A Shift in Priorities - Sequel

The Qing Empire is now in process of repossessing former Zhúlóng, but this may take some time. They will also - later - look for the uncontrolled area and the northern wasteland.
China 1952.jpg
 
Courage isn't having the strength to go on – it's going on when you don't have strength.
(Napoléon Bonaparte)

At the age of sixty–seven, Governor–General General Baron Yamashita Tomoyuki might be considering going into retirement – even if high–ranking Japanese were infamous for carrying on until decease. And indeed, he too was determined to keep it up. What else should he do? It was his duty to continue. And it kept him busy. – True, he had seen so much during his career that he easily could write a dozen books about it. But he couldn't write those books, because they would reveal national secrets. He might also just sit still and breed koi, although – he had no propensity for such dull a hobby... Nay, staying in office seemed a good idea to him.

Well, a lot had changed, since these crazy Chinese had rehearsed doomsday. The nation was still in peril, because the home islands could only feed about half of the population, but not all eighty–four million hungry mouths. The fishing fleets, believed to provide the answer, were increasingly reporting dwindling haul. Although Korea was providing rice, greenstuff and pork – and Vietnam, Siam and the Banda States were selling what they could spare, it was still a close run thing. If draught kept declining, people at home were going to starve. One had to build more trawlers, was the official answer...

Governing Korea had also changed considerably. He was now facing the council of the chaebŏl bosses. They were running the country, as a matter of fact. – These men were difficult to fathom. Korean independence was a non–issue for them. The same applied to democracy. And they abhorred spending money for soldiers and armaments. – The latter was the key to their world view. Little Korea was wedged between the great powers China, Russia and Japan. Hence, Korean independence was a pipe dream. They had chosen Japan as protector. Therefore, it was Japan's duty to provide external security.

They were running Korea like a company – or rather, their companies were dominating all aspects of public and economic life. They were appointing mayors and civil servants, were directing police and emergency services. They were capitalists to the core. But they were not keen on making profit for the sake of being rich. Every coin earned was duly reinvested. Personally, the men were living in humble circumstances. But their companies – Hyundai, Samsung, Koo, Park Seung, Hanwha, etc. – were growing like cancer.

The zaibatsus had left Korea, the chaebŏl had taken over their facilities. They had also cleansed the nuclear mess north and south. Well, kind of... Yamashita was aware that things looked better than they really were. The Japanese scientists accompanying the clean–up had warned him that Korean standards were kind of waxy. But the reactor farms along the Yeongsan were producing again; and the chaebŏl were jauntily constructing replacements for the destroyed processing sites. For them, Japan was only a viable protector if she was armed with nuclear weapons. Crazy world...
 
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Thanks for the map! I was under the impression though that Tibet is larger. Like 1.5 times the size of what you've shown us on the map.

Little Korea was wedged between the great powers China, Russia and Japan. Hence, Korean independence was a pipe dream.

I understand that they might not want it, but purely hypothetically, why would China and Russia take their independence away? I mean, sure there's no way for a weak country to be not influenced its strong neighbours, but it would be possible. Maybe even base it on the Austro-Hungarian model. Again, hypothetically if the chaebŏl wanted it.
 
I was under the impression though that Tibet is larger. Like 1.5 times the size of what you've shown us on the map.

The Tibet under the Qing Empire was much smaller. So, the Tibet shown in the map is about twice the size of Qing Tibet.
 
Tibet and Uyghurstan have as protectors India and the Ottoman Empire respectively and fall under their sphere of influence. It is highly unlikely for China to ever recover them so long as their protectors remain strong. And the irradiated norther wastelands will take decades, even a century to fully recover to their previous levels.

And so long as the oppressors of the korean population are korean themselves and the people is calmed with bread and circus the cause of independence is all but dead in this TL.
 
Joyous distrust is a sign of health. Everything absolute belongs to pathology.
(Friedrich Nietzsche)

Lera Bobkova was alternating between dying and vomiting. She felt nauseated to the core. – Normally, she was very careful with alcohol. But this guy – somehow – had lured her to drink too much... – much too much... Oh, it had been a boisterous evening, no doubt. She – vaguely – remembered unrestrained sexual pleasures, something she commonly didn't experience in male company. Damn, she had totally lost control – over the situation and over herself. What secrets had she blurted out? – Okay, there were no written records that she might have compromised – or codebooks or any other documents. But which dark details had she carelessly whispered into the bloke's pretty ears?

