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China Still Working On Its Own Operating System

By - Source: Xinhua | B 21 comments

The Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday that China's own operating system, COS (China Operating System), may launch in October. News of the OS arrives by way of Ni Guangnan of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, who recently spoke with the People's Post and Telecommunications News trade paper about the upcoming platform.

According to the report, Guangnan is currently leading an alliance that was established back in March 2014 to develop an operating system. The platform is expected to dominate desktops first in one to two years' time, followed by mobile devices such as smartphones within three to five years. However, the project is experiencing issues such as research funding and a lack of developer focus.

"China has more than a dozen mobile OS developers with no independent intellectual property rights because their research is based on Android," said Guangnan. "Our key to success lies in an environment that can help us compete with Google, Apple and Microsoft."

The Chinese government banned the use of Windows 8 earlier this year. The government seemingly doesn't want to face another End of Support scenario as it's seen with Windows XP, which is widely used in China. (Support for Windows XP ended in April 2014.)

China's move away from the Windows platform may also stem from the growing hacking suspicions between the United States and China, which include information provided by Edward Snowden that indicated that U.S-based software and hardware include "backdoor" surveillance tools.

Guangnan told the trade paper that the ban of Windows 8 on government computers and Windows XP's retirement has allowed domestic OS developers to flourish. However, the project really needs to be led by the government.

News of COS surfaced back in January, revealing that the platform is based on Linux. At the time, the OS was similar to Android and running on multiple devices such as set-top boxes, smartphones, PCs and tablets. Shanghai Liantong was also named as part of the COS alliance.

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  • 10 Hide
    christinebcw , August 25, 2014 9:44 AM
    I can't wait. Just imagine built-in "phone home" technology to dial up China's central gov't instead of Ballmer's retirement fund account? Yes, indeed, that will be soooo much more secure! I'm sure it will "dominate" in a few years once it's required by Chinese law, too.
Other Comments
  • 10 Hide
    christinebcw , August 25, 2014 9:44 AM
    I can't wait. Just imagine built-in "phone home" technology to dial up China's central gov't instead of Ballmer's retirement fund account? Yes, indeed, that will be soooo much more secure! I'm sure it will "dominate" in a few years once it's required by Chinese law, too.
  • 5 Hide
    cocosoy , August 25, 2014 10:21 AM
    It's not like anyone outside of China will use it anyway. Don't really care.
  • Add your comment Display all 21 comments.
  • 1 Hide
    bmwman91 , August 25, 2014 10:26 AM
    This is all very interesting. Love it or hate it, MS has been in the OS game for decades and has tremendous experience with building a stable, secure OS. Even so, it does still have vulnerabilities that are constantly being discovered and corrected. If China is super worried about cyber-espionage and security, they seem to be taking an interesting route by building their own OS, which is an area that they have limited experience compared to a big player like MS. I wonder if they realize how open they might be leaving themselves to attacks in doing so.
  • -1 Hide
    christinebcw , August 25, 2014 10:42 AM
    BMW, they may not delude themselves into some 'total security' brainset at first, but eventually this might happen.

    Just imagine you're part of that OS team.

    This is a land where milk-disease errors have resulted in death sentences. Executions. This is where architects and engineers who have misled gov't inspectors over earthquake safety features have been sentenced to death and executed. These were show-trials, too - not just to punish The Wrong but to hang the carcass on a fencepost and say, "Any other scammers, beware." Dam-builders. And all those gov't inspectors who were implicated in bribery schemes.

    So, you're programming this OS. You say it's secure. And when it's hacked - ?

    But along with the OS, it's going to be application development, too. COS-Office. COS-IE. COS-PhotoShop. COS-Solitaire (er, Mahjong). But it looks like Apps Development will be sprouting from the wings of Android.

