China in script
Image from Wikimedia Commons

A major Old Earth civilization for some five thousand years, China eventually became the most populated country on the planet, with the largest ethnicity and two widespread spoken languages - Mandarin (the language of the dynastic rulers from the north of the country) and Cantonese (the language of the ethnic Han majority). Many human inhabitants of the Terragen Sphere claim Chinese ancestry.

By the atomic age became a totalitarian superpower and the largest country in Asia, although still economically eclipsed by Japan. During the information period Chinese leaders, who sought to combine the virtues of Western capitalism with their own preferred one party regime, found themselves unable to cope with the spread of freedom of information and other byproducts of western capitalism, and following a series of bumbled liberalization attempts (seen by many as too little too late) and coup attempts by reactionary forces in government and the military, the country degenerated into civil war. It was a long and bloody affair and resulted in the emergence of a number of independent "warring states".

By the late information era other factors had become more important, and the descendant nations become more like Confucian capitalist combinates. Some, like the Sichuan, Hong Kong and Beijing regions, became very powerful, while other parts remained inconsequential. China only became a major global player at the end of the Information era. During the early Interplanetary period the megacorps based in the powerful Chinese states established orbital colonies and cartels, and eventually (with some minority Genetekker aid) the Penglai project. However, by that time Earth-based China as a superpower had, like the rest of the Earth-based nation-states, already become long redundant, surpassed by the emerging Orbital superpowers, the Lunar states,Mars, the Belt, and Jovian League. Even before the nanoswarms hit, China had settled down to being a collection of small local economic regions, some of which were nevertheless extremely wealthy.

Many ethnic Chinese migrated into space, to worlds like Guo-Shou Jing , Yellow Flower and Penglai. Others became established on Atlantis and elsewhere, and never became part of the Penglaese Empire; this non-Penglaiese population became known as the Chins (sometimes the Chinis: from the archaic word Chinese). Most human-derived clades and species extant in the Terragen sphere today have some Chinese ancestry; many worlds are still predominantly composed of humans claiming descent from colonists from China.
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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev and Anders Sandberg

Initially published on 24 September 2001.