Lera was still working for the Ottoman Istihbarat. They were highly interested in what was going on in and around Singapore, which – nominally – did still belong to Great Britain. Well, the governor, a veteran coal mining comrade from South Yorkshire, might be having a merry time representing Her Majesty – and the SUP regime – at festivities of all kind, but in real life he did not call the shots. De facto, the city state was run by the Chinese merchant community. This makeshift solution seemed to meet the approval of all important neighbours. – Singapore was considered harmless, as Britain was not projecting her power. The last British man–of–war had been seen in port more than ten years ago.

Hence, Singapore had become an ideal meeting point, an unique communications and exchange node. It was the best place to know what was going on in South–East Asia – and in East Asia, because of the close ties the Chinese community was entertaining with the former homeland. In effect, to know everything about the recent occurrences in China, one was best placed in Singapore. In Hong Kong, one had a good chance of only learning the official Qing and US version of truth. In Singapore, one was hearing – and even seeing – the full spectrum. Of course, no cannibals had been tolerated hereabouts – but how could you possibly tell a maneater from an ordinary Chinese trader?

Lera had gathered a lot of information, as she was in close – intimately close – contact with several high–ranking Chinese ladies. Her principals in İstanbul had been very interested in what she had to tell. Actually, she was meeting the pursers of certain vessels, who were writing down her tales and issuing new orders. Seemingly, she was bargaining deals for the little trading company she was managing. – Had she disclosed all this now? And if so, to whom? – If only the retching stopped... and the terrible headache... Who might be interested in her knowledge? Impossible to tell...

Drat! She would have to confess to her principals. The routines must be changed. Perhaps she even had to leave Singapore. – That would be a mere catastrophe. The city had become her home. She was no young girl anymore. Damn! – Tell the world to stop turning! – Could she find that guy again? Well, she had to try. If he was what she thought he was, he would be gone. If he was still around, he might just be a plain womaniser. – But at first, she had to become fit again...
 
The Tibet under the Qing Empire was much smaller. So, the Tibet shown in the map is about twice the size of Qing Tibet.

But still it should be larger, Qinghai should be part of it as was mentioned previously. Unless they cannot claim the vast majority of it due to the GQDD.

Tibet and Uyghurstan have as protectors India and the Ottoman Empire respectively and fall under their sphere of influence.

Tibet is supposed to be neutral, so I don't think that saying that India is its protector is accurate.
 
But still it should be larger, Qinghai should be part of it as was mentioned previously. Unless they cannot claim the vast majority of it due to the GQDD.

Tibet in the early 1920ies:
 

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Dead are all gods; now we want the overman to live.
(Friedrich Nietzsche)

It was a pity. – He had been far away, in Washington, in the USA, when the realm of the Children had disintegrated. – Here in Hong Kong, nobody had believed it had happened. Nobody had believed Mister Cáo that he had engineered such an event. The field commanders and the esteemed American allies had thought it was a trap. One had put the armed forces in alert state, but one hadn't ordered them forward. – Therefore, the diehards among the Children had been able to freewheel the realm into carnage and chaos.

It had been a matter of hours, of two or three days at most, because the supply situation had quickly deteriorated. The substructures in the realm had been frail, still not resilient, and thus liable to collapse at a rapid pace. – When he had finally learnt about the situation, it already had been too late. How many millions had perished this time, one most probably would never know. Many more millions had been saved in the last nick of time, but all structures in the realm were gone. One had to start from scratch...

Prime Minister Deng Xixian was not happy, not at all. He had hoped to absorb the realm intact, or almost. As it was, China's power had suffered another serious setback. One was down to the resources of Guangdong, Guangxi and Guizhou – and of those parts of Hunan, Jiangxi and Fujian not devastated in the war. And one was down to a population of approximately 220 million people. This number included the 150 million inhabitants proper to the south and about 50 million refugees from the north – plus now perhaps 20 million former Children saved from the collapse of the realm.