    I just think "Head of COS Development" might be a lifetime position. Er, that is, as long as you live.
  • -1 Hide
    gm0n3y , August 25, 2014 1:42 PM
    Given that Chinese software is generally terrible and the lack of quality on communist state projects (and everything else in China) I really doubt that this is going to be even half decent for a long time. Unless they mandate use from their own citizens there is little hope that this will take off. I mean big brother is already watching, but why make it even easier for them?
  • -5 Hide
    derekullo , August 25, 2014 2:36 PM
    User: Hello China OS.
    China OS: PROCEED
    User: I would like to open Microsoft Word.
    China OS: FOR WHAT PURPOSE?
    User: I would like to thank my grandfather for the gun he bought me.
    China OS: ILLOGICAL! GUNS ARE ILLEGAL!
    User: You misunderstand, the gun is a child's toy.
    China OS: LETTER WRITTEN
    China OS: WHAT IS GRANDFATHER'S ADDRESS?
    User: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20500
    China OS: ... ... ... ... ... EXTERMINATE EXTERMINATE
  • 2 Hide
    zfreak280 , August 25, 2014 4:28 PM
    I can see it now. A few misguided US citizens will use this software in their homes. After several weeks of use, their computer will be locked out and the boot screen will read, "ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US!"
  • 0 Hide
    gear999 , August 25, 2014 6:10 PM
    COS? Reminds me of ctOS. How odd...
  • 0 Hide
    atminside , August 25, 2014 6:51 PM
    So basically China's govt has acquired enough technology and software expertise through......various means and now wants to eliminate any foreign competition that will hinder adoption of their so called "spy-free" OS to their general public. I doubt there is any truth to what China says about MS spying on them. This is purely to drive away competition by using the disguise of nationalism and politics.
  • -1 Hide
    christinebcw , August 25, 2014 7:32 PM
    Well, I can't blame anyone, much less a gov't, for not wanting to phone-home credentials to Steve Ballmer's brainchild OS and its bureaucraZy. I wish 'em well, frankly, best o' luck, etc.

    Eventually, OS's run into the wall of compensating for old hardware limits and allowing newer services based on the latest tech. While China isn't pleased with paying for XP support into the future, I don't know if that wouldn't be far, far cheaper than building and maintaining their own OS over that massive variety of hardware. They'll find out, though. Best o' luck.
  • 1 Hide
    FFH , August 25, 2014 7:46 PM
    This reminds me of the news I heard about North Korea having their own OS. It's understandable that they want to make their OS so they can have more control over the software support. I have a feeling that it will be a lot more successful than the North Korea venture though
  • 0 Hide
    Zaranthos , August 25, 2014 7:52 PM
    Here you go China. Have fun.
    https://www.reactos.org/
  • -1 Hide
    christinebcw , August 25, 2014 8:02 PM
    FFH, I fear North Korea's OS will infect all the barbering services, and everyone ends up with a silly looking carrot-top patch of hair. It's hard to believe NK's leadership would use The Muppets as hairstyling guru's-!
  • 0 Hide
    Airfie Vileong , August 26, 2014 4:05 PM
    I am a Chinese working as a China analyst at a think tank. It is becoming more and more apparent to many people, that the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) knows it is on its last straw of survival.

    The party is facing severe and endlessly increasing systematic stress on all fronts:

    1. Increasing external oppositions from all other countries in the world including all of China's neighbours. They are forming more and more alliances and becoming more outspoken with rising strengths against China, in addition to increasing anti-China sentiment from people in all other countries. Many countries including Canada and Australia have tightened their immigration policy to prevent Chinese from entering their countries. Even on these casual internet message boards, when you look past the paid Chinese propaganda professional commenters, you notice rising general anti-China feelings from all over the world.

    2. Increasing internal severe and massive violent social unrest and anti-CCP mutiny from people of all Chinese living places e.g. mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Xinjiang, Tibet, Macau etc. To beat down internal dissent, the CCP every year is forced to spend even more money than on its massive military budget. This is continuously worsened by the free flow of information, with Chinese people knowing more and more from travelling abroad and learning about truths from jumping beyond the "Great Fire Wall" on the internet.

    3. Its own economy and social condition never able to develop to higher level beyond mass skill-less manufacturing, due to complete absence of law and common morals. High technology and innovations and scientific development all require many citizens working together voluntarily contributing long term in a system they trust, with things like rule of law, no censorship on knowledge, no restrictions on speech and expression, copyrights, patents, common morals when collaborating and trading with each other etc. These qualities are all destroyed in modern China by the CCP. When was the last time you heard an announcement of technology development or innovations or scientific breakthrough coming from a Chinese organization / company / university? You haven't because there ain't any. Unlike mass manufacturing factory work, these high level human developments cannot be forced on or bought with a dictator's central planning. The only way modern China gets these things is from stealing and spying from all other countries, but that has become much more difficult since the whole world has caught on to their act.

