Chinese Empire

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Chinese Empire
Government type Absolute monarchy
Ruling party Imperial Faction (conservative)
Capital Beijing (ID 1612)
Population 51.78 million
Primary culture Manchu
Literacy 3.5%
National value Order
Tech school Uncivilized
Status Uncivilized
China in 1836 with all its substates

Boasting an enormous population and abundant wealth, China has potential to become a Great Power despite having little technological development. The path towards maximizing the country's potential is embracing Westernization and having good relations with the major states of Europe. It is surrounded by expansionist European countries that seek to carve out their own concessions in China, especially the United Kingdom United Kingdom to the south and Russia Russia to the north.

First steps

Early on, the decision must be made to embrace Western culture and exposure to foreign influences, or keep China shrouded in silent xenophobic secrecy. For this guide, please force Westernization on the people, kicking and screaming if need be. Accept every offer of military missions, which increase your research rate at the cost of greater militancy. Allow foreigners to come and go as they please, and keep from souring your relations with the Great Powers. Stay friends with them, if possible, even at the expense of your people's initial wishes. The landed elites of China choke on the Western Wind, and they'll be troublesome if not kept in check.

Controlling rebels

In order to keep the people happy, keep the taxes low. It bears repeating that China should never have money problems. It is wholly possible to be making money hand-over-fist, with taxes as low as possible, with spending as high as possible, with a -25% tariff. Implement changes slowly over time to prevent the economy from plummeting. It is quite satisfying to amass great wealth, while even the poor have their needs more than taken care off.

One may notice, during the course of such foreigner-friendly play, a terrifyingly high rate of recruitment for Chinese Anarcho-Liberal rebels. Membership can grow into the millions. Keep an eye on them. Station soldiers in troublesome regions if need be, just don't allow a rebellion of 1000+ brigades to spawn. Anarcho-Liberalism isn't so bad for China, but the hit to Prestige will be hard on the effort to Westernize. Take options to lower militancy when a violent uprising can be avoided.

Sometimes the poor will take up arms against the rich. Do not intervene in these events. The poor will suffer lower militancy, and the rebellious rich will be put down.

Beware the Great Powers; at first, any one of them can take down technologically-starved Chinese soldiers by the thousands. Despite its overwhelming numbers, China's military starts a world behind the technical advancement of Europe, and it takes many years of dedicated research to catch up. Bow to them for now, but at the same time, don't be pushed around. It's easier for China to defend a region from conquest than it would be to take it back. Use scrutiny and strategy in your dealings with others.

Westernization should be pursued with vigor. In order to get the required Prestige, one may declare a few wars of humiliation backed by a few conquests. Kokand Kokand, Cambodia Cambodia and Afghanistan Afghanistan are easily humiliated, while Dai Nam Dai Nam and Korea Korea make good candidates for conquest. Be wary of invading Tibet Tibet. While it makes a good addition to Chinese territory, Great Britain can and will join the war on their side, and that's a war you aren't likely to win.

You may find it useful to release a nation to quickly lose enough infamy to conquer another. Releasing Mongolia Mongolia as a satellite in exchange for conquering Korea is a fair trade, and allows for a net gain of Prestige (+5).

Alternatively, you can eat smaller amounts of infamy gain an easy 10 prestige by moving early on South Asia by forcibly adding them to your sphere of influence. Once in your sphere, they will be quick to ally and damaged relations will improve rapidly. Because they are technologically equivalent, just one of your starting irregular armies has enough numbers to fight them head on, but it won't hurt to grab and split a second army to speed up the occupation. While you may not gain territory, China already has all the wealth and potential it needs to fight the other great powers, so focus on turning that potential into real threat by improving your provinces and research to catch up to them.


China has an incredible capacity for industrial development. With the wealth flowing into the treasury, building new facilities will be a simple matter (avoid building canned goods and explosives factories). After Westernizing, there will be many thousands of unemployed craftsmen, so build factories quickly and liberally.

Russia is a common first foe, likely to attack through the Sofianova region in the earlier years, so do not show weakness there. With all the soldiers at China's disposal there should never be an undefended border. The AI is intimidated by vast numbers, even if their technology is far superior.

China's population is big. Really, really big. And it keeps on growing, if you're doing it right. In case of an attack by a foreign power, don't hesitate to throw your entire army at the threat. Build a new one. By 1850, the population should have enough soldiers for upwards of 1000 standing brigades, with some 900 reserve brigades in an emergency, if not more. This is not exaggeration. There are a lot of people in China!

Sooner or later you should become a great power. After industrializing you should be ranked first, when your Industry score flies past Great Britain's without looking back. At this point, the choice is yours. As far as unstoppable juggernauts go, China can certainly be one.

Military: You can amass countless brigades, but will stay far behind Europe technologically until you focus on the military. If you aren't friends with Great Britain or Russia, make sure you're able to fight them before you tick them off.