Over time, one might add the 80 millions of the uncontrolled western provinces – and thus arrive at 300 million citizens. That was a far cry from the 565 millions the Great Qing Empire had had before Fēilóng. Tsai Xuĕ–bái had managed to almost cut in half the population... Well, the woman had been his protégé, a fact he rather would like to gloss over today, and he had approved the nuclear programme... But that was water under the bridge. One had to look forward.

Fortunately, the American allies were ready to support the empire further on. They were dreaming of shaping the new Chinese market. – Yes, the old American dream of the boundless Chinese market was still alive, to Deng's relief. It wouldn't be easy to restrict their influence, now that the empire was so weak. But one couldn't do without them. Even if the Russians continued to keep calm, a fact which could be considered a wonder in itself. – Now, at least China had been reunited; regaining the bedlam western provinces was just a matter of time and resources.
 
I'm off to a land without internet for a couple of days.
Enjoy your trip to the net-less land,....so can appreciated the miracle of internet even more...

So China is arseting itself again..well seems Deng still have the heaven mandate under him...but for so how long? but it seems will be a nice population control to china in the most horrible malthusian way ever possible,...
 
That was quite a bloodletting for the chinese. Don't know how many inhabitants japan has, but they will be the dominate power in east asia for at least a decade.
 
That was quite a bloodletting for the chinese. Don't know how many inhabitants japan has, but they will be the dominate power in east asia for at least a decade.

No, they have problems of their own, especially since their food situation is still tense. Plus the fact that they can't really control Korea anymore; a case of the tail wagging the dog. Russia isn't in a position to dominate either, since the far east is still... well, crappy.
 
No, they have problems of their own, especially since their food situation is still tense. Plus the fact that they can't really control Korea anymore; a case of the tail wagging the dog. Russia isn't in a position to dominate either, since the far east is still... well, crappy.
SE Asia is in a much better place than it was IOTL. Remember Japan and China helped industrialize the region. With those two major figures having setbacks it could be a major opportunity for Vietnam or Thailand to step into the lime light.
 
No, they have problems of their own, especially since their food situation is still tense. Plus the fact that they can't really control Korea anymore; a case of the tail wagging the dog. Russia isn't in a position to dominate either, since the far east is still... well, crappy.

Japan has a lot of problems, but compared to china they got of lightly. No big contaminated area, no civil war. The tense food situation won't kill almost half of their population as happened in china.
 
Before a man goes to the devil himself, he sends plenty of other souls thither.
(William Makepeace Thackeray)

Could one steal a train in Great Britain? Yes, one could, but one had to give it back. – The British rail system had never been modernised; it still relied on manually operated signal boxes and telephonic transfer of information. The various railway companies formerly operating the rail network had been nationalised, but that had been the only change. The infrastructure had been patched at best, without ever being improved.

At the same time, countless rail links – particularly those leading to plants decommissioned in the national concentration process – had been closed down. Some of those had been cannibalised for spare parts, but most were still workable, if with care. – So, what you needed were two adjacent signal boxes and a suitable rail link in-between. Bribing ordinary signal box operators was no big deal at all.

The system would tolerate freight trains being late – and freight trains carrying less freight than declared – or having less waggons than previously counted. However, the system would not tolerate freight trains going lost. Therefore, one could rob the train – to a certain extent, but had to return it to the system afterwards. And the system wouldn't even register that something was wrong.

The real challenge was to manage the looted freight. One had specialised on grain, most of which was arriving via Liverpool. An average grain freighter coming in from Canada could fill about 150 railway grain waggons, each of them transporting 50 tons. 150 waggons resulted in approximately five trains. At the moment, one grain freighter was arriving every second day. Thus, there were about fifteen trains per week. Working very hard, one could loot about three of them.

One couldn't use lorries, that was the problem. Motor lorries were conspicuous. Finding a suitable unused factory site was no problem, but getting the booty away was a real quandary. The solution was to utilise several sites – so that one had about a fortnight time to process the spoils. All this required an impeccable organisation. Well, Omar The Brain Bradley was exactly the man to stage such a coup.

