|National Motto: A Single Death is a Tragedy, A Million is a Statistic|
The Grand Council
The Imperial Tribunal
-Founding of the first Empire
|Population||Over 1 Billion|
The Asian Eastern Empire of China is a massive, economically powerful nation, renowned for its nation's devotion to warfare and their monarchy. It is a highly militaristic nation that believes itself to be the pinnacle of Asian society. It has developed and maintained a foreign policy that strides to have "Asia for Asians." The Eastern Empire's xenophobia has risen over the years to a fanatical level and has drive the Empire into several wars against nations of foreign blood and/or influence. The nation owes its humble beginnings to Shi Conn, a man of Chinese ancestry that was brought to North Korea by his parents. They lived in the Communist totalitarian state for all of Shi's life and Shi rose within the ranks of the North Korean army until he became a prominent and well-respected General. His power and influence within the military allowed him to convince the North Korean government to renew their war with the South.
Under Shi Conn's leadership the North Korean army successfully invaded and conquered South Korea, with the South Korean government surrendering to Shi Conn only a week after his initial invasion. Though this caused much celebration for the Communist government of North Korea, for Shi Conn it was only the beginning. Having conquered the South, General Conn turn his army North and effectively defeated what North Korean arm forces that did not willingly defect to his side. In a matter of two weeks, General Conn effectively defeat both Korean governments and united the peninsula under the new banner of the Eastern Empire, crowning himself as the new monarch. Over the next several generations the Eastern Empire expanded into the Conn family homeland of China until finally reaching the old Imperial city of Beijing. Not only growing in size, the Eastern Empire grew in power as well and quickly became one of the most militarily powerful Asian nations in all the region.
However, their rise was not without a fall as Shoa-Tu Conn, in a bid of gaining enough power to finally conquer all of Asia, signed the Eastern Empire into the World Military Dominion, effectively making the Empire a core Dominion State. This would bring the Empire new power but would also fracture its people as foreign influence from the other Dominion Core States, none of whom were Asian, began to filter in. Eventually the Dominion Wars broke out as the Dominion began its conquest of the world. However, the remaining free states of the World rallied together and eventually defeated the Dominion. The Empire paid for its involvement in the Dominion with a civil war, a result of Shoa-Tu's death at the hands of his son and heir, Yu Conn. The conflict would last a generation as Yu effectively reconquered the lands of the Empire from false kings and foreign overlords. In the process he rebuilt the Empire, focusing its new strength from his Chinese heritage. The result upon his death and the end of the civil war, was the Empire of today. Again a militarily and economically strong nation, bound by a policy of protecting the Asian region from foreign influence.
Government and Politics of the Eastern Empire
The government of the Eastern Empire is headed by a Monarchy. Monarchs of the Eastern Empire have traditionally carried the regal title of Sovereign. However, after the second Imperial Civil War which was sparked at the end of the Dominion Wars, Yu Conn emerged as Ruler. The heir of the late Shoa-Tu Conn, Yu decided to reorganize the Empire to reflect their Chinese ancestry and thus adopted the Imperial Title of Emperor. Through an extensive reorganization program and sweeping reforms, Emperor Yu drastically transformed the government of the Eastern Empire to reflect the rule of previous Dynasties, specifically those of the late Ming and Qing. Though still Dominated and centralized around the absolute rule of the Emperor, the government of the Eastern Empire today also has several new organs that delegate power to both the rising nobility, the Military, and a newly emergent educated scholar-gentry class.
The Emperor (The Executive)
The Emperor, as tradition dictates, is the descendant and representative of Heaven on Earth, he has absolute power over all matters, big or small, under Heaven. His mandate to rule is regarded as divine and predestined. The Emperor of the Eastern Empire is seen not merely as the head of the nation, but also as the sole and supreme overlord of the entire civilized world. The Emperor's words are considered sacred edicts, and his written proclamations directives from above. The Emperor's orders are to be obeyed immediately and addresses to the Emperor are always to be formal and self-deprecatory, even by the closest of family members. The Emperors maintains a centralized grip on the government. Though he controls the country through absolute rule, ministries and organs of government were created to help organize, delegate, and better help the functioning of the government. Though given some autonomy, all branches of the government are ultimately at the whims of the Emperor and he retains the right to dissolve any organ at any time.
