its successes and limitations (stuff like the "year of the woman", the Clarence Thomas nomination and backlash, stuff like that). As well as broader historical stuff in China with, like, the "iron girls* and then a sort of return to traditionalist stereotypes and pressure for women after Mao died. The recent stuff in China that you bring up falls under the broader OTL trends in China that this TL's China is contrasted against, but this was related to/inspired by the broader trends over the course of the PRC's history rather than the recent stuff in particular

2. Not quite. It's kind of a broader and less clear thing

I'm not yet sure of the specifics but my broad outline for the future, going into the 2000s, 2010s, and beyond, is for an increase in global tensions and conflicts between the "west" and elsewhere, but with the boundaries and definitions of the thing that gets called the "Second Cold War" depending on who you ask, without a precise academic consensus. There's the Union State, the Russia plus Belarus that also still intervenes in places like Georgia, and with Lukashenko beating Yeltsin in 96, takes a bit of an earlier tilt against the "west" with a more intense rivalry with the west vs OTL. That part of the conflict is the most commonly cited ITTL as either the Second Cold War or at least part of it

There's also a western-Iranian (along with regional Iranian backed governments and militias) rivalry/conflicts, though, and China is the one least likely to be seen as an active short term threat, with generally neutral relations with the west, but there's concerns about the rise of China's soft power influence and economy, and there's some fears that eventually some sort of significant conflict would emerge with China. So the idea of the "Second Cold War" ITTL May refer to a simple west-Union State conflict, or a sort of extended Union State/Iran alignment against the west, or a broad "west vs the rest" alignment, and there's some who'd argue that the west-Union State rivalry is just something that distracts the west from dealing with the communist China that they'd argue should actually be seen as the main threat

So "Second Cold War" is a term used to refer to the continued opposition to or at least lack of alignment with the west after the USSR fell, but it can refer to a mix of different rivalries and tensions, and Chinese-western relations often get lumped into the term but are often not seen as the primary or most urgent conflict or tension in what someone would consider to be the Second Cold War. If that makes any sense

3. Much more limited censorship, with the government feeling secure enough in its position (with a strong economy that delivers a comfortable standard of living, various social reforms, social engineerings, cultural initiatives, what appears to be a genuine popularity of and adoption of socialistic ideals, and so on) to not need to restrict speech and access to media and information over the internet. There's significant government surveillance, but a pretty light touch when it comes to actual censorship

4. Chinese administration is restored to Hong Kong and Macau earlier than OTL. I'm not sure exactly when, perhaps during WWII China just sort of occupies Hong Kong while the UK is busy fighting Germany, perhaps instead there's a mix of pressure and diplomacy with the Chinese entering the war with the USSR and managing to negotiate an earlier handover. Or perhaps instead the Chinese are able to negotiate for it during one of the Sino-Soviet disputes. Macau could have been annexed earlier than Hong Kong, with the notion of just marching in along the lines of the Indian annexation of Goa and pissing Portugal off being less of a risk than pissing the British off that way

At any rate, the cities are quickly integrated into China rather than gradually with the SAR status as OTL. There's some opposition, portions of the populations of the cities were not necessarily all that enthusiastic about the handover, but with the earlier handovers occuring before the end of the First Cold War and before the electoral reforms for more democracy in British Hong Kong, there's less of a sustained pro-democracy movement, and with the state capitalist/NEP orientation of the Chinese government, the cities were able to retain a degree of the trade ties they had before retrocession. At this point, both territories are largely forgotten in terms of hot-button foreign policy discourse

mr Memer

LGBT Rights in China (and elsewhere), to 2010

Homosexuality in China has been documented going back millennia. Historically, the situation was complicated, with a degree of acceptance for certain classes and at certain points of time, and less acceptance at others. During the Qing era, the government enacted the first official ban on consensual homosexual relations, and during the "Self Strengthening Movement" after the Opium Wars, historical instances of homosexuality in China were increasingly ignored or censored. After the "Xinhai Revolution" establishing the Republic of China, explicit legal bans on homosexual relations were abolished, though at the same time the Republic period saw a degree of intensification of homophobia in society

With the establishment of the Socialist Republic of China in 1934, homosexuality remained legal. The ruling Communist Party itself had mixed opinions on the matter but generally leaned in favor of gay rights in theory. Some of the largest cities saw a degree of open advocacy for gay rights, with informal Party protection in those areas. Through much of China and among the masses, however, homosexuality was seen in a rather negative light. In order to pander to the masses, lessen dissent, and aid in the strengthening of party control, the Party took what was (then) moderate stance of refusing to outright ban it, but considering it to be an "abnormality" and "mental illness" (though not necessarily an urgent public health crisis), and refusing to make any public support for gay rights (though local party branches in some particularly progressive areas were informally allowed to take a different stance)

Socialist China in the 30s was far from a perfect place for LGBT people, but was nonetheless a place some ended up seeking refuge in. Georgy Chicherin was one such example. A Bolshevik and former Menshevik, and a gay man, he had for a time been the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs in the USSR, and had been trusted by Stalin. But things would take a turn for the worse, with his criticism of certain politicians contributing in part to him losing favor among Soviet leadership, and with the recriminalization of homosexuality in the USSR in 1933, he found himself largely sidelined. After being accused of Trotskyism and with an impending trial for that and homosexuality, he fled from the USSR (with a group of Trotskyites, though he himself was not one at that time) and was quietly granted refuge within China. At around the same time, the Nazis were rising to power in Germany and had (among many other things) suppressed the "Scientific-Humanitarian Committee" and the "Institute for Sexual Science", organizations that studied sexuality and advocated for LGBT rights. A number of figures associated with the organizations fled to China, and while Magnus Hirschfeld himself (the founder of those organizations) went into exile first in France, he visited China and later took up residence there, with the Chinese government being interested in funding sexual research of their own. As the 30s progressed and Nazi repression increased, the Chinese government was one of the most open countries when it came to accepting refugees, regarding this issue and more broadly as well