    This systematic fatal weakness is why you do not see even one Chinese brand or company that can compete in the international market in any industry of the human race. No rule of law in China also means no people or businesses, both Chinese and foreign, ever invest in China long-term or on a large scale because everything frequently change on a whim along with the political climate. No one trusts any contract or agreement in China because they are always broken by the Chinese and there is no legal protection whatsoever, meaning China can never advance to a knowledge economy or service economy. No rule of law also ensures Shanghai fail to become a financial city despite the CCP dumping huge resources into it for 30 years.

    4. China's mass skill-less manufacturing itself is going away to other countries due to sharply increasing costs and openly hostile and unfair business environment full of frauds and sanctioned protectionism and government robberies. The labor force is endlessly more demanding both in wages and benefits expectations and working conditions, especially since all of today's Chinese workers are single child used to coddling and indulgement by their families. It is further worsened by the rise of robotic automatic manufacturing and 3D printing. This situation is a death knock to the "growth-based legitimacy" of the CCP, which is the only thing CCP can rely on for continuing ruling power. For sure Chinese people tolerate the CCP when the economy seemingly explodes, but when one day it crashes and the country's hopeless bad shape hit them in the face the people's "support" for the CCP will turn on a dime.

    Since six months ago, all the major economic indicators for China have gone on a continuing nosedive - including manufacturing orders, export volume, commercial investments, corporate credits, foreign capital inflow, domestic consumptions, real estate prices, consumer spendings, luxury goods demand, HSBC Service PMI, survey of business sentiments etc. Suddenly all the rich Chinese tourist gobbling up luxury goods at different world's cities seem to have disappeared altogether. The CCP is on its last resort of printing literally trillions of worthless renminbi to dump into the economy, causing way more long-term harm than short-term help, and when that is over there is nothing else the CCP can do to prop up the failing economy. China currently ranks 82nd on GDP per capita and that is the highest it can go before falling sharply in the coming near future.

    5. Fierce unstoppable purges and mutually-destructive infighting among different factions within the party, who are imprisoning and killing each other every day. This power grab goes on under the laughable thin guise of "anti-corruption drive" when everyone knows all officials in china are corrupted. No work to manage the country or guide the ship is being done while this is going on.

    6. Its many previously-suppressed fatal problems have all grown too big to be contained all catching up to the CCP e.g.

    - severe carcinogenic poisonous pollution everywhere in air and water and soil and their own food etc, with the WHO issuing multiple warnings on Chinese population having the fastest cancer growth rate in the whole world
    - skyrocketing unrepayable bad debts of all kinds everywhere, its true scope no one on Earth knows because all data from China are faked
    - biggest housing bubble in human history, in addition to innumerous crumbling "ghost cities" and shoddily-built vanity project infrastructure that cannot and will not be used
    - rapidly aging demographics with a 140:100 male:female ratio (from one child policy, culture of "leftover women", and many Chinese families killing their own daughters so as to chase boys)
    - world's no.1 wealth inequality, with a Gini coefficient rivaling 18th century France just before the French revolution
    - complete absence of soft power / cultural influence / social attraction, one result of which is minimal and sharply dwindling number of foreign professionals and tourists and students going to China. It also means the CCP only has force as the only tool to use on the international stage
    - all Chinese chasing foreign-brand goods and services while ditching low-quality Chinese-brands, who have a well known history of poisoning their own food and their own baby formula so as to make more money. This dashs CCP's hope to build indigenous industries and a domestic consumption economy
    - corruptions and fraud throughout the whole rotten core of a system
    - desperate mass exodus at all levels of Chinese society to escape the country using emigration or buying houses / study abroad or marriage to foreigners or plain old human smuggling, resulting in all able Chinese leaving taking huge amounts of talents and money out of the country
    - the law of large numbers, "middle-income trap" and "Minsky moment" all work against the growth-based legitimacy CCP desperately needs for its survival

    Most importantly, the CCP knows that if 1.4 billion Chinese learn about basic human qualities such as morals, truth, justice, human rights, rule of law, fairness, freedom, universal values etc the CCP will be toppled very quickly. Therefore its state-controlled brainwashing education and propaganda machinations ensure a complete lack of morals and regard for laws in all Chinese growing up and beyond. This results in failure in all basic aspects of human interactions with every modern Chinese, whether it is business trading / personal dealings / technology development / creating innovations / human communications / scientific research / artistic expressions / teamwork collaborations / academic exchange etc. Another propaganda brainwashing technique used by the CCP is to make all Chinese people pathologically nationalistic and very emotional on this issue, so the CCP can always create and point to some "foreign enemies" so as to hide all the domestic crises and government robberies going on. This attention-diverting technique is the same trick magicians have used for more than a thousand years to fool their audience.