The Emperor's position and title of the Emperor is hereditary. It is usually passed by agnatic primogeniture or from father to oldest son. However, there are also instances where the throne is assumed by a younger brother, should the deceased Emperor have no male offspring. By convention in most dynasties, the eldest son born to the Empress succeeded to the throne. In some cases when the empress did not bear any children, the emperor would have a child with another of his many wives (all children of theemperor are said also to be the children of the empress, regardless of birth mother).
Imperial Title of the Emperor
It is taboo to refer to the Emperor by his given name, even if it comes from his own mother, who instead is to use Huangdi (Emperor), or simply Er (son). The Emperor is never to be addressed as you. Anyone who speaks to the emperor is to address him as Bixia (Your Imperial Majesty), Huang Shang (Emperor Above or Emperor Highness), tian zi (the Son of Heaven ), or Sheng Shang (the Divine Above or the Holy Highness). Servants are to address the emperor as Wan Sui Ye (Lord of Ten thousand years). The Emperor refers to himself as Zhen (the royal "We") in front of his subjects, a practice reserved solely for the emperor. In contrast to the Western convention of referring to a sovereign using a regal name or by a personal name, a governing Emperor is to be referred to simply as Huangdi Bixia (His Majesty the Emperor) or Dangjin Huangshang (The Imperial Highness of the Present Time) when spoken about in the third person.
In his full official title, the Emperor is styled His Imperial Majesty the Emperor of the Great Conn Dynasty, Son of Heaven, Lord of Ten Thousand Years.' When an Emperor dies, it is referred to as jiabeng (collapse) and the Emperor that has just died is referred to as Daxing Huangdi.
Please see Sovereigns of the Eastern Empire for a complete list of Sovereigns
First Minister (Executive Administrator)
The First Minister is the adviser and right hand of the Emperor. Often seen as the voice of the Emperor, the First Minister more often than the Emperor himself delivers Imperial decrees as well as oversee the carrying out of Imperial law as designed by the Emperor himself. The First Minister also travels more often than the Emperor on diplomatic missions, carrying out the wishes of the Emperor and being granted limited powers to negotiate treaties in the Emperor's name. The First Minister also oversees the workings of the Imperial Court.
The Imperial Court (Executive Cabinet)
The Imperial Court of the Eastern Empire form the backbone of the Emperor's power. Made up of several ministries, each ministry acts as an individual advisory council to the Emperor and help to advise him on matters of State, finance, war, and the education of the nation. The Emperor sets up each Ministry according to the needs and desires of the Empire. The Emperor then appoints Ministers to each Ministry accordingly. Candidates for the Ministries are solely individuals who have passed the Imperial Examinations and were placed in the Xué Zhě caste. These individuals make up the scholar-gentry of Imperial Society as well as one of the only groups allowed to participate in government.
The Imperial Court is overseen by the First Minister. The First Minister oversees all operations within the various Ministeries and acts as the right hand of the Emperor, often times never leaving the Emperor's side. They are the closest of all the advisers to the Emperor and act as voice of the Emperor, delivering Imperial decrees in the Emperor's name. The First Minister also severs as an Imperial representative of the Emperor and is often sent out on Diplomatic mission for the Emperor. Most importantly the First Minister ensures that Imperial law as designed by the Emperor is universally upheld.
All appointees to the Imperial Court are males and are usually over the age of twenty. The Emperor also has the power to remove and replace any Minister at anytime for any reason. The Emperor may also split, merge, or dissolve any or all Ministries for any reason and at anytime.
- The Several Ministries within the Executive Council are:
- Ministry of Interiors
- Ministry of War
- Ministry of Treasure
- Ministry of Honor
- Ministry of Energy
- Ministry of Commerce/Labor
- Ministry of Health
- Ministry of Housing and Public Works
- Ministry of Transportation
- Ministry of Education
The Grand Council (Legislative Branch)
The Junjichu or Grand Council is a unicameral legislative body and privy council to the Emperor of the Eastern Empire. The council has no real legislative power, with all laws ultimately the decision and will of the Emperor. However, the Grand Council does have the authority to draft bills which they would like to see made into law and present them to the Emperor. The Grand Council's main function is to ensure the issues of the people are presented to the Emperor so that he may address these issues and solve the problems of the Empire. The Grand council is seated with provincial Zǒngdū, or Governor-Generals assigned to the leadership of each Province by the Emperor himself. The Council meets once every two years and will stay in session all year long. It is during this year that the Emperor forces the delegates to remain in the capital of Beijing. They must have a permanent residence in Beijing for which to stay during this year and must also pay for their trip both to Beijing and back to their respective province. The Grand Council meets within the Qianqing Palace of the Forbidden City. The Emperor also has the power to abolish the Grand Council at anytime during their year long session should they prove worthless in his need for advice on legislative decisions.