Government-funded research ended up showing that homosexuality was apparently natural and unharmful, which helped contribute to a solidifying of (at least theoretical) support for gay rights among the Communist Party leadership. But the Party in the 30s, 40s, and 50s was in no mood to push major change on that front - it was enough to balance other matters like industrialization, expansion of education and infrastructure, and more prioritized social reforms like women's liberation (given higher prioritization due to the potential to significantly boost production with women increasingly entering the workforce - a sort of "two birds, one stone" situation). Those decades saw a slow shift in opinions among the cities, but continued conservative stances in the countryside, with conservative sentiment periodically bubbling over into incidents of mass homophobic hysteria and mob violence. In an attempt to appease the rural conservatives and also minimize harm done, the Party enacted a "public health campaign" in areas with such conservative sentiment, snatching up those accused of homosexuality, and placing them in "curative mental sanitoriums". Though marketed to the public as places that would use science to turn people heterosexual, the sanitoriums were run by the Ministry of Health and Mental Hygiene (which had accepted the science backing the pro-homosexual rights arguments), and in actuality largely acted as secluded gay communities where those who were well and truly rejected by their communities could find some covert refuge. With the end of these "public health campaigns" and the shifting social and legal winds, most of the sanitoriums would be closed down, but some such areas had grown so large that the opening-up would see significant LGBT communities remaining in the area

The 60s saw an acceleration of social change in China. Access to, quality of, and level of education had grown significantly since the conditions immediately after the Second Sino-Japanese War and the declaration of the Socialist Republic. The economy had significantly expanded, with the increasingly educated and literate population having more access to information (including social science/psychology publications, such as those increasingly being published suggesting that the "homosexuality as mental illness" approach was not appropriate). And the "down from the mountains and up from the countryside" phenomenon was in full swing - a combination of workers seeking industrial work (with mechanization and improved farming techniques leading to greater agricultural output from fewer workers) and youth seeking education in the higher-quality urban schools had led to a sharp uptick in urbanization. Among other things, research showed that simply being in the cities, for a number of reasons including greater exposure to a diversity of people and ideas, led to both a base shift in favor of more progressive stances and increased openness to attempts by the Party to further push social progress. For these reasons and others, the 60s saw a rise in social activism, particularly among youth and students but also among urban areas in general, for further social progress, including on LGBT rights. By 1969, the Party felt secure enough to officially declassify homosexuality as a mental illness, and to shift from appeasement of rural conservatives to a more robust protection of the right of homosexuals to openly exist across the country without fear of retribution or need to be relocated

The Party was cautious in advocating for further rights. But with an increased ability for pro-gay public advocacy at the grassroots, and with the party quietly supporting the movement through side-channels even as it publicly still tended to avoid talking about the issue, public opinion would continue to shift in the 70s. By 1972, military regulations were changed to explicitly allow for openly gay persons to serve (with instances of service in the Chinese intervention in the Second Indochina War getting some attention and use by the movement to shift hearts and minds), and in 1974, reforms were passed broadly banning discrimination regarding sexual orientation. In 1979, civil unions were established to give gay partnership rights, and in 1984, the Party made the national marriage code gender-neutral, while also legalizing adoption to non-straight couples. China thus became the first country to legalize gay marriage (with Korea soon-after becoming the second). Further developments in the expansion of LGBT rights would occur, with the 90s seeing transgender protection and identity laws, non-discrimination legislation for gender identity and expression, and transitioning surgery being added to the national universal healthcare system

View attachment 693019

Party leadership desired to encourage LGBT rights abroad as well, but in the 70s and 80s, this just was not a practical possibility. By the 90s, however, public opinion in other countries had begun to shift, to the point where there could be room for China to have an impact. It became a matter of some debate within the Party and country - China entered the 90s strong and on a good trajectory, but the fall of the USSR and its bloc left China feeling rather isolated and afraid of rocking the boat. Plus the 90s also saw a strong shift in China in favor of promoting green policy at home and abroad. Some in the party suggested leveraging the use of foreign aid in order to promote LGBT rights abroad, but this was seen as potentially further isolating the country and threatening the global green development solidarity aid efforts. So the Party in the 90s went with a "soft touch" approach, with limited attempts to somewhat influence things abroad here and there, but generally trying to avoid taking risks

The 2000s saw a further shift abroad, however, with opinion in various areas shifting even more towards acceptance of LGBT rights. The Party began to do more, with the creation of a "two tier" economic aid system - giving some development aid to various poorer countries regardless of their civil rights stances, but giving more aid to those countries that were willing to enact legislation to protect human rights (not just LGBT rights, though the political shift in the Party coincided with a global shift in attitudes on that issue as well as domestic discourse over desires to do more to promote LGBT rights in particular), or remove/reduce restrictions if in place. The Party also took other measures, such as the creation of the "Chicherin Brigades" (named after the Soviet refugee, who became a notable advocate for gay rights after immigrating to China), all-LGBT subdivisions of the Solidarity Corps, with the intent to expand representation in areas assisted overseas. LGBT people could of course also serve in the regular Solidarity Corps groups, and plenty did, with less risk of danger by being able to blend in with the crowd, but the Chicherin Brigades (as well as all-woman units, for a similar purpose regarding promotion of feminist ideas abroad) nonetheless had some success in somewhat shifting opinion in some areas. And the Party was able to exert a fair amount of soft power for influence via the Chinese media empire, as well

View attachment 693022

By the end of the 2000s, the LGBT rights movement had seen a fair amount of success around the globe, Various parts of the Americas, Oceania, and Europe had also seen expansions of rights. Even areas like Africa and Asia, which saw substantial opposition overall, saw some successes. In Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, and particularly communist Angola followed South Africa in the direction of substantial LGBT rights legislation and initiatives (in some part, but not only, due to Chinese involvement in the region), and other areas saw at least some limited reforms. In Asia, communist Indonesia stood out as a major success for the movement, and under the Faheem government, Pakistan had reduced penalties and showed potential for further reductions. The LGBT movement entered the new decade with the potential for even more success