Navy: Don't bother making a huge Navy until you have steamships. Still, a small fleet of sailing ships is recommended for transporting invasion forces and enacting blockades. Such a fleet proves especially useful against Dai Nam.

Diplomacy: If you don't take Tibet for yourself, get it into your Sphere as soon as you're a Great Power. If you don't, it's likely that Great Britain or Russia will swallow it and increase the size of your border with either. Unless, of course, this is desirable, in which case, why not take Tibet for yourself?


Industry: You will never employ all your craftsmen, no matter how many factories you build and expand. Give one a job, three more come of age.

China in Heart of Darkness

In Heart of Darkness, China is still one of the most potentially powerful nations in the game. The Chinese start off disunited as many Chinese states, but unlike in vanilla Victoria 2 or AHD, China can be united fairly quickly. The nation begins the game as the first in military score - above the United Kingdom United Kingdom - and the Chinese sub-states themselves may well reach into the top 8. As an Uncivilized Nation, one of China's main priorities will (conventionally) include Westernization. With HOD's new mechanic - the gaining of research points through the conquering of other territories, one can heavily expand an empire and progress towards Westernization simultaneously. Initially, Korea Korea, Dai Nam Dai Nam, Burma Burma, and Siam Siam are relatively easy conquering targets. While one can annex these nations with ease, they will incur drastic infamy penalties; the sheer magnitude of China's armies may well incline western powers to ignore infamy levels, although containment is still a serious threat in the early game.

One must note that research points are only gained if the targeted nation has researched something themselves, attacking a nation at 0% progress towards their own Westernization will only entail infamy and land. The AI of the Chinese sub-states is also capable of managing these minor invasions without the intervention of its puppeteer. Afghanistan Afghanistan and Panjab Panjab are good target nations if one's goal is expansion; they open up a second front to India - which can lead to conflicts with the British. Thus it is highly recommended that one study the Opium Wars before making such a decision. Japan Japan is also quite easy to bully if the Chinese navy is not defeated in mutual combat - or through the navy of the Americans who typically sphere the island nation.

Train as many infantry units as possible before Westernizing. When the Westernization option is taken, China is unified, deleting the units of the Chinese sub-states. If this directive is not adhered, China becomes prone to Russian and British invasions. Once Westernized, China can continue through many directions. Medicine will help decrease the loss of China's vast population size, as it's wholly possible that 50,000/month will emigrate to the New World or the possibly released Australia Australia. As China Westernizes, it will instantly be added to the list of Great Powers, and the military will most likely be the most highly scored. Once China has caught up technologically, one can take back Primorsk from Russia Russia, acquire North and South Bengal from the U.K., or embark on a massive industrialization project.

As early as possible, lower the taxes of China's poor population and maximize its military funding. This will increase your brigade limit immensely. It is entirely possible to have a pool of 700,000 soldiers shortly after Westernization if one manages taxes and spending well. Note however, that unlike nations such as the US or UK, raising the Chinese army is a long process as it requires a massive amount of Small Arms, Wine, and Explosives (depending on the preferred unit types). If the number of brigades is stalling or plateauing, it may be because China lacks the resources stockpiled for military production. Try automating trade and setting the minimum stockpile higher than usual. This is expensive, but greatly increases the rate at which China can build an army.

Do pay attention to foreign affairs. It would be considered unwise to partake in a Great War too soon after Westernizing. When a crisis erupts, one side will inevitably ask China, as a Great Power, to represent them in the crisis. As an empire located in the Far East, it will be quite difficult to intervene in any form. Furthermore, one will not suffer a prestige hit for the lack of participation in a crisis on another continent. Finally, it is nearly certain that little would be gained by China in a typical European crises - The subject and current state of Greece should matter very little to this nation. Thus, it is recommended that one pursue a neutrality when dealing with the crises of a distant continent.

Below is the examination of possible post-Westernization military campaigns:

Naval China

This strategy requires building naval bases in any and all territories that support them. Along with building naval bases, you must also shift your research to exclusively naval for a few years in order to bring it up to speed.

The Chinese navy starts out incredibly weak, so it must become the immediate focus after westernization if a naval China is to become a viable option. Your army will mostly take care of itself due to your massive population and the sheer size of it should be enough to push around most smaller nations, even if your army is outdated. So, start by putting most all research into your navy. However, be careful to invest in industry as well. A partially neglected army can be brought up to speed fairly quickly, but a neglected industry can prevent China from growing to its full potential (when building factories, make sure to focus on clipper convoys and artillery, since these are the main requirements of most naval units). In addition to researching your navy, build as many naval bases as possible.

Good targets for a naval minded China shortly after Westernization are any small nations with large coastlines. If you have not yet pressed into south-Eastern Asia, now is a good time to do so, however it may be too late since Dai Nam and Siam may have been Sphered or conquered by a great power, and you do not yet have the strength to challenge any of the great powers. If this is not the case, then those countries are easily taken.