In interests of constructing bills to present the Emperor, the members of the Grand Council also have the ability to join into committees with which to discuss and jointly conscript bills. For this reason several committees can be formed at anytime but almost solely after formed around a specific idea with which they wish to draft legislation for.
The Imperial Tribunal (Judicial Branch)
The Imperial Tribunal is the supreme court of the Empire. It is a tribunal of nine appointed men, four from the Zhàn Shì caste, four from the Xué Zhě caste, and the last seat held for the appointed First Minister. The Emperor bestows upon the Imperial Tribunal the power to interpret Imperial law and past judgement on judicial matters based upon their interpretation. The judgment of the Imperial Tribunal is considered final with only the Emperor having the power to overrule a decision made.
Economy of the Eastern Empire
- Industry:Military products; machine building, electric power, chemicals; mining (coal, iron ore, magnesite, graphite, copper, zinc, lead, and precious metals), metallurgy; textiles, and food processing
- Agriculture: Rice, corn, potatoes, soybeans, pulses; cattle, pigs, pork, and eggs
- Exports: Minerals, metallurgical products, manufactures (including armaments); agricultural and fishery products
- Imports: Petroleum, coking coal, machinery and equipment; consumer goods, and grain
- Natural Resources: Coal, lead, tungsten, zinc, graphite, magnesite, iron ore, copper, gold, pyrites, salt, fluorspar, and hydropower
Demographics of the Eastern Empire
Religion & Spirituality
- For Further Reading, see the Shaoism article
Historically the Eastern Empire has been a mostly athiest nation. Since the time of the Ganosiain que and occupation, which nearly crippled the early Empire, the central government has made it a point to ban all religion and has enforced these laws with an iron fist. However, following the end of the Dominion Wars it was deemed necessary to reverse these laws as the Empire sought out its historical heritage in a attempt to reunify the people and have the Eastern Empire rise again. It was for this reason that a small sect, known as Shoaists were brought to national attention and the central government under the direction of Yu Conn began promoting this religion. Laws were quickly passed that made Shoaism the national religion of the Eastern Empire, banning all other forms of worship. Millions of yen were spent building temples and encouraging people to join and become active practitioners. The result was an explosion of interest on the part of the citizenship in becoming active participants of the new religion. Within a few years time Shoaism became a dominant force within the Eastern Empire and remains the state religion, impacting imperial society with a mixture of traditional Chinese mythology and beliefs along with the new idea of the divinity of the Conn royal family.
Shoaism is a doctrine that blends together several different Chinese traditions, including Toaism and Confucianism. The scriptures of Shoaism are written by Zou Mangshu, in his writings known as jìng róng yù or Path of Honor. According Mangshu, on the first anniversary of Shoa Conn's death, he came to Mangshu who at the time was but a simply shepard's son. Appearing before Mangshu in a dream, Shoa Conn is said to have been dressed in vestments so beautiful, so magnification, that they were certainly not of the mortal world. It was during this dream and subsequent dreams over the next year that Shoa Conn told Mangshu of his great journey and adventure in the afterlife. It is according to Mangshu, that after Shoa Conn's death he was sent to the afterlife and wondered aimless within the endless fields. However, is wild and ambitious spirit was far too bored to remain a wonder and soon he sought out the master of the afterlife. It was in this ambition that he came face-to-face with the Jade Emperor, master of Heaven and Earth. Knowing why Shoa Conn had come before him the Jade Emperor imprisoned him, fearing that he'd take the throne from him. However, the Jade Emperor underestimated his warrior spirit and Shoa Conn freed himself from bondage.