View attachment 693020

As for within China itself, by the end of the 2000s, legal rights and protections had been in place for LGBT people for years and in many cases decades. By this time, the laws were strongly enforced. And the general public was generally supportive of LGBT issues - some opposition remained, particularly in the rural areas, but that opposition had been rendered irrelevant as a social force of any strength, and individual incidents were steadily on the decline even in those areas


(and a larger version of the map in the thing)

View attachment 693023

(note that it uses a midyear 2010 map as a base, there's some cases where the base had colorings that don't necessarily make sense according to what I can see, like Pakistan having "life in prison" when the law doesn't actually appear to have been as such, so the coloring of Pakistan here represents lessened penalties vs what the base map had, despite the current version of the map showing even lesser penalties than this one despite no apparent actual legal change since when the base map was made. I considered just changing it to be more accurate, but since that would have meant having to double check every country in order to satisfy a half-assed sense of perfectionism, I opted to instead go for a half-assed attempt at "authenticity")

(which kinda flies out the window with the whole "foreign marriages recognized" color, since that wasn't a thing until 2012, and has ceased to exist... I actually made a version of this map for the present day back in like 2019 or something, before they changed it to purple, and what can I say, I just like the older color more so I stuck with it)
Communism Moment
@Lacktoastandtolerant, in this timeline you mentioned there was a period that was like the troubles and I think you mentioned there are still some militas operating. Would you say anti-Asian sentiment is higher given how many Asian countries are communist and sucessful? Have there been more attacks on them as a result?
@Lacktoastandtolerant, in this timeline you mentioned there was a period that was like the troubles and I think you mentioned there are still some militas operating. Would you say anti-Asian sentiment is higher given how many Asian countries are communist and sucessful? Have there been more attacks on them as a result?
Good question. Yes, I'd say that anti-Asian sentiment is and has been higher in the TL. The factors you mention are tempered a bit by different immigration aspects. With a better situation in the various Asian communist countries, there's less in the way of refugees fleeing from oppression and poverty, with the refugees that did still come to America being more motivated by ideological reasons (strong anti-communism) first and foremost, and being seen as such in American society. But there's still those who have general racist values, as well as those with strong anti-communist sentiment mixed with racial biases who end up seeing Asian-Americans as a potential fifth column for the Asian communists, and so on. And with the remnant militias as well as something of a non militia, somewhat less radical (but still radical) wing adjacent to them, there's a bit more ability for bigoted sentiments to survive and thrive among a somewhat larger right wing fringe, and more ability for attacks to occur

There's also factors of the rise of the Chinese economy (and to a lesser extent the other Asian communist countries), and their economic and cultural touch being increasingly seen in the US, so as the explicit anti-Asian racism has declined, there's been a rise in some of the populist nativism that can at times have racist undercurrents
What are the conditions of western communist parties in TTL compared to OTL with a much more pleasant Red China that stayed true to its principles?
Big picture? Still usually small and mostly irrelevant (or in a few countries and Europe and elsewhere, at best being very much a junior partner in coalitions and stuck with being able to do little to nothing more than prop up the center left), but a bit bigger compared to OTL, and with a bit more effectiveness on the ground with stuff like unionization and other local activism

Trotskyism, having benefited among other things from a longer lived Trotsky who actually had some informal involvement with Chinese and Korean communist politics as well as from various Trotskyist groups and organizations that had some formal or informal involvement with governing and politics after Trotsky's death, managed to avoid becoming a total joke with all the splitting, and is instead more of a relevant force within the broader sphere of communist politics and rather more capable of working with others. (Despite Trotsky and that Trotskyist involvement in politics being in Asia rather than the west, it influences Trotskyism as a whole including in the west). Chinese bloc-oriented communists are a sizable force within the communist political sphere as well. And with the environmentalist turn in China and its allies, communists overall have more credibility on green issues compared to OTL, and are able to get a bit more support from the green direction

Soviet-oriented Marxist-Leninists are still a thing, a minority though still a fairly sizable one in some areas. Some argue that despite some flaws of the USSR while it existed, it did far more to expand communism abroad with the Warsaw Pact and support for revolutionaries in Africa and Latin America than China did, and thus represented a more genuine commitment to the communist project than that of China, with its less interventionist policy. There's also the accusations of "revisionism" and criticism of Chinese communist criticism of Soviet human rights abuses, and suggestions that if China had been more loyal to Soviet leadership, the USSR and its bloc wouldn't have had its own downfall. There's some who argue that the Chinese strong stances in favor of feminism, pro-lgbt+ rights, and other social justice matters alienate Chinese synthesis communism from culturally conservative-leaning workers around the world, and there's a smaller subset of Marxist-Leninists who go further and still have the "those things are bourgeois decadence" sort of stances

In some western countries, there's more left-unity, with some or many communist parties forming coalitions with each other, as well as, in some cases some combination of socialist parties, green groups, and anarcho-communist groups (with the anarchists, somewhat like the Trotskyists, having some formal and informal involvement with the Asian communist governments, and getting at least a bit of increased relevance and capability elsewhere as a result of the experience). Elsewhere, communist parties remain separated and (despite the relative lack of extreme fractiousness and splitting from Trotskyists) with some degree or another of opposition to each other