    An interesting example would be the Chinese reaction to this report - they are expected to dismiss this report as total rubbish, accuse the author "unpatriotic" for saying the truth, shout China will only become richer and stronger than all other countries, yet they will give no counter-arguments and they will make no acknowledgement to the horrible factual conditions and complete lack of basic human qualities listed above in modern China. Ironically, the longer Chinese people deny or refuse to acknowledge the CCP problem, the longer they are only digging themselves into the hole and hurting themselves for any chance of recovery. Consider the example of Google, Facebook, Wikipedia, Youtube, Whatsapp, Twitter, Instagram etc - these services are all completely blocked in China while at the same time the rest of the planet are on these services every second communicating ideas with each other, making friends, exchanging knowledge, doing business, working together, improving science and technology and arts, and advancing humanity.

    Some people say China economically developed a lot in past 30 years, but the truth is this "development" is actually debt borrowed against the future. After the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre of their own students, in order to survive and hang on to power, the CCP was forced to pursue short-term explosive economic growth that sacrifice everything else, including a foundation or potential for long-term economic and social development. This "scorched earth" policy is like winning the lottery for corrupted CCP officials who can rob a lot of money from the country in the short-term before escaping to America. The only entity left to suffer is China's future starting from now, a country that has been turned by the CCP into a place with no law, no morals, no system for future scientific or economic or social development, no spiritual support apart from money, no trust or cooperation among Chinese, no trust or goodwill from foreigners, no other country as friends, all resources sold away cheaply, entire environment and air and water and soil and food fatally polluted, only social recognition is to make a lot of money for "face", no creativity or personal development for Chinese young people, a populus not allowed to know the truths and not allowed to say the truths.

    The end result is that majority wealth of this "debt borrowed against the future" has gone to the 0.0000001% elite ruling class "princeling" CCP families (about 250 of them) who have already smuggled trillions of dollars abroad along with their U.S. passports and their own children (all Chinese elites and Politburo members hold foreign passports, with U.S. and U.K. being the most sought after choice). For the CCP in 1989, 1.4 billion people is great central-planning asset when the country start from nothing and you order them to do backbreaking mass manufacturing repetitive factory work 20 hours a day without workers protection of any kind. But in the 2014 borderless knowledge economy when that no longer works, 1.4 billion immoral and uncooperative and selfish and undeveloped and angry Chinese contained in a lawless system without any hopes of growth is very, very dangerous liability for the CCP.

    All debts against the future have to be paid back - China is no exception. That moment may arrive a bit later than expected but it surely will come, as it has on 100% of occasions in human history. For China the moment has arrived to suffer the consequences for all its own chosen actions in past 30 years. All the festering fundamental systematic problems listed above and much more, are only getting worse and worse everyday until one day when the system can suddenly no longer bear.

    Think USSR in 1989.
  • 0 Hide
    christinebcw , August 26, 2014 4:19 PM
    Thank you for that.

    I only question why "immigration policies" from other parts of the world are viewed as 'insults' or negative, whatsoever, especially when far more restrictive reciprocal policies have been in place legally and morally. It's reminds me of a saying, "You can't be insulted unless you let others do it to you."

    I do not think of "USSR 1989" and modern China, though, because billions of products are sold, worldwide, from Chinese manufacturing. The Soviets never had an international trade at a fraction of a percent of that, except in arms and weapons. Take away the AK-47 and the T-34, and there is barely any product stamped "Made in the USSR" on it.

    That's completely untrue of Chinese goods for the rest of the world.

    I'm surprised there's not a comment about the import of opium to finally open up Chinese goods trading for something other than European gold and precious metals. China always had so much that would benefit the rest of the world, but its size and ability to be self-sufficient prevented trade until opium was brought in to kick the legs out from under so many provinces and the Manchus.

    I have wondered if the world's gift of having China manufacture "everything" wasn't some modern opiate. When I see pollution levels, I can't help but wonder if there's a parallel.
  • 0 Hide
    bmwman91 , August 26, 2014 5:31 PM
    Airfie Vileong, thank you for the long, detailed account of things over there. It is an interesting place, with some great things, as well as some very sad things (and some very big concerns coming over the horizon). One thing I have suspected for a while is that the current CCP would NEVER start a war with the US or Europe, if for no other reason than that all of the richest and most powerful people in China have so much of their fortune stashed in foreign real estate as their "Plan B" for if/when the people there ever decide to topple the CCP, or a competing faction in the party goes after them. Now, if the CCP was toppled and the new government was not made of people whose fortunes were stashed abroad, then a major conflict could be much more possible.