Free and away from the Court of the Jade Emperor, Shoa Conn raised a mighty army of the fallen warriors of the Empire. Under Shoa Conn's leadership, the army which is described by Mangshu as "vast and aw inspiring" stormed the Palace of the Jade Emperor and overtook it. A final battle was met between Shoa and the Jade Emperor of which Shoa successful defeat the Jade Emperor. Upon his death, Shoa took his throne and became his successor. All the powers over Heaven and Earth became his and he in turn became the Jade Emperor. All the other Gods and Goddess bowed before the new Jade Emperor and all the realms of the afterlife became his domain. He now came to Mangshu to relay both his story and his wisdom to his earthly people so that they could follow the same path and join him in the eternal kingdom. It is from these instructions that Zou Mangshu wrote jìng róng yù and began preaching the words he'd written. However, because of the laws prohibiting religion, Shoaism remained a closely guarded secret. Zou Mangshu would die but both his sect and his teaching lived on to finally be founded and embraced by Yu Conn.
Shoaism is a religion where practice (actions) and ritual, rather than words, are of the utmost importance. Shoaism is characterized by the worship of the Gods, ancestors, and the self, with a strong focus on ritual purity, involving honoring and celebrating the existence of pò or the soul. The most important tenants of Shoaism is keeping on the path of the warrior, that is living one's life as a shadow of the former life of Shoa Conn. Honor is the most important thing for a person to maintain. They who receive, cultivate, and maintain their honor are said to be welcome within the Kingdom of the Jade Emperor upon their death. Those who do not maintain their honor are locked out of the Kingdom and are said to spend the rest of eternity imprisoned within their own decaying bodies. For it is the pò that is the most important of a individual. It is who they are and it is what must be cultivated so that upon death can be released from their mortal vessels or bodies and take the path to the Kingdom of the Jade Emperor.
Funerary Ritual of Lǐ de zì yóu
This belief that the pò is the most important part of a individual can be seen in the funerary rituals of Shoaism. According to Shoaist texts, When a person dies it is expected that his or her eldest son will preform the ritual known as Lǐ de zì yóu or Rite of Freedom. The ritual begins with the eldest son returning home where the body is either left or brought to depending on where the person died. Returned to their bed the son will kneel by the body and while holding open the eyes of the deceased family member. It is here that he will recite a ceremonial call for that individuals pò to begin to final journey to the Jade Emperor's Kingdom. The eyes are held open because they are believed to be the windows to the soul therefore it is believed to be the only exit for the pò. This ceremonial call last for only a few minutes, with the son reciting the texts three times. With the pò gone, the body is seen worthless and is taken atop a small wooden plank held by the four eldest sons in procession with the entire family out of the home. The body is taken to the local city's center where a funerary pyre has been prepared. Cremation is seen as the most honorary way to dispose of the body. The ashes, collected afterward are then sealed into a small stone box with the persons name of it and placed in the families ancestral hall, usually a small hut located in the rear of the family's estate where the family can return periodically to honor the dead on the day of their death.
The ritual of Lǐ de zì yóu is only preformed for individuals who are considered to be honorable, as it allows the soul of the deceased to leave the body and make the final journey to the Kingdom of the Jade Emperor. However if the person who died was dishonorable, then the ritual of Lǐ de zì yóu is not preformed and the body is not burned but instead buried in a field usually just outside the deceased's village or city known as the field of the dishonored. Shoaists believe that the body will forever fall victim to the elements and animals that may attack it and that the pò will ensure this torment for all eternity as a perfect punishment for a individual who dishonored his or her family and never regain the honor through the course of their lives. It should also be noted that neither the Nóng Mín nor the Nú Lì castes are allowed to have the Lǐ de zì yóu preformed on them mainly because the Nóng Mín are castrated and the Nú Lì are foreigners. They too are buried but usually in shallow unmarked graves away from those of native Asians.
Culture of the Eastern Empire
The following section is on interesting facts about the Eastern Empire. Perhaps one of the most unique nations in Asia, the Empire has a rich history which it dates back to the Ming and Qing Dynasties of China. Its values and religion are the greatest combination of unique ingenutity and inspiration along side a draw from some of the most basic and ancestral beliefs of the Chinese people.