The communists in the west generally have support from no more than 10 or 15% of the population, and in some cases no more than 1 or 2%. Even in the European countries with bigger communist parties and communist makeups more in the "Eurocommunist" orientation, there's still (as I think I mentioned in one of the recent posts), with the rise of China, at the very least a reluctance towards and sometimes an outright de facto cordon sanitaire against the idea of other parties working with communist parties in the legislatures, putting something of a limit on the potential relevancy of the communist parties even in a world where communism as an ideology is less popularly discredited. But among younger generations, there's some shifting views, with the potential for more openness to communism or at least some sort of further left politics in the future
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  1. How does the South China Sea dispute look like in this TL? Is China involved in any other territorial disputes? (other than those with India, I can see those were kind of settled after the Himalayan War)
  2. What is the status of the minority regions in TTL's China? (such as Tibet, Xinjiang, Mongolia, Guanxi, etc.) How strong are the secessionist movements in these areas?
  3. Given how the West is somewhat more conservative in TTL, how different is the present-day leadership in the major Western countries? (i.e. whose America's President, what parties (and what PMs/Presidents) are in charge in Europe, if there is any idea of that at the moment)
Japan in the 1930 and 1940s, and Pacific Rim Diplomacy in the 1940s
Japan in the 1930 and 1940s, and Pacific Rim Diplomacy in the 1940s

Going into the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Japanese military and general public had badly underestimated Chinese unity and fighting ability. With the initial halting of the Japanese offensive into Manchuria, Japanese military propaganda guaranteed that their forces would reclaim the initiative and ultimately gain victory. Military propaganda could only go so far, however. The Soviet entrance into the war was a severe blow to Japanese morale, and the Sino-Soviet offensive that pushed the Japanese forces off Mainland Asia altogether was the last straw. By then, sizable dissent and pro-peace sentiment had arisen among the general public and among certain factions in the military, with the belief that military leadership had too much power in shaping policy and had made the whole country suffer due to its poor judgement. A series of protests broke out, and the legislature (which had increasingly been sidelined by the military as the war went on) demanded increased authority over the military. Military leadership was poised to crack down on this opposition, but dissent broke out within the ranks of the military, and in May of 1934, certain elements in the military staged a pro-peace coup

The new "Provisional Government of the Empire of Japan" attained armistice with the Chinese and Soviets, and called a quick election for an assembly to take legislative power and determine reforms, with intent to draw up a new constitution

That election saw a surge in support for the center-left to left wing, with the left having seen a solid boost due to a surge in anti-militaristic sentiment and upset over economic issues. The Rikken Minseito/'Constitutional Democratic Party', a center-left party and one of the big two parties in prior elections, ended up the largest party, but saw a drop in support, as did the Rikken Seiyukai/'Association of Friends of Constitutional Government', the right wing party that had held the majority and been the other of the big two parties. The surge in support for the left was instead seen among a few 'outsider' parties, being the Shakai Taishuto/'Social Mass Party', the Shakai Minshuto/'Social Democratic Party', and the Nihon Kyosan-to/'Japanese Communist Party'. Despite the Rikken Minseito making up the largest party on the left, those three 'outsider' parties combined outnumbered the Rikken Minseito, and the coalition that was eventually formed was led by Abe Isoo of the Shakai Taishuto as Prime Minister, as part of the shift away from the estalishment center-left

Despite the rise in support for the left, the traditional right remained a force, and furthermore, the election saw the rise of two further right and fascist parties, being the Tohokai/'Society of the East' and the Kokumin Domei/'National Citizens Alliance'. There remained a sizable chunk of the country that thought the war should have been continued and that opposed the armistice

japanese provisional government and election ib.jpg

The new government took a harsh hit in public approval with the signing of the Treaty of Vladivostok, officially ending the war with China and the Soviets. The idea of peace was fairly popular, but the new government had misjudged the willingness of the public to accept the costs of peace

At the time of the armistice, Japan had been ejected from the Asian mainland and south Sakhalin, but still held Taiwan and the Kuril Islands. Since Japan still had a strong navy, theoretically it could have defended the islands it held and possibly even managed to take Sakhalin. The Sino-Soviet alliance would have been able to defeat a landing on the mainland of Asia, however, and while the Chinese had no navy to speak of and the Soviet navy was rather outmatched by the Japanese, the new Japanese government reckoned that the Sino-Soviet alliance could have built up a navy to challenge the Japanese navy if no peace was achieved. And the Sino-Soviets were quite insistent that Taiwan and the Kurils be handed over to China and the Soviets respectively, as an alternative to demanding harsh reparations for the Japanese aggression and war crimes in the war

The Japanese government accepted that treaty offer, seeing little point in continuing the state of war. But it ended up being a deeply unpopular thing among the Japanese public. The governing coalition had started off reasonably popular due to some of its reforms, but saw a sharp decline in popularity after the signing of the treaty and the handover of Taiwan and the Kurils. It was deeply unpopular to hand over territory that Japan still held at the end of the war. Furthermore, the more peaceful orientation of the coalition led to some difficulties, as the shift from military production to domestic production caused some disruptions. The few years after the signing of the treaty saw a rise in fascist paramilitaries and public support for them, as well as increasing violence, complaints from the military, and attempts by the government to reverse its decline in support - but to little effect

By 1938, opposition forces had grown strong and organized, and sizable dissent among the armed forces had arisen. When the coup to overthrow the elected government was initiated, it was able to succeed and quickly take control of the country

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The new military government set out to purge the leftists and unions, undo various reforms passed in the last few years, and embark on a major expansion of military spending, waiting for the chance at revenge

With the fall of France to the Germans in 1940, the Japanese saw a potential chance. France went from one of the world's great powers to being a defeated puppet state of a country that had essentially no overseas power projection ability. Japan saw an opportunity, then, in French Indochina, and sent a force to occupy the territory. With a foothold on mainland Asia, Japan was thus able to launch an invasion of mainland China

With China having spent the last few years building up industry and armed forces, and with the supply lines from Japan-proper being longer, the Third Sino-Japanese War actually went rather worse for Japan than the Second war had. The expectations of the military government hadn't quite matched the reality of the situation, and attempts to attain more resources by attempting to occupy British and Dutch colonies in Southeast Asia left Japan in a particularly bad situation

