The 21st century was not kind to China, in particular, its people. Worsening relations with the rest of the globe has left China involuntarily isolated, forcing it to find resources within its own borders or coercing smaller nations
into one-way relationships. Climate change wrecked havoc upon the coastal regions, the economic, political, and cultural arteries of the entire nation. Environmental and political stresses pushed China deeper into authoritarianism; by the mid-21st century, few could disagree that mainland China was a dystopic state that made Airstrip One of 1984 look like heaven in comparison. Birth rate was tightly monitored and controlled, with every newborn barcoded. The advancements in biomedical technology allowed every civilian to be further marked in their bloodstreams, making privacy, any semblance of free speech and movement, a distant memory. Career paths were nearly predetermined as well, children practically working at a young age through laborious education. The exceptions, of course, were the politically powerful and the wealthy, who could afford expensive exemption fees that lifted them out of the complex web of rigid systems that controlled most of the populous.
The advent of widely available fusion power of the 2070’s, then the first successful, macroscopic utilization of FTL technology; sparked hopes and dreams of people of other nations. For those of China, the reality was extending their own controlled state beyond the surface of Earth
. Basic supplies of air and water were tightly controlled by loyalists in stations from Luna
, to Ceres
. As sparsely populated stations continued to dot the Sol system
, it wasn’t unheard of for one or two stations to go offline, publicly announced as accidents, but in reality were efforts to silence whispers of independence. Meanwhile, the situation on Earth remained perilous. As China’s coast continues to be flooded by rising sea waters, massive arcologies rose up with the majority of the population moved into them, both as a way to consolidate resources and reduce consumption, and as a far more convenient method to tighten the iron grip on the populace. This is no better seen than in the Beijing megalopolis, a hive of multiple arcologies embedded into the Northwestern mountains and steppes that has become the beating political and economic heart of the entire PRC in the Sol system.
The dynamics shifted in 2117, when the PRC built its own SLE system as a statite of Sol at its south pole, then the first steps on habitable planets of the Shen Zhou system
by 2118. In an effort to alleviate the high population stress on Earth, and questionably in conflict with other PRC motives, a mass emigration program was launched where tens of millions of people annually were moved off of Earth into the Shen Zhou system. By the 2030’s, a sizable minority of China’s population was now extrasolar. Anticipating a workforce shortage in the Sol system, those in power released a controversial, biological program even by their standards in 2132: the Zhuli
, mass produced sentient
beings akin to slaves who mature faster and seemingly more easily controlled compared to normal humans.
Colonization of the Shen Zhou system ran into issues with native sentient life, primarily the Aos Si. Upon discovery and conflict, their presence was painstakingly removed around human
colonies, and information of their existence suppressed, to remove additional uncertainty that they introduced into the PRC systems. To prevent this incident from occurring again, the Zhuli were deployed into the Li Ming system before it was colonized in 2154 to silence the native population as much as possible first.
Both the emigration and the Zhuli program expanded as the PRC expanded its presence in its two extrasolar systems. Rich in living space and resources, control of the two systems made the PRC extremely wealthy and powerful, rivaling the American Union
in terms of fleet size. By 2179, between migration and encouragement of high birth rates, nearly half of the PRC’s population were spread between the Shen Zhou and Li Ming systems, with the Zhuli now taking up a tangible minority in the Sol system, assisting administration, science, engineering, and military tasks.
However, perhaps predictably, the Zhuli were not blind to their slavery. To modern day, it still wasn’t clear how long they planned their rebellion, but in 2199, the unthinkable happened: Zhuli across the PRC’s territories struck at their owners: high ranking politicians, scientists, engineers, and military officers; with animalistic violence, killing most, now referred to as the “Zhongzhi
” event. Such rebellion was not unexpected by the rest of the human community, but no one anticipated this level of coordination, brutality, or scale. As if in an instant, centuries of dominance by the CCP was beheaded.
The ramifications both internally and externally were swift. Political power struggles, riots, and general pandemonium spread quickly, while the Zhuli attempted to escape to the freshly colonized Pingqiong system, eventually becoming the Daqin Empire
. Meanwhile, AU and GDW forces descended upon mainland China, conducting Operation Heavy Chorus where its maritime borders were blockaded and major military installations were either occupied or destroyed. Meanwhile, Operation Distant Flock
blocked any interaction between the Sol, Li Ming, and Shen Zhou systems to contain the ensuing chaos within PRC territories. As with Operation Heavy Chorus, Operation Distant Flock annihilated old PRC military installations, space stations, and the entire PRC space fleet while it was paralyzed and leaderless. Collectively, these two operations kick started the 2nd Century of Humiliation where China was once again embroiled in internal conflict while the foreign nations gripped the country.
While effective at minimizing damage through the entire human community, civil wars sprang up in the old PRC territories, especially mainland China. Around 2220’s, an entire generation reached adulthood, scarred physically and mentally by gang warfare, economic depression, and anarchy, appropriately called “The Scarred Generation”. By the late 2260’s, the Chinese population in the Sol system would’ve lost a tenth of its population to warfare, starvation, suicide, and emigration. The authoritarian control now seemed preferable.
As the 2220's passed, entering the 2230's, violence died down across the old PRC territories. Aided by AU and GDW forces, remaining political and military leaders of the Taiwan Province swept through mainland China, installing local, democratic states as they advanced towards the ruins of Beijing, spurred on by the centuries old, egalitarian culture of the island before it was annexed by the PRC. Similar events occurred in the Shen Zhou and Li Ming systems. With the citizenry no longer constricted by authoritarian rule, the AU and the GDW with no symmetrical, hostile forces to contest, democratic regimes began to take hold. The process was made easier due to the distance of these star systems
away from central authority: indoctrination and enforcement of loyalty to the CCP have historically been difficult with mixed effectiveness in these far off regions.
By the end of the 2230's, infant, democratic states were formed: the United Republics of China, the Federation of Celestial Territories, and the Commonwealth of the Dawn. As they were forging their new identities as true republics, shifting their culture, and solidifying their positions in their respective star systems, talks already began to reform back into a unified, interstellar superstate, bound by mutual military protection and cultural ties. After two more decades of negotiations, the leaders of the three states came together in orbit of Zhuque of the Li Ming system, signing the Vermillion Bird Promises in 2253, the official formation of the Heaven Forged Republic
. While travel between Zhuque and Earth takes two months, establishing the HFR's capital on the planet was deemed necessary to protect it from potential Zhuli aggression from the Pingqiong system, and any mainland cities on Earth were still too ruinous for an interstellar government. In the decades that followed, widespread fear of the Zhuli wavered, but the tradition of Yungwang as the political capital of the HFR remained. Still, the relative remoteness was not adequate for timely defense of the nation. Thus, Rili on Wu Zetian
, in the Shen Zhou system, was established as the headquarters for Republic Space Command (GKF).
Up to modern day, the HFR’s military is split amongst the three states, united by necessity to repel the threats of the Daqin
and the other human superstates, bound and coordinated together by the GKF. The American Union to this day still has heavy surveillance on the HFR states, maintaining a continuous tension between the two superstates. Despite cultural similarities, political tensions between the three states are hot and regular, each with their own system of government and ideological outlook. It remains unclear how long the HFR will remain in this state before it is completely exploited by either the AU or Daqin. For now, the Chinese and Korean people, along with minority groups, breathe more easily than their ancestors, with authoritarian suppression mostly behind them.