    Anecdotally, I have seen a big shift in foreign real estate purchasing in my area, which is a very hot area for foreign money. For the last 3-4 years, it was nearly impossible to go to a property showing without encountering many people speaking Mandarin, either with one another or on a phone to a foreign buyer (my wife is fluent and heard many of the agents telling buyers in China about the properties over the phone). As of 3 or so months ago, that situation has changed dramatically, which seems to coincide with the collapsing shadow banking system, high material inventories that are not moving, and imploding real estate prices across China.

    I've been traveling to China for work for a number of years, and I would not say that all people there are without morals or ethics. Many of the people that I work with are intelligent, honest and hard working. They see right through the government's nonsense and are deeply concerned about their future there, especially since an engineering salary in China isn't enough to "buy" a foreign passport, and engineers are pretty well paid as far as people who "work for a living" in China go. It seems like anyone with the financial means will try to send their child to get educated in the US, Canada or some other "western" nation and many of the people I work with want to do so. Anyway, it might be that my exposure in China is too limited since the people I interact with are mostly college educated and work with foreigners a lot. I have some in-laws that live and own businesses there as well, and nearly all of them have obtained foreign passports or some means of leaving China if they wanted to. The rest of my in-laws, including my wife, moved to the US over a decade or so leading up to 1997 (most lived in HK). Her family felt that it was very important to be gone before the CCP took ownership of the place for some very strong reasons.

    Your comment about the CCP spending 30 years of money and effort to try to make Shanghai into a financial hub is interesting. The existence of HK, even now with its SAR government increasingly becoming a puppet of the CCP, is probably better than whatever the CCP is trying to do with Shanghai. I suppose that it is the dirty secret that everyone there knows: HK is what it is largely because it has not been run by the CCP! It is easily one of my favorite places in the world and it is a true "world city."

    My final thought is more of a what-if for China. There is no denying that foreign occupation did tremendous damage to the country. The opium plague was a deliberate move to weaken China and make for easier foreign control, and that damage made things so bad that the door was left wide open for communism. What resulted is, as far as I can tell, a capitalist/communist system with the worst aspects of both. Had foreigners not occupied China and essentially pillaged it for their own profit, I wonder what the country would be like today? I have almost zero education in Chinese history so I am unfamiliar with the state of things prior to foreign occupation, but it seems like things today would have been better without it. I am sure that it is a sore point with the people there, and one which the CCP propaganda machine fully exploits to keep people there fearful and angry towards the west and its ideas.

    Feel free to correct me where I am wrong in this post. It's just the rambling of someone that mostly knows about China from the outside, and a tiny bit from inside through business and family.
  • 0 Hide
    christinebcw , August 26, 2014 5:46 PM
    The Simple Quick Version of the Opium Wars...

    The 1700s Brits loved everything they could get from China, but they had almost nothing in return to offer them. Scottish wool was too heavy and warm for 90% of the population, too bulky to ship, too. Stiff Upper Lips and Stiff Pinkies With Teacups & Scones weren't big sellers, either. In the 1780s, the Brits were stumped: "We want to buy everything you have but, no, we're not giving you gold, silver, etc. You have to want to trade for our products." Except - the Brits had nothing. Nothing that the Chinese couldn't grow, couldn't produce themselves.

    But into Canton, they delivered Indian poppies, and refined opium and created a George Romero-esque zombie-plague among workers and soldiers for that warlord. His defense could easily be shattered by his neighbors - all enemies. He gave the Brits what they wanted - accepting useless-to-him goods in exchange for whatever he had IF the Brits wouldn't bring in opium ever again.

    This was mostly observed into the 1820s, when once again, greed for All Things China made a few disreputable merchant fleet owners wonder, "Say - was there something that was done 50 years ago to get access to this market, to gain favorable trade?" This time, it wasn't just Canton, but all the way up the coastline to Shanghai.

    In 10 years, there was another treaty, this time with the Manchu Emperor - "Chinese will give Brits & Euros whatever, as long as they don't bring in Opium anymore."

    This was what-was-later-called "the Unfair Treaties" - where shiploads of Chinese commodities were traded for lesser goods. But those included arms shipments, because by this point, Euro Metallurgists were far more advanced in weapons making than the Chinese. And if it's one thing the warlords loved more than a slave-driven province, it was an unbeatable provincial army.