Japan was pushed back on land (with China managing to occupy northern Indochina by the end of the war), and was defeated at sea by the British and later American navies. Japan was clearly defeated again, this time with some of its enemies having pretty sizable navies, and facing a tough blockade, surrendered (despite some sizable opposition within the armed forces). By the nature of the 'western allies' being the ones with navies, and with the sideshow nature of the Pacific Theater meaning that the peace conferences between the allies that decided the postwar borders in Europe didn't really touch much on the Pacific side of things, Japan's fate was largely decided by the western allies

The United States was more lenient on Japan than Germany, since the American public had entered the war over German U-Boat attacks and hadn't had any incidents to generate strong feelings against the Japanese in the same way, merely getting involved in the Pacific due to the Japanese state of war with its allies the British. So the Americans forced a restoration of democratic government, a new constitution with greater protections of rights, and a military more beholden to the civilian government, but Japan was allowed to retain its monarchy, and while some particularly egregious instigators of human rights abuses in the Second and Third Sino-Japanese Wars, and the military government's violence against its own countrypeople, were held accountable, there was no policy in Japan as intense as German Denazification, and Japan was not required to pay reparations. The United States at the time was far more concerned with occurrences in Europe, with the rise of tensions with the USSR, but concerns had been growing about communist China as well (despite its rocky relations with the Soviets), and the Americans saw Japan as a potentially useful associate in the region. Since the Second World War, Japan has had something of a conservative and militaristic lean, but has remained a democracy and avoided the issues of the past, growing fairly prosperous with its partnership with the United States


The Third Sino-Japanese War, as part of the Second World War, ended in the awkward situation of China occupying the northern half of Indochina, a territory it had acquired from the fascist Japanese who themselves had acquired it from the fascist French puppet to the Germans but that was now claimed by the restored free and democratic (well, in Europe at least) French Republic. Furthermore, China had come to occupy Hong Kong after it was occupied by the Japanese during the war. This was one of a few areas where tensions between the western and eastern allies saw significant increase after the war's end

Within the Chinese leadership, some wished to prop up a free Indochinese government in the territories it held, and some even wished to push a broader conflict with the capitalist powers. After years of global war on one hand and the threat of the US in particular, however, the Chinese leadership decided on a different and more moderate path, and saw an opportunity. The Chinese had wished to take control of the leased territory of Guangzhouwan,, held by the French, and to be confirmed the rulers of the Spratly islands, an uninhabited archipelago in the South China Sea, as well as to avoid handing Hong Kong back to the British despite the lease. The French and the British wanted to deny Chinese communist influence in Indochina, and to take back that colony. Also, the French and British were somewhat concerned with the Chinese seizure of Macau from the Portuguese at the end of WWII - that casual military action made some fear China was more open to military action at the time than it really was

In the end, China was able to negotiate for a return of Guangzhouwan, and recognition of control of the Spratly Islands and Hong Kong, in return for retreating from Indochina. France was pleased, the British rather less pleased (though not willing to risk war over Hong Kong), and the Chinese leadership somewhat divided, pleased with the ability to tout the restoration of Chinese territory to the general public in order to cement the rule of the communist party, but with plenty within the party feeling dejected over the retreat from Indochina and allowance of its recolonization even as they saw the pragmatic value in accepting the deal

treaty of paris 1946 ib.png
What's Japan like in this timeline?
The latest update kind of touches on that. In short though, a bit more authoritarian, conservative, and militaristic vs OTL, though still a democracy, still pretty closely aligned with the US, also. With Japan having a smaller role in WWII and with the US being brought into the war due to German U-Boat attacks rather than something like Pearl Harbor, the Americans go a bit easier on the Japanese, there's still sizable reforms though even if they aren't quite to the extent of the OTL allied occupation and reconstitution of Japanese government

  1. How does the South China Sea dispute look like in this TL? Is China involved in any other territorial disputes? (other than those with India, I can see those were kind of settled after the Himalayan War)
  2. What is the status of the minority regions in TTL's China? (such as Tibet, Xinjiang, Mongolia, Guanxi, etc.) How strong are the secessionist movements in these areas?
  3. Given how the West is somewhat more conservative in TTL, how different is the present-day leadership in the major Western countries? (i.e. whose America's President, what parties (and what PMs/Presidents) are in charge in Europe, if there is any idea of that at the moment)
1. The latest update (which started off as me responding to this, but then I decided to expand a bit) touches on this. Figured that was a way to resolve both the leased ports and the South China Sea, China is able to cement its control of the Spratlys (while just not bothering to claim some of the more southerly islands in the OTL 'nine dash line' claims at a time when most of the other countries in the area were still colonies. At times, some of the other countries in the area intermittently have made some diplomatic claims on the islands, but it is far less of a contentious issue

As for other disputes, the main one that China is involved in is the Dokdo/Liancourt Rocks dispute, on behalf of its very close ally and client-state Korea. The discovery of evidence of possible oil in the Senkaku Islands led to some in the Party considering a policy of pressing claims there, but such a policy wasn't pursued at the time, and as the Party shifted in a green direction, it was increasingly seen as just unnecessary

The OTL Sino-Russian border disputes were resolved earlier here, in the 1957 Sino-Soviet treaty

2. The minority regions are granted a degree of political autonomy (though still ruled by their regional communist party), and a sizable amount of administrative and cultural autonomy. Significant protections for minorities exists, the OTL policies of Sinicization have not been pursued, and the populations of Han Chinese who OTL migrated to the minority areas under the PRC have instead largely taken part in a faster and earlier urbanization (there's not a complete lack of Han Chinese in minority territories, but there's more policy caution to prevent displacement or feelings of displacement and outnumbering of minorities in minority regions). The secessionist movements in such areas are rather weak, in part due to these aspects helping placate the populations in those areas

