The Last War: The Chinese Hegemony
A giant slept in Asia, and every so often it stirred, like an ancient dragon flexing its talons. From Beijing, the heirs of Mao dominated the Far East, holding most of a continent within their grasp. For decades China focused on its own lands and needs, well distanced from Western conflicts. Over half of Asia vanished behind its Bamboo Curtain.
China, as the last Communist power, presented a monolithic image to the world. Manchuria and Mongolia formed its northern borders, and it reached west to Kirghiz and south to Sumatra. But within its bounds China was a chaos of provinces, autonomous districts, municipalities and government landholdings. By the end of the 20th Century, there was little difference between the hardline Communist Party and the powerful nobility of China's past. The Party ruled, the people worked. The Party was rich, the people were poor. China's technology was as good as any, but its benefits were reserved for the ruling class.
While China could field the largest army in the world, most of its forces were infantry, and many of those were poorly equipped militia. Modern military units made up only a quarter of China's forces.
China shared borders with both the Paneuropean Federation and the Arabian Confederation, and conflicts along these borders were common. In 2046, after a series of provocations, China invaded the Paneuropean provinces of Irkutsk and Yakutsk. The Sino-European War lasted for three years and was settled by the Treaty of Osaka, in which Paneurope gave up a great deal of territory in exchange for huge payments in oil and strategic metals, of which China had a surplus.
Once again China turned inward, but it was awakened in 2060 when Nihon began to consolidate the remaining independent Asian territories. In 2071, the Sino-Nihon war began with raids in Korea, which were quickly followed up by amphibious assaults in both Korea and Manchuria. The war lasted 17 years and was bitterly fought, with marine combats in the South Pacific, hovercraft duels in the Indonesian archipelago, and whole battalions of armor lost in the jungles of Borneo and New Guinea. Occasionally the conflicts drifted farther south, and brought Australia into the fray. But the trend was all one way; the smaller but better-organized and technologically superior Nihon forces slowly rolled over the Chinese opposition. In 2088 the Chinese government, long since pushed west from Beijing, collapsed entirely, and the Nihon Empire began to organize its conquest.