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The Confederation of Chinese Nations (also known as the Chinese Confederation or just China) is a nation in East Asia. With over a billion people, it is constantly at odds with nearby Japan.
Beginning of the Qing
The Qing Dynasty came to power in 1636. I was a time in China when factions were developing in different parts of the empire. The ruling Manchus decided to use force, killing many who believed they could form their own autonomous state. Also, many didn't even recognize the new dynasty because they were from Manchuria; they saw the Ming as being the legitimate rulers. Thus, the Qing began "Manchurinaztion". These controversial reforms brought Manchu thinking to even the most remote parts of the empire. Characters were changed, the Manchu land system was introduced, and non-Buddhists were suppressed. In 1644, Qing troops attacked defiant Peking (the old Ming capital). The occupation of the city lasted more than a decade. People were losing faith in these new rulers, as more headed to the quasi-autonomous Ming-supporting south. In 1661, the Kangxi Emperor came to power. He believed the return of military force was needed to get rid of the Ming loyalists. So, in 1664, the Fist Chinese Civil War began. A five year struggle, it ended with the retaking of the south and the killing of the Ming loyalists. This was a time of fear and uncertainty in China. For years the country couldn't recover from these struggles.
The Golden Age of the Qing Dynasty
The Kangxi Emperor died in 1722. It seemed as though there had been 100 years of oppression. China was struggling to keep up with the rest of the world, especially Japan. His successor, the Yongzheng Emperor, had constantly disagreed with his father. He saw the issues and struggles of contemporary China, and believed it was time for change. In 1726, he instituted the Heavenly Reforms. Freedom of religion and freedom of speech were given to the people. Yongzheng deposed many of the people once close to his father, including his top generals. The army was downsized as to not give them as much power. For the first time in its rule, people began to have faith in the Qing Dynasty. Yongzheng then reformed the financial administration in such a way it almost brought his demise. He sought to end the long era of feudal-esque land ownership in China. Wealthy landowners and the army heavily objected, and began to conspire. In 1729, the army marched on Peking. The Second Chinese Civil War, a 2 week-long attempt to overthrow the Yongzheng Emperor, was a shocking failure. It seemed China was on the way back to the world stage. Sadly, Yongzheng died in 1735 a very popular and memorable ruler. He was succeeded by the Qianlong Emperor. He was much more conservative and imperialist than his father. Qianlong re-empowered the military, and set on a campaign into the still semi-autonomous northwest. This began the so-called Ten Great Campaigns over Qianlong's rule. In the end, China had defeated the Uyghurs and reached the steppes of Central Asia. Years later, the border in the south was increased as the Burmese were sent running back to Rangoon. A nearly disastrous war against the Mongols began in 1755. Lasting more than 10 years, the relentless Mongols continued to inflict heavy casualties against the Chinese. However, they were eventually defeated. Qianlong also conquered the mountains of Tibet and suppressed many Tibetan Buddhists. Domestically, he saw the rise of the economy and population. This was heavily complemented with educational and industrial reforms. As nearby Japan was sending satellites into space, the Chinese were making their first cars. Qianlong died in 1799; his successor was the Jiaqing Emperor.
Stagnation and Foreign Relations
Jiaqing came into power at the beginning of the 19th century. It was a time of great industrial upheaval in China. Thus, the Jiaqing Emperor believed it was time for China to emerge on the world stage. He set up relations and embassies with European nations such as Sweden and the Rhine Republic. Jiaqing also looked to improve relations with Japan, which worked to a slight extent. However, a foreign presence in China would have a bad effect. Foreign companies found an emerging but industrial sector and profitable agricultural sector. Soon, companies began to take over and build factories. Farms became property of people who had never stepped foot in China. Foreign communities began building in the key ports of Hong Kong and Tsingtao. Shanghai's population also grew with the establishment of the Shanghai International Settlement. Jiaqing became a very corrupt ruler, and some saw him as a European puppet. The economy had taken a major blow, as profits were going to offshore companies; not China. Many farmers who worked for small wages began to rebel...agriculturally. They began growing opium on the side to make a profit. As Jiaqing was getting old and powerless, China was emerging as the world's biggest producer of opium. The Jiaqing Emperor died in 1820 and was succeeded by the Daoguang Emperor. He was even more incompetent in running the economy than his father. Despite banning opium in the country, production increased. Daoguang started as another European-pleasing corrupted emperor. By the 1830s, this changed. Foreign influences on the economy began depleting the Imperial Treasury itself. Daoguang decided to take action, with scholar and powerful official Lin Zexu at his side. Lin devised an economic plan in which the Chinese government took over several fields and factories. Europeans were beginning to lose influence in China. So, in 1839, a European expeditionary force (mostly made up of Albionian troops) were sent to China. They were there on the grounds that the opium trade had to be stopped. Daoguang believed the Europeans were foolish, and mobilized the Chinese Army. The First Opium War was about to begin.