The Eastern Empire is a xenophobic, monarchist, and militaristic society that has evolved over the years through many wars both external as well as internal. It has a rich history of both creation and destruction that has effected the very core ideas that now fuel the state. Being a xenophobic society, it has become a common belief of society that Asians are by all accounts the "Master race" and that by birth right they must defend Asia from all foreign aggression. The Empire owes its ancestry from the Ming and Qing Dynasty. A mixed society of both Han and Manchu people, they share among themselves a rich history that the Imperial government constantly exploits to instill within their society a patriotism that borders on high fanaticism.
At the core of their beliefs and values is the Emperor, who is considered to be the ancestor of a God and therefore holds within himself heavenly divinity. The Emperor is empower with both the authority of Earth as well as the authority of heaven and therefore is highest individual in power in both the imperial government as well as the religion. Below the Emperor and his Imperial family is the nobility and the military. Being both monarchists and militarists, individuals of both the nobility and military are held within the highest of regards and are among the most powerful individuals outside the Emperor and royal family. The caste system ensure that everyone has a place in society and it affects all people. The nobility is the only faction within society that is not determined by the imperial examinations of the caste system. The Emperor alone determines which families are given noble status and which are not.
Value of the Family
When it comes to family, it has been redesigned to accompany both traditional beliefs as well as more modern ideas. Much like traditional values, the imperial culture dictates that a woman's place is in the home, carrying for the children of the house as well as her husband and the estate. What is unique is that unlike traditional values, a woman's value is in the children she can bare and the pleasure she can give her husband. Adultery, however is not uncommon by both the sexes in the Eastern Empire and is actually encouraged by Imperial law. It is taught to every citizen that it is their duty to the empire conceive as many children (specifically males) as possible. Therefore both men and women are given the freedom to have as many sexual partners as they can manage.
However, there are certain guidelines to how relationships are handled within society. Men and women are married shortly after puberty, thus allowing the couple to be the first sexual experience between them and allowing the woman to bare her first child with her husband. Marriages are almost entirely arranged by their the imperial government or the family. Once married a couple either remain with the house (family) of the male's ancestry or start a new house. It is often much more profitable to the couple to remain within an already establish house, especially if it is an honorable house. However, should both houses be dishonorable, the couple can start a new house and be resolved of their former dishonor and be allowed to gain honor for themselves.
A house is a patriarchy and ruled by the eldest male of the family or the male who began the house. His wife is considered the "Lady of the House" and his the senior most female of the family. Though the husband and patriarch of the house has the most power in the family, controlling its social and financial status, the Lady of the House does have some power, most importantly the power to approve or disapproval marriages of members of the family. Should she disapprove of potential wife for her son, grandson, or nephew; she has the power to cancel the marriage agreement. Thus it is customary for a potential wife to be sent to the house of the family patriarch so that she may preform the wifely duties that will be expected of her by the family, for the patriarch and the lady.
Perhaps the most confusing part of the values of the family comes when children are born. When a man has a child with his wife, the child is considered his and therefore becomes a son or daughter of his house. However, should a man conceive a child with another woman, then the child born becomes the son or daughter of the woman's husband and not the actual father. Men are only allowed to have sexual relations with married woman, given that women are saved for their husbands. Even more complicated is the fact that men and women are only allowed to have sexual relations with individuals within their same classes. This is to protect the purity of the house. Although the cast system is based on state-administered examinations, it is traditionally believed that families within one class sire children of the same ability.
When a child is born the Mother primarily raises the child until the time of Qīng Chūn Qī or puberty (around age 10). It is at Qīng Chūn Qī that males will undergo state-administered examinations to determine their potential skills and abilities and place them into a caste. Females at this time begin their own training, readying themselves to be taken as wives. Though the mother is the one who raises the children until Qīng Chūn Qī, it is the Father who is responsible for supporting the entire family. It is not uncommon for a child to rarely see their father in person, especially if their father is Zhàn Shì because they are away from home often and return only briefly until retirement. However, children are aware of whom their fathers are due to the fact that their honor is directly connect to that of their father. Also, children are referred to as sons or daughters of their father's houses. For males, they will continue to be referred to as such until they die unless they leave their father's house to create their own. Females continue to be referred to by their father's house until they are made a wife.
To ensure purity within the race, any child that is born with any sort of deformity or exhibits or develops any sort of mental disability over the first few years of life are destroyed. Law prohibits a child with such deformities or disabilities from existing among the populace. It is the father's place to destroy the child. It is not uncommon to be walking down a street and see the body of a dead child in the trash. Citizens of the Empire have little regard for them and simply throw them out without a second thought.