3. Good question, and frankly I haven't quite figured it out 100% yet. When I started off with this whole thing a year and a half ago, it was with a rather vague idea of "basically our world, but with a more progressive and benevolent communist China thrown in, and some things different elsewhere because of that", with also kind of a guiding idea being "its what I'd personally consider to be a better world, but not to the point of worldwide utopianism, and having its ups and downs vs OTL with at least some areas having it subjectively or objectively worse". It wasn't actually intended to be a whole TL, it just started off with a map of the present day as of 2017 or 2018 when I had the idea, and then I made some posts intended to be one-offs and then expanded it way more than I expected to

So there's the awkward aspect of a very selective use of the butterfly effect, and having OTL present day figures popping up in any way despite a point of divergence in the 1920s - even with the idea of "things in many areas in the west and such still go at least fairly similar to OTL in various ways in terms of the broad strokes of the Soviet-western cold war and afterwords", it would probably make sense for few if any present day political leaders to be the same as OTL or even folks who are in OTL politics at all. If I were doing a more rigorous alternate history, that could very well be how it is - its not like Blair, Ashdown, and Major needed to be the Labour, LibDem, and Tory leaders in the 1997 election ITTL for example, they could have just been "made-up name centrist Labour figure, made-up name LibDem leader open to LibLab coalition, and made-up name unpopular Tory", or, hell, things in Europe don't even need to really have that much similarity to OTL. I just stuck with using OTL figures for the sake of familiarity, and because this isn't intended to be the "hardest" alternate history

That's a bit of a tangent, but is kind of relevant to the general idea of the scenario and how things would be in the present

That leaves the question of precisely who (or at least which sort of parties and general idea of politicians) would actually be in power in the west, and frankly I'm still kind of fuzzy on the details. For the "modern day expansion" I have some ideas for and will probably get around to at least starting at some point, I at the very least plan for American politics in the 2000s and 2010s to have a lot of the same figures, due to the original ideas for the present day kinda relying on the same sort of personalities being relevant, and because I just don't feel like it is worth the effort to make up expys of current day politicians. But I also kind of had the idea of that present day continuation as sort of its own separate branch-off of this thread where there's more in the way of OTL figures and (despite things still having gone differently in the past) ending up with a bit more similarity in terms of the political situation to the OTL present-day (in at least some western countries, and some other areas relevant to my outline for that extension thing)

As for the general idea though, even there, its the sort of thing where I have a pretty solid broad idea but a lot more vagueness on specifics or even some bigger ideas (kinda got used to that, having lurked on here for a while and come up with various scenarios of my own over the years that I never actually posted - its a lot easier to just say "well, it might have gone this way or it might have went that way" when I'm only talking to myself, lol). Like, one of my ideas for the west was "the TTl politicians in the west are actually figures who are a bit more liberal than who we got OTL, but as a sign of the changes in the scenario, they are more conservative leaning here vs OTL". Another was "there's been greater shifts to the right vs OTL, but those have led to excesses that pushed things back, so in times of right leaning leadership, they had more conservative leadership vs OTL, but in times of left leaning leadership, it was fairly similar to OTL", the idea of which can kinda be seen with the 1950s stuff, going from Taft to McCarthy to Kennedy. Another, which kind of overlaps with that, was "actually the excesses of the right along with the example of the better China giving progressivism a bit more credibility led to the general public actually being to the left of OTL, but with the cordon sanitaire against the (somewhat larger) far left leading to the political leadership ending up fairly similar since the larger but isolated further left allows for the right to remain competitive despite getting fewer votes vs OTL", as can also kinda be seen with the 1960 election, with Nixon almost winning despite just getting about 45% of the vote (vs 49.5% in real life) due to the Progressive Party taking some support from the Democrats. As well as an idea of "the US sees greater shifts to the right, but in Europe and other western areas, there's fewer outright left-leaning governing majorities (due to the isolation of the further left) but there's if anything more room for grand coalitions and center-right/center-left alliances and perhaps things don't end up that much more conservative at all in much of the west in a lot of ways, with some potential exceptions, and with the 2010s seeing a weakening of that sort of traditional center-left/center-right norm in Europe with at least some rise of a more populist right". I'm tentatively gonna say that the general trend is the latter couple of ideas there

I guess that's a lot of words to say "idk, I guess by the latter 2010s the US has similar leadership vs OTL, and Europe has more vaguely liberal/centrist grand coalitions but they are starting to break down, and the reason why is I can't be bothered to go above and beyond in crafting great alternate history", and I could probably just delete all the kind of tangents there, but they felt relevant enough to explaining the thinking behind your question as well as the TL more broadly
So is there a war on terror in this TL? If so how are China and Russia involved?
Yes, I figure there's still a war on terror. OTL factors like existing Islamist fundamentalist conservatives in the middle east and adjacent areas, as well as western opposition to Arab nationalism and other secular left leaning areas, and western meddling and support for the Islamists and other anti-left forces (like the Iranian monarchy) as a regional counterweight, would occur similarly here, allowing for the war on terror to happen in a way that could be similar in many ways to OTL due to various factors that led to it remaining the same. As well as other factors, like some western disappointment over the remaining existence and relevance of China, giving the American public and politicians in particular more desire to throw their weight around in the world as (among other things) an act of assertion and self validation

As for Russia (and its successors the Union State and Eurasia) and China, they are largely satisfied with sitting back and staying out of the affairs of the Middle East and surrounding areas, criticizing the US for acting unilaterally/having a certain willingness to use torture and a disregard for avoiding civilian casualties/entering conflicts under questionable pretenses, while letting the US expend resources and potentially wear itself down. There's not necessarily that much difference in the broad strokes vs OTL there, with the Russians sticking up for their ally/client Syria as well as Libya while that government still exists, while the Chinese largely stay out, with some exceptions

There's some differences

A somewhat more hawkish US puts boots on the ground in Libya after the intervention, leading to an avoidance of the post civil war anarchy seen in OTL. This further validates the more hawkish elements of US politics, while also further inflaming the more anti interventionist elements, among other things. In China, there's still some terrorist attacks, with conservative Islamic fundamentalists not particularly caring for the progressivism of the Chinese communists, but with greater Chinese respect for civil rights and cultural autonomy in minority regions, as well as greater general prosperity and more equal distribution of that prosperity, and overall greater integration of such regions, there's a lot less in the way of attacks, with fewer people having support for or sympathy towards fundamentalists