Once the system got wind of what was happening, the grain trains would be escorted by troops – or even MI5 goons. But right now, there was no indication that the system knew it was being robbed. All trains were arriving at their destination and – no surprise – even trains not robbed did not contain the freight declared upon loading in Liverpool. The British cleptocracy obviously counted more players than just Bradley's badmen.

The grain could be grinded to flour. And it could be used to brew beer and distil whiskey. Bradley was amazed that even in a time of famine beer and whiskey seemed to be more important than bread. Now, he very well remembered the time when he had relied on alcohol to numb body and soul. He had his drugs today, which were keeping the pain remote without empoisoning his brain. But many people seemed desperate to get sloshed – to just forget about their distraught situation for some hours.

It was good business. One was earning obligations galore. Train drivers, signal box operators and other National Rail personnel were paid in kind. That ensured their survival – and that of their families. – One could not reach the decision makers, however. Party and controller organisation had supply chains of their own, as had the armed forces and the secret services. But below the upper crust, there was a vast army of blue and white collar workers looking for some extra food.

Actually, Bradley was pondering the question whether to cast his lot with Montagu Slater – and to overthrow communist rule. He could call in so many obligations that he could paralyse Greater London, the centre of SUP power. – It would, however, upset his livelihood. Should he face this risk? Or should he rather continue to profit from British decay? He wasn't getting younger – and his leg wasn't getting better... He would have to meet Slater – and sound out the possibilities...
 
It is no good meeting trouble halfways.
(H. G. Wells)

This flipping hamlet was one of the famished villages. Nothing to be got; even dogs and cats were gone. Ted cursed. Why was he always having tough luck? The chums were still raking around, but they wouldn't find anything useable or useful. The lads were rather green, fresh recruits from Birmingham, hardly apt to serve their guns. The lieutenant had committed them to his custody. The lieutenant was no lieutenant; he had been a sergeant in the real army. And Ted was no frigging nanny.

The idiots had found a photographic album – and were making fun of the porn pictures. Good grief, this antiquarian stuff didn't fill your stomach. Ted was too young to have remembrance of that gay era, but he had seen two or three porn flicks from the twenties. They had been shown in the local youth club, in secret. – Damn, he was hungry. He barked an order. One had to move on.

Officially, the lieutenant had sent them to reconnoitre. They were on the scout. But there was nothing. Nobody was living here, this was a land of the dead. Why should government troops loiter hereabouts, in this cursed country? The boys were closing up. Their faces were reddened. One of them was carrying the album. – "Drop that shit!" growled Ted. "Can't eat it! Dead burden..."

The fellow did as being told, looking unhappy. Ted coaxed them into formation. And on they went. Ted cursed again. They were not going to find food here, so, one better hurried. Returning to the camp, one could at least get some soup. When had he eaten a rump steak for the last time? Rare, with string beans and chips? He couldn't remember. It was a misery...

The boom and the creak ahead rocked Ted from his daydreams. The chums were looking quizzical. But Ted knew the sound; he had got to know it in London. Tanks! Yes, more than one, dead sure. Damn, what were they doing here? He ushered the boys to a clump of shrubs, where they could hide. There was no use in dragging them along, they were lacking combat experience. He would have to move forward alone.

It took him almost an hour to find a good observation position. There was a whole bloody tank company, just arrived, not yet completely camouflaged. And there were motorcycle messengers milling around. So, more troops somewhere close. Either more tanks, or infantry, at least a battalion. – This should interest the lieutenant. He rushed back, gathered the boys, urged them to run.

While they were jogging along, more boom and creak became audible. More tanks moving up... Ted cursed, gasping for breath. – And when the airplane suddenly soared over their heads, already in the process of turning, he knew they were in deep trouble. Cover! Where was cover? There was a stone wall to the left, that might do. He yelled his orders.

They made it across the wall and into cover before the plane came back. But the blasted bird had a belly gunner, who could see them lying behind the wall. Ted cursed once again, chased his lot over the wall, to the other side – and then to crawl to the right. They made about hundred yards, before the plane came back. – Okay, the next run–up was going to be parallel to the wall. So, up, up! And run, run!

And now: down! down! Don't move! Lie and wait! – Yes, the old tricks were still working. After another run–up, the bloody flyer gave up. – And all this with empty stomach, grumbled Ted to himself.
 
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