Values of Honor
The Society of the Eastern Empire is guided by a strict Honor Code administered and regulated by the central imperial government. In its simplest definition, honor within the Empire means doing everything within the power of an individual to constantly improve the power and quality of the Eastern Empire while remaining completely obedient to the desires and commands of the divine Emperor. Many of the times this means both the challenging of others to their own intentions as well as self-sacrifice for the good of others. Deviation from the acceptable norms of society can have dire consequences as a loss in honor can mean anything from the seizure of property and financial assets by the central government to state execution.
Honor is achieved most easily through a military service since the military is within the center of imperial society. Still, other achievements are acknowledged from time to time as honorable deeds so long as it benefits to the well-being of the Empire as a whole. So important is honor to imperial society that a national database is kept. All families have to be register with the state for the Empire to acknowledge honorable acts done by an individual. Within the records of each family is kept a detailed list of every honorable action done. Dishonor is also kept within the state records, especially when the honor lost will take generations to rebuild. Depending on the severity of the dishonor (which is determined solely by the Emperor) a family can have: land, property, business, or money seize by the state. When or even if the honor can be and is reclaimed, anything lost is not given back to the family. Instead it is up to the family to rebuild and compensate for their loses.
Many of the time honor is lost when one challenges another of their honor and actions. Though more commonly practiced by low-ranking soldier who are allowed to challenge their superiors if they believe that they have failed in their duties and has dishonored the Empire, individuals can be challenged to what is known as róng yù jué dòu or Honor Duel. It is a fight to the death between the two men to determine which has dishonor their family. Though the challenged can decline the Challenger, this rare if ever happens as it is seen as an admission of guilt and dishonor. If the Challenger wins, then the challenged family is dishonored. Should the challenged win, then the challenger's family is dishonored. In the military, should the lower ranked soldier successful defeat the higher ranked soldier, the he gains the rank of the superior and the fallen soldier's family will be dishonor. However, should the challenger lose it will be his family that will be dishonor.
Social Structure and Order
The Eastern Empire has in unique system which governs the social order and social structure of the nation. The people of the Eastern Empire are divided in two manners: First by family and second by caste. There is a great emphasis placed on the family in Imperial Society. With the Eastern Empire you are first and foremost judged by the family you come from before that of your caste. Each family is considered a "house" and is recognize by the patriarch and founder, using their name as the family/house name. Usually these houses can stretch back for generations, especially when the house is a particularly successful house and has produce many great individuals of local or national recognition. However, it is not uncommon that a male child breaks from his or her birth house to form a new house of his own name.
Imperial houses within the Eastern Empire are almost constantly at war within one another in competitions to gain the favor with the Imperial family and the Emperor with the hopes of gaining government appointments or other financial gains. Families are judged by the Emperor through the honor in which each family has obtained and maintained over the years. The honor of each house is kept as official records by the Imperial Government. It is also not uncommon to for different houses to join in alliances with one another both through general cooperation and marriages in efforts to gain more favor. Alliances however, also have a negative effect as they tend to create more enemies than friends among the houses.
The second division in Imperial society is that of the caste. The caste system divides the society by each individuals inherit skill. Women at birth are place in their own social caste, leaving only the men to actually be divided by inherit skill. Males at birth remain caste-less until time of Qīng Chūn Qī or "puberty." It is at the age of Qīng Chūn Qī that male children undergo the Imperial Examination. Any male adult in China, regardless of his House wealth, can join a high-ranking caste by passing the imperial examination. However, since the process of studying for the examination tends to be time-consuming and costly (if tutors were hired), most of the high-ranking caste are made up of individuals from the more wealthy families. However, there are vast numbers of examples in which individuals moved from a poor family to political prominence through success in imperial examination.
The examination system and associated methods of recruitment are major mechanisms by which the central government has captured and held the loyalty of local-level elites. Their loyalty, in turn, ensures the integration of the Eastern Empire, and counters tendencies toward regional autonomy and the breakup of the centralized system. The examination system ensures that elite individuals from all over the Empire, even in the disadvantaged peripheral regions, have a chance at succeeding in the examinations and achieving the rewards of a high-ranking caste. The examination system also served to maintain cultural unity and consensus on basic values. The uniformity of the content of the examinations means that the local elites and ambitious would-be members of those elites across the whole of the Empire are taught with the same values. Even though only a small fraction of those who attempted the examinations pass them and received titles, the studying and the hope of eventual success on a subsequent examination serve to sustain the interest of those who take them.
