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Caught between the communist stronghold of Henan to the west and the corporate capitalism of the Canton Confederation to the south, China's Coastal Provinces are basically Asia's Sweatshop. They run along the Chinese coast from the mouth of the Yellow river to just below Shanghai. The military actions of their neighbors, the rise of piracy, and corporate meddling have all conspired to create one of the worst urban sprawls in Asia. With the poor economy and high population density, of course the criminal element runs rampant. But besides being a den of wageslaves and pirates, the Coastal Provinces have another claim to fame, they are the home of the Great Dragon Lung
The Republic Civil war was the death blow to the various prefectures that would eventually form the Coastal Provinces. For eight years the new guard communists fought the old hardliners, turning former comrads into enemies. This reaked havok on the coastal infrastructure, to the point of collapse. Corporate funding kept the dissolution to anarchy at bay, in exchange for loose anti-sweatshop laws.
Guanxi (connections) is what is most important in China when it comes to doing business. The strongest guanxi is of course, family. Not just your immediate family (parents and siblings) but also your grandparents, their siblings, the in-laws, and even cousins thrice removed. Make an enemy and you may end up with over a 100 people after you.
In China, hierarchy in society is important as in knowing who is your better. Confucianism strongly influenced Chinese civilization and it was big on every individual knowing their place in society. People keep a virtual social scorecard and maintain a tally in their head as to who scores higher.
Among the Chinese, etiquette is important, as in how polite this or that person acts. The Chinese learn pretty early that they are supposed to be courteous to each other. As in being courteous to others even when your ripping them off. There is also the concept of "face" which deals with your honor, reputation, street credibility, and so on. If you screw someone over, it's advisable to give that individual the opportunity to restore his reputation, otherwise you will make an enemy.
Sixth World in the Provinces
Though things were not all roses for metahumans when they appeared in China (e.g. parents abandoning ork and troll children), due to cultural factors the Han Chinese were more easily able to accept the emergence of metahumans than people in Japan, India, the Middle East, or some of the more conservative regions and nations in the West (e.g. the Confederation of American States or Spain). The treatment of metahumans is generally likewise better than in most of the world, especially compared to the CAS, Japan, or the Middle East. This is reflected in the Chinese megacorp Wuxing, Inc., their criminal syndicates (Triads), and in both Daoism and Buddhism.
Magic was embraced by the Chinese relatively easily due to it's acceptance in Daoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism and therefore its reintegration into Chinese society was far easier than it was in the Islamic nations or in most of the Catholic world. The Awakened are favored in Chinese society and the use of magic in society is greater than in the West as demonstrated by Wuxing, Inc., states such as Sichuan and Manchuria, the respect and reverence for dragons, the Triads, or the city of Hong Kong.
The megacorporations used the discord after the Republic Civil War to capitalize on their extraterriorial holdings in the Coastal Providences. Corporate sympathizers were placed and well-funded in nearly every governmental agency, until they had control over the puppet regime. The result is a batch of microgovernments each toadying to its own corporate paymasters.
The Free city of Shanghai is once again a pirate port. The city and its harbor are considered neutral ground by the local pirate and privateer crews. Presumably, the Triads, especially Lung's Red Dragons, have a hand in local underworld politics.
Unofficially, Lung's word is law. His status in the local culture, as well as his Triad footsoldiers, guarantee any decree he should decide to make would be carried out. But luckily for the megacorps, the great dragon is noticeably silent about the local politics. Presumably, he is more concerned with the big picture of the Ring of Fire.
The arrival of Lung has resulted in the stabilization of local politics as some of the microstate neighbors are seriously contemplating rapprochement and even reunification.
The Yellow river to the north, the T'ai Shan mountains to the west and the China sea to the south and the east all keep the borders of the Coastal Providences well-defined. A vast majority of the land is well-developed, this being one of the oldest populated areas in China.
Within the Coastal Province's economy, you find an unspoken truce between the megacorps of the PacRim and the underworld syndicates such as the Triads and the East China Sea pirates. In fact, they often work hand in hand, as is the case withthe return of the practice of privateering. Local microgovernments and corporations can't support a standing navy, so they get a local pirate gang, grant them letters of marque and safe haven, and sick them on their rivals. The Coastal Provinces are a crucial shipping hub for most of Southeast Asia, it being the terminal point for the New Silk Road Transcontinental Railway, so the fighting in the water between the different privateers as well as the always oppertuistic pirates can be fierce.
The Coastal Provinces's reputation as Asia's Sweatshop is not unearned. The corporations house most of their industrial production facilities here where they can keep wages low and can cut corners on safety and environmental regulations. Heavy industry and traditional electronics dominate the regions exports.
|The Splinter States of China|