    The Manchu emperors had enjoyed a god-like status for hundreds of years but, from the early 1800s into the 1860s, warlords and everyone else saw the emperor dealing with these foreign devils. In man to man ways. Face to face. As if the Great & Exalted Oz was, gee, just a fella. A regular joe. And cult-leaders (as opposed to provincial warlords) started gaining momentum and popular support. Suddenly, a warlord wasn't facing border foes, but shopkeeper's kids, down the street. Rebellion was in the air. Warlords wavered between joining the Emperor and saving their own power, or perhaps dispensing with the Emperor and taking it all themselves. It was, like, America 1968. All century long.

    It should also be noted that, up until the 1850s, China was a SMALL country. A population that was SMALL. There were eras when emperors restricted the population to "within one day's or three days' walk of the river." This was a Control Thing. Think "Joseph & Mary returning to Bethlehem" Control. China's population wasn't large, and huge vast, unpopulated areas served as massive buffer zones for each province.
  • 0 Hide
    christinebcw , August 26, 2014 5:58 PM
    This kinda makes me wonder about Redmond Merchants flying into Chinese ports, eh?

    "Here ya go. Try this. Now, just create a Microsoft account... now I have a hold of you... take a deep toke... I call it 'WinStore'."
  • 0 Hide
    Duckhunt , August 26, 2014 6:03 PM
    Quote:
    It's not like anyone outside of China will use it anyway. Don't really care.


    The US corporations off shore jobs and the jobs here go to visa holders , the OS might as well be made in china. The spying via the OS , go figure? A new idea i guess.
  • 0 Hide
    bmwman91 , August 26, 2014 7:50 PM
    Quote:
    The Simple Quick Version of the Opium Wars...

    The 1700s Brits loved everything they could get from China, but they had almost nothing in return to offer them. Scottish wool was too heavy and warm for 90% of the population, too bulky to ship, too. Stiff Upper Lips and Stiff Pinkies With Teacups & Scones weren't big sellers, either. In the 1780s, the Brits were stumped: "We want to buy everything you have but, no, we're not giving you gold, silver, etc. You have to want to trade for our products." Except - the Brits had nothing. Nothing that the Chinese couldn't grow, couldn't produce themselves.

    But into Canton, they delivered Indian poppies, and refined opium and created a George Romero-esque zombie-plague among workers and soldiers for that warlord. His defense could easily be shattered by his neighbors - all enemies. He gave the Brits what they wanted - accepting useless-to-him goods in exchange for whatever he had IF the Brits wouldn't bring in opium ever again.

    This was mostly observed into the 1820s, when once again, greed for All Things China made a few disreputable merchant fleet owners wonder, "Say - was there something that was done 50 years ago to get access to this market, to gain favorable trade?" This time, it wasn't just Canton, but all the way up the coastline to Shanghai.

    In 10 years, there was another treaty, this time with the Manchu Emperor - "Chinese will give Brits & Euros whatever, as long as they don't bring in Opium anymore."

    This was what-was-later-called "the Unfair Treaties" - where shiploads of Chinese commodities were traded for lesser goods. But those included arms shipments, because by this point, Euro Metallurgists were far more advanced in weapons making than the Chinese. And if it's one thing the warlords loved more than a slave-driven province, it was an unbeatable provincial army.

    The Manchu emperors had enjoyed a god-like status for hundreds of years but, from the early 1800s into the 1860s, warlords and everyone else saw the emperor dealing with these foreign devils. In man to man ways. Face to face. As if the Great & Exalted Oz was, gee, just a fella. A regular joe. And cult-leaders (as opposed to provincial warlords) started gaining momentum and popular support. Suddenly, a warlord wasn't facing border foes, but shopkeeper's kids, down the street. Rebellion was in the air. Warlords wavered between joining the Emperor and saving their own power, or perhaps dispensing with the Emperor and taking it all themselves. It was, like, America 1968. All century long.

    It should also be noted that, up until the 1850s, China was a SMALL country. A population that was SMALL. There were eras when emperors restricted the population to "within one day's or three days' walk of the river." This was a Control Thing. Think "Joseph & Mary returning to Bethlehem" Control. China's population wasn't large, and huge vast, unpopulated areas served as massive buffer zones for each province.


    Thanks for the quick history lesson!
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