For now your focus should be on Expanding into the sea and taking territory with access to the ocean so you can build/expand naval bases in those territories. Indonesia or the Philippines are good targets if their owners are secondary powers that you can easily bully around. If you haven't already taken Japan, now is the time to do so. Japan can be a difficult opponent if you wait too long in the game, and depending on how long it took you to Westernize, Japan may be in one of several different states.

  • If they have been sphere by a great power, then you are basically out of luck until your navy is large enough to compete or your army is large enough for a quick victory.
  • If Japan has become a civilized nation, then an invasion will be difficult, but not impossible. Depending on how long you wait, be ready for a bloody war on the mainland of Japan.
  • There are any number of situations that may make Japan a relatively easy target (regime change from revolution, isolationism, an inability to westernize). Consider this a blessing and take Japan ASAP.

A word of Warning: While taking these smaller or less civilized nations/colonies it is essential that you do not provoke any of the other great powers to war. Pretty much any of them can completely dominate your navy at this point in the game, spoiling your game before you even get started. Pay close attention to the relations and alliances of the countries you are invading so as not to anger any of the great powers. Another concern is that accruing too much infamy will result in a war of containment by one of the GPs. Depending on which GP initiates, this war is winnable but will greatly halt your progress since most all of your units will have to go towards preventing containment instead of taking new territory. It is better to wait for your infamy to fall than end up prematurely at war with another GP. When the event pops up that allows you to either accrue infamy and influence, or lose influence and prestige, be careful what you chose. Too much infamy, and the other GPs are provoked, but the alternative hit to prestige isn't good either, so you have to take it on a case by case scenario.

Once you have taken a large number of nations with coastline and smaller nations, you should have enough resources at your disposal to become a huge naval presence. This will require a period of waiting. How long is completely dependent on how you have played the game up to this point, but you want to wait long enough to have your navy and army at full strength. Your army will pretty much be the biggest in the world no matter what, but you want your navy to have a solid 150-200 ships and be well diversified. 100-150 is workable, but less than 100 and you are in for quite the challenge. When it comes to numbers, the more the better. Whatever size navy you have, make sure to compare it if at all possible to that of the countries you plan to go to war with first.

Once your military is built up, Australia Australia is a good target, as you should be able to fare well enough against the British to get the troops you need on the ground in Australia. If Australia is independent, the ground war will be quick and easy. If war with them requires war with Britain, then invading into India simultaneously with ground forces should help tip the balance in your favor.

Complete domination of Indonesia and the other islands off the South Eastern coast of Asia should be snapped up at this point.

Once that is completed, the next move is yours. Invading into India will require a concerted effort and a large amount of time, but the resources and population there are invaluable. Russia is a prime target for invasion and they likely won't have many allies that border you.

Really, no single country, GP or otherwise, will be a threat to you. You might even have the naval power to invade the mainland UK. The only real threat would be an alliance of 3 or more GPs against you, and even still it would probably only end in a white peace. However, be prepared, the more aggressive you are, the more wars of containment there will be and more countries will ally against you.

The true threat to China is the rebel presence that you will have been dealing with and will continue to deal with. The rebels can easily number in the millions and raise several hundred or even a thousand brigades in an uprising. There isn't anything that can be done about it, other than to leave enough brigades scattered around your territory that they could quell any uprising that happens. Even if the rebels win, its not game over. There will definitely be a recovery time, but you can continue your conquest after a short while.

Land Based Strategy

In 1836 China has the world's largest standing army, Guangxi Guangxi will have the third-largest and Yunnan Yunnan will have the fourth-largest. Even though it's in control of insane amounts of manpower, it's lacking the proper technology and will do so as long as it's not westernized. Russia and Great Britain can easily take one or two states if they are provoked.

If China ends up in a war with one of the two nations, it should NOT occupy anything. Quickly take control over the substates troops as they will wander into enemy territory and will be eradicated.

But all other uncivilized nations besides Japan will not stand a chance.


  • Obscene population size; you will never run out of manpower for both factories and armies
  • Resources extremely plentiful
  • Lots of weak uncivilized neighbors ripe for conquest
  • Isolated from the large Great Wars in Europe later on in the game


  • Extreme amounts of micromanagement required to run the country late game
  • Rebellions long lasting and almost impossible to put down
  • Shares large border with Russia, which makes for a very dangerous early game enemy
  • Cholera epidemics and emigration cause massive population loss unless you change government type and social policies
  • Very low literacy rate and expensive education cost, so lagging behind on the small amount of techs you start with is easy

The Great Wall

This is the guide for playing an isolationist China. Not yet written, please contribute. Westernization is still needed for an isolationist China, but the focus should be on industry and defense against Russia early on. Early on use focus point to promote clergymen. Before [westernization] choose industrial reform for the early factory and 30% westernization. After westernization focus on Industry and commercial techs and building factories. Post-westernized China will get massive amounts of workers from National foci. Research as many State and Government techs as possible, and use all of the foci to produce workers. In the end of the game, the player won't have time for anything else than upgrading factories.