Caste System of the Eastern Empire
Zhàn Shì: The Zhàn Shì or warrior caste is the most honored of all the castes within the Empire. These are the military officers and officials of the Eastern Empire. It brings great honor to any family to have a member placed into the Zhàn Shì caste and very often families constantly strive to provide as many Zhàn Shì as they can, elevating their own family's status within the society. Though the Emperor wields absolute control over the Empire, it is not uncommon that a Province be administered in the name of the Emperor by a Zhàn Shì who has gained a great deal of honor for himself. Zhàn Shì are the wealthiest individuals behind the Emperor within the Empire and are destiguish is society most often by their Dao sword. The Dao sword is a small side arm weapon that signifies the completion of their training and is meant to be worn on the belt at all times while in public. It is greatly dishonorable for any Zhàn Shì to be seen without it.
Xué Zhě: The Xué Zhě or scholar-official caste is the second highest-ranking caste of the Imperial system. Most Xué Zhěm attempt to achieve work as civil servants appointed by the Emperor to perform various tasks of state by nationally and locally. These men earn academic degrees by passing rigorous civil service examinations which follow after the Imperial Examination. However, only a small fraction of the Xué Zhě are ever appointed to government positions by the Emperor. The majority of this scholar-gentry class stay in local villages or cities as social leaders. They carry out social welfare measures, teach in private schools, supervised community projects, maintained local law and order, as well as take up private jobs in the science and academic fields. Most importantly these scholars represent morality and virtue within Imperial Society. Although most are not government officials, their contributions and cooperation are much needed by the district leaders in governing local areas.
Nong: The Nong or Farmer caste has been one of the key elements to the rise of China's civilization and therefore has remained high within the imperial class system. The food that farmers produce sustained the whole of society, while the land tax exacted on farmers' lots and landholders' property produce much of the Empire's revenue for the pre-modern ruling dynasties. Therefore, the farmer is a valuable member of society, and even though he is not considered one with the upper classes. Though the Empire in earlier years remained the sole landowner of the nation's agricultural sector, laws passed have deregulated much of the land that the Empire has sold off to wealthy noble families. Therefore much of the upper class have now become the largest landholders within the Empire, reaping the benefits of produced crops and foodstuffs aside from the taxes the Empire imposes. Soldiers often come from farming families and upon retiring, are often encouraged by the Empire to settle down on their own farm lots in order for the food supply of the military. Debtors who do not pay their rent or their taxes are imprisoned and often executed for this offense.
Gong: The Gong or Artisans/Craftsmen class are identified with the Chinese character meaning labor and are much like farmers in the respect that they produced essential goods needed by themselves and the rest of society. Although they can not provide the state with much of its revenues since they often have no land of their own to be taxed, artisans and craftsmen are still given a higher place than merchants within the imperial system. Since ancient times, the skilled work of artisans and craftsmen have been handed down orally from father to son, although the work of architects and structural builders are sometimes codified, illustrated, and categorized in Chinese written works. Artisans and craftsmen are either government-employed or are allowed to work privately if they can be afforded. A successful and highly skilled artisan can often gain enough capital in order to hire others as apprentices or additional laborers that can be overseen by the chief artisan as a manager. Hence, artisans can create their own small enterprises in selling their work and that of others, and like the merchants, they can form their own guilds.
Shang: The Shang or Merchant caste are viewed by the scholarly elite as essential members of society, yet were placed among the lowest of the imperial system. The Empire's attitude towards commerce and business is almost universally apparent as they denounced the merchant class as greedy and lacking moral character. It is unacceptable for anyone outside this caste to engage in personal profiteering outside their official salary. Merchants are seen as somewhat parasitic to the needs of all other groups in society, since it is acknowledged that they use the goods that others produced and make their own profits from them. In essence, they are seen as business savvy, but not morally cultivated enough to be leading members of society or highly venerated representatives of Chinese culture. Recent changes in imperial law has made it far easier for the merchant class to grow, as more state-owned businesses have been returned over to the private sector and in turn, the private sector has been expanded and highly deregulated from earlier periods. However, there should be no mistake that the central government still holds a tight grip on the economic sector and keep a high watch on the Shang class.