China does have some involvement in Indonesia, helping the friendly communist government there with some military, security, and economic assistance in dealing with fundamentalist insurgencies in the area, and with the growing Chinese relations with Pakistan and the friendly left-leaning governments there, China ends up with a similar involvement in Pakistan. In both cases, the Chinese are quite careful, however, to keep the military aspect of their involvement in such areas at a minimum, largely limited to advisors and trainers, special forces, and weapons deliveries, contrasted to the much larger US and allied interventions in various areas. The Chinese also give some support to leftists in Iraqi and later Syrian Kurdistan. The Chinese generally approach that matter with caution - domestic support in China for the Kurdish communists, socialists, and anarchists has been pretty high, but the Kurdish cause has of course been unpopular among the governments of the region, making support for the Kurds a potential foreign relations landmine, so the Chinese leadership generally sticks to supporting Kurds in areas that have already attained a degree of functioning autonomy (so, Iraqi Kurdistan after 2005, and Syrian Kurdistan after 2012), lobbying on behalf of the Syrian Kurdish authorities to the Syrian government with arguments to pragmatism (the Syrian government had lost lost control of much of the country anyway, and the Kurds merely sought autonomy from Damascus rather than independence or overthrow of the central government) while largely maintaining public neutrality towards Turkey and Iran. This still does, however, lead to some tension between the Chinese, with their more ideological approach, and the Russians, with their more approach more centered simply around maintaining their power block, as well as between China and the other countries in the region. Some Chinese communists question whether more should be done to support the Kurds as well as potentially other leftists in the region, whereas some others in the Party question whether it has been worth it to get involved at all, for purposes ideological or just pragmatic (potentially could have been easier to just let the US hog all the spotlight in their interventions, and avoid any controversy from the governments in the region)

As the 2010s go on, some things will probably go down in the Middle East, with growing tensions between the US and some countries in the area as a potential result. Both China and Russia would look on with interest, for certain opportunities that could open up if things go down a certain path in that regard

This TL is really a hidden gem.

Thanks, glad you like it!
I really like this TL, but don’t you think the butterflies from the 30s would cause quite a different world from OTL? Surely a Socialist China would cause a serious butterfly effect, which would not lead to things like Gadaffi coming to power (or at least his reign not being the same as OTL)
I really like this TL, but don’t you think the butterflies from the 30s would cause quite a different world from OTL? Surely a Socialist China would cause a serious butterfly effect, which would not lead to things like Gadaffi coming to power (or at least his reign not being the same as OTL)
Events in the Middle East play a big role here. Formerly the fate of colonialism and the pan-Arab movement
Very interesting TL, this - always fun to see a less-common PoD, not to mention a TL where a country that often gets the short end of the stick has its day.
One of my favorite ongoing timelines. Having caught up with it now, I am particularly interested in the Chinese anarchists and China's general international involvements. This world is proving more divergent with every update, and I think there's still a lot of room for potential changes.
I really like this TL, but don’t you think the butterflies from the 30s would cause quite a different world from OTL? Surely a Socialist China would cause a serious butterfly effect, which would not lead to things like Gadaffi coming to power (or at least his reign not being the same as OTL)

TL; DR, this TL just isn't that good

And while it would be neat to make it better, this is mostly a 'for fun' thing that I do in my increasingly limited free time, so

Over the years, I've done a lot of maps of some random scenarios that aren't necessarily at all realistic, and that I've just kept on my computer rather than posting, since it has often just been a time-passing thing rather than anything all that good in terms of, like, the sort of serious and well-done, well-thought out stuff that gets posted on here

This scenario originated from that. Originally just "literally OTL present (back from around 2018 or so) but with a more progressive sort of communist China rather than what we have OTL". I took something of a liking to the idea, started making some additional changes and fleshing it out a bit and coming up with backstory. Eventually made the thing that is the first post in this TL (well, the second, after the intro), which at that point was just a one-off, and then was pleased with the result and started expanding on it more. It had a sort of intended end goal in mind, but initially wasn't really planned to be the sort of TL thing it has become, that sort of just happened along the way. And it ended up becoming something where I feel like the beginning/initial backstory is pretty halfway decent at least for alternate history, and as I've gone along, the idea of the "present day" that it is going towards has changed too (or in other words, with what you are talking about, it was originally envisioned as even worse lol), but it's still something where there's a general end goal (a world that at least resembles ours in a general sense, of a cold war half ended but coming back again, but also with a still relevant remnant communist block unlike OTL)

And the thing is, I could still do that sort of end goal while having more butterflies and such (Gadaffi having a similar reign is an issue but really you could go back even further to, say, the 1960s, with how JFK still narrowly beats Nixon in 1960 despite a far worse red scare with major civil liberties abuses and thousands of people dying or being stuck in concentration camps, as an example of something where butterflies should have perhaps changed things rather more). But that takes more effort and time. And I've had a habit of being somewhat slow with doing things as it is, and I've become busier lately too, so that's kind of an issue.

There's basically three different things I could do that could basically be their own TLs - a first that takes the "progressive socialist China" thing and just goes wild with it to potentially make a *very* different world, a second where there's the end goal where things end up broadly going similar but with butterflies making things go different in the particulars (perhaps, say, the war on terror sees Syria and Yemen invaded, and Algeria as some sort of Libya analogue, for example, and with different leaders and such in different countries), and a third with very limited butterflies. And if I had unlimited time to do stuff, I'd quite enjoy to do the first two

But with things as they are, with me also kind of becoming even busier than I was before... eh. Like, with Gadaffi for example, that's definitely something that a more serious and good alternate history wouldn't do, but on the other hand, it could be something that's not necessarily outright impossible in the scenario, and going through the effort to craft analogues rather than just using OTL people is more effort, and there's only so much effort I can bother to make for something that is ultimately just a fun little pastime in an increasingly busy life...

On the other hand, if I'm still doing this stuff in the future, I could potentially get around to doing revisions and making things more realistic. It's not like literally having OTL figures do certain things in the exact way that they did OTL is a key aspect of the TL, in a certain sense they could just be looked at as placeholders until replaced by something else/better - there's plenty that can be open to being changed. Eventually. It just takes me a long time to do things at all, and for me personally

Sorry if this response is as disappointing as it is long-winded. It feels nice to have made something that got any positive reaction at all (and also neat to have a sizable project like this that I've been working on for just four days under two years now, as opposed to the sort of things I'd done previously), but I do know it's simply not the best alternate history in terms of butterflies, realism, "hardness", and so on,

Very interesting TL, this - always fun to see a less-common PoD, not to mention a TL where a country that often gets the short end of the stick has its day.


One of my favorite ongoing timelines. Having caught up with it now, I am particularly interested in the Chinese anarchists and China's general international involvements. This world is proving more divergent with every update, and I think there's still a lot of room for potential changes.

-As for China's general international involvements...

China has generally taken a stance of non-interventionism and nonaggression, preferring to focus on domestic growth and development in contrast to the Soviets' high military expenditure and tendency to get involved in various foreign interventions. The Indochina War and the Himalayan War were somewhat breaks from the norm, in that regard. The Chinese didn't take a stance of full isolationism, having a degree of diplomatic involvement in the (first) Cold War, but tended to be a more passive player in that affair

In terms of foreign relations, the Korean Socialist Republic is by far the closest state to China, and pretty much has been since it first got independence from Japan in the Second Sino Japanese War. For both ideological and pragmatic reasons, the new Socialist China made efforts from the start to aid Korea in development, and to seek economic integration. There's always been a portion of the Korean public that felt at least somewhat uneasy, if not outright opposed, with essentially being a client state of China, but the Chinese treatment of Korea (enabled in part due to a relative lack of other foreign involvements for many years) has been satisfactory enough to keep things cordial. Today, Korea and China have free movement of people across their borders, a strong degree of economic integration, similar income levels, and strong cultural ties

After the first Cold War, the Chinese have made more effort to build relations with the remaining other communist party-ruled countries in the world, and without the USSR around to deter such a thing, such countries have been rather more open to building and strengthening such relations. Indochina and (after its revolution) Nepal have gotten the "Korea treatment", with a major push for integration, while others like Cuba and Indonesia have seen a less intense but still existent drift towards China

The Chinese have a very large involvement with international aid to developing countries. An earlier Chinese economic boom (with all the environmental/climate issues it brings) led to the Chinese being rather more concerned with environmental/climate issues, which reflects in the foreign aid, with a focus on green growth. Maybe they'd call it a "green belt and blue road" initiative or something - greener, without the labor issues, without the debt trap issues, and so on

-As for the Anarchists...

China has a tradition of anarchists going back to before the fall of the Qing dynasty. Around the beginning of the 20th century, organizations of Chinese anarchists emerged, often originating in Paris and Tokyo, and having connections with various future Chinese politicians and activists. The budding Chinese anarchist movement saw sizable diversity, with various sorts leaning towards socialist, syndicalist, or communist ideas, or libertarian or social darwinist ideas, or particularly feminist leanings, or connections to old Chinese philosophers or other elements of traditional Chinese society, or a stance strongly against traditional ideas, tendencies for reform and nationalism, or revolution and internationalism, or some mix of different ideas. Some anarchists drifted towards the Communist Party, others towards the KMT (some remaining with the KMT OTL even after the purge of the communists, some even having actively urged Chiang to purge the leftists), and others still towards other smaller parties and organizations

In OTL, Chen Duxiu was a significant figure in Chinese Trotskyism. ITTL, the pragmatic concerns of leading a more successful communist party, and then leading the entire country and working alongside the USSR, lead to Chen avoiding such an explicit lean in that direction. But here he still has certain sympathies in that direction, and a general troubledness with seeing how things developed in the USSR with Stalin's leadership and so on. Among other things, he and other high-ups in the party leadership end up with a certain appreciation for ideological diversity, and govern with some tolerance (to some degree or another, depending on the particulars) of ideological diversity, particularly towards fellow leftists. So the Communist Party ends up with a faction of anarchists, the KMT (which remains existent despite being marginalized under the socialist republic) ends up retaining some anarchists itself, and there's other individuals and groups who remain separate from both parties and manage to have some degree of acceptance, though there's also those who explicitly oppose Communist rule and act against the Party to the point of suppression

With a general lack of leadership and organization, the anarchist movements tend to be fractious and divided. Even those within the Communist Party itself have never been a dominant force within the party. Still, the anarchists have managed to have some influence, regarding civil liberties, transparency, whistleblowing, anti-corruption, and matters along those lines, as well as some influence on the discourse as the economy and society has been shifted from state capitalism to a more actively socialistic mode

In regards to foreign relations, the Chinese anarchists tend to be seen as a distinct entity vs western anarchists (or at least certain sorts of them), with the Chinese anarchists often being rather critical of certain strains of 'lifestylism' and related sorts of ideas and trends. And on the other hand, Chinese anarchists have a reputation as something of sticks in the mud, as well as having something of an unsavory opportunism to latch onto the statist Chinese communists as a sort of pressure group among them rather than acting more independently. To a certain degree, the (relatively) more disciplined and pragmatic element of the Chinese anarchists (as contrasted to lifestylists, clicktivists, and certain sorts of disorganized black bloc tactics) has also led to a somewhat less negative general sentiment in the west towards anarchism in certain circles, though anarchism in general is still generally even more fringe than communism is anyway

Very interesting TL, this - always fun to see a less-common PoD, not to mention a TL where a country that often gets the short end of the stick has its day.

Thanks, glad you've liked it so far!