Nǚ Zǐ: The Nǚ Zǐ or women caste is the only caste for women and they enter into this caste upon birth. Women within the Empire are not necessarily seen as the weaker sexy, but because physically women are the only ones that are able to give birth, this is seen as the sole duty since the Empire demands that its people procreate as many times as possible. Women spend most of their childhood being prepared for their duties as the wife or lady of their future husband as well as being the mother to as many children as she may carry in her lifetime. The average woman within the Empire will birth during her child baring years around 40 children. It is her complete responsibility to care for her children and her husbands home while he is away.
Bù Xiào: The Bù Xiào or Unworthy caste is the lowest and most dishonorable caste within the Eastern Empire .It is dishonorable to become a Bù Xiào because they are worthless in the eyes of the Empire. Possessing no real potential after testing, these individuals are left to do the most meaningless and dismal jobs. Because of their inability to get well paying jobs and because most of society shuns them, most Bù Xiào end up homeless. The Bù Xiào are so dishonorable and so low within the Imperial society that it is forbidden by law for these men to carry and create a house of their own. In efforts to eradicate the spread of Bù Xiào the Empire employs a policy of castrating these men and forcing them to become Eunuchs. Most Eunuchs are employed by wealthy families to do the house keeping and other laborious chores of the household.
Nú Lì:The Nú Lì or slave caste is the only other caste within the Empire, besides that of the Nǚ Zǐ, that a person can be born into. Due to it's hostile nature and its need for cheap labor the Eastern Empire relies most heavily on slaves. It is seen as a great honor when Zhàn Shì are able to conquer some of the native people and return them to the Empire as Nú Lì. The Empire uses Nú Lì in the domestic, agricultural, and manufacturing sectors as their main labor force. The Empire also employees Nú Lì in an underground network of facilities (or prison work camps )that form an extensive labyrinth which extends to ever corner of the Eastern Empire. These facilities are usually furnace rooms which provide about 70% of the nation's power. Imperial Laws prevent natives of the Empire from becoming Nú Lì no matter how dishonorable they become, making the Nú Lì a completely foreign dominated caste. There are no records kept of how many or from where any of the Nú Lì come from and over time, they themselves forget.
Leisure and Entertainment
Citizens of the Empire usually have little time for "leisure activities" since most of the time men are working to gain honor for their family and women are having to keep the home in order and are for most of their lives pregnant. However, Imperials citizens from time to time do take short periods to enjoy local and national entertainment as well as "pleasure time" or the equivalent thereof for their culture.
One of the things men of the Empire will do during free time is practice and train in the form of Kenji Khu. Kenji Khu which is considered by the Empire to be the ultimate martial art form is the culmination of several ancient eastern martial art styles brought together to make an individual practically invincible. Due to its complexity however, it take a person years to mater and very few are known to have done this. Men will also use time to meditate in an effort to clear their minds. This is especially used by Zhàn Shì to clear their minds of distractions and focus on the enemy of the Empire to make themselves better soldiers. Men, exclusively Zhàn Shì will also take time to better train wit their Dao swords.
For women and men, the best way to spend their free time together if not around their own home is to go to the sǐ wáng dòu zhēng or Death Fight. In what can only be described as Roman gladiatorial games for the modern era, the sǐ wáng dòu zhēng is perhaps the most entertaining spectacle in all the Empire with only the most populated of cities having arenas and notably the largest arena being the Imperial arena of Beijing. Nú Lì are usually used the most as fighters in the games with them either fighting each other or fighting whatever foreign beast the Empire can import. However, it is not uncommon for an older Zhàn Shì or more commonly a man from another caste to enter the games as a fighter. This is done primarily by individuals who seek to gain honor through their fights, though others do it simply for sport.
Music & Art
Music and the arts is not something that the Empire put great emphasis on publicly. However, privately the Empire does have some of the most creative and traditional artists in all of Asia. Imperial society has influenced to arts to the degree that most music, poems, novels, and short stories center around a hero and his great battle do bring honor and glory to the Empire. It is far more rare for any form of art to diverge from this central theme and instead focus on other subjects such as love, beauty, or nature.