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During China's Bronze Age, Qinghai was home to the Qiang people who traditionally made a living in agriculture and husbandry, the Kayue culture. The eastern part of the area of Qinghai was under the control of the Han dynasty about 2000 years ago. It was a battleground during the Tang and subsequent Chinese dynasties when they fought against successive Tibetan tribes.
In the middle of 3rd century CE, nomadic people related to the Mongolic Xianbei migrated to pasture lands around the Qinghai Lake (Koko Nur) and established the Tuyuhun Kingdom. In the 7th century, Tuyuhun Kingdom was attacked by both the Tibetan Empire and Tang dynasty as both of them sought control over trade routes. Military conflicts severely weakened the kingdom and it was incorporated into the Tibetan Empire. After the disintegration of the Tibetan Empire, small local factions emerged, some under the titular authority of China. The Song dynasty defeated the Tibetan Kokonor Kingdom in the 1070s. During the Yuan dynasty's administrative rule of Tibet, the region comprising the headwaters of the Yellow and Yangtze rivers - what modern Tibetan nationalists call "Amdo" - was apportioned to different administrative divisions than Tibet proper.
In prehistoric times, Gansu was host to Neolithic cultures. The Dadiwan culture, from where archaeologically significant artifacts have been excavated, flourished in the eastern end of Gansu from about 6000 BC to about 3000 BC. The Majiayao culture and part of the Qijia culture took root in Gansu from 3100 BC to 2700 BC and 2400 BC to 1900 BC respectively.
The Yuezhi originally lived in the very western part of Gansu until they were forced to emigrate by the Xiongnu around 177 BCE.
The State of Qin, later to become the founding state of the Chinese empire, grew out from the southeastern part of Gansu, specifically the Tianshui area. The Qin name is believed to have originated, in part, from the area. Qin tombs and artifacts have been excavated from Fangmatan near Tianshui, including one 2200-year-old map of Guixian County.
Ningxia and its surrounding areas were incorporated into the Qin Dynasty as early as the 3rd century BC. Throughout the Han Dynasty and the Tang Dynasty there were several large cities established in the region. The Liang Province Rebellion at the end of the Han Dynasty affected Ningxia.
By the 11th century the Tangut people had established the Western Xia Dynasty on the outskirts of the then-Song Dynasty. Jews also lived in Ningxia, as evidenced by the fact that, after a major flood destroyed Torah scrolls in Kaifeng, a replacement was sent to the Kaifeng Jews by the Ningbo and Ningxia Jewish communities.
Most of Qinghai was once also a short time under the control of early Ming dynasty, but later gradually lost to the Khoshut Khanate founded by the Oirats. The Xunhua Salar Autonomous County is where most Salar people live in Qinghai. The Salars migrated to Qinghai from Samarkand in 1370. The chief of the four upper clans around this time was Han Pao-yuan and Ming granted him office of centurion, it was at this time the people of his four clans took Han as their surname. The other chief Han Shan-pa of the four lower Salar clans got the same office from Ming, and his clans were the ones who took Ma as their surname.
From 1640 to 1724, a big part of the area that is now Qinghai was under Khoshut Mongol control, but in that year it was conquered by the armies of the Qing dynasty. It was during the 1720s when Xining Prefecture was established and its borders were roughly those of modern Qinghai province. Xining, the capital of modern Qinghai province was built in this period as the administrative center. During the rule of the Qing dynasty, the governor was a viceroy of the Qing Emperor, but the local ethnic groups enjoyed much autonomy. Many chiefs retained their traditional authority, participating in local administrations. The Dungan revolt (1862–77) devastated the Hui Muslim population of Shaanxi, shifting the Hui center of population to Gansu and Qinghai. Another Dungan revolt broke out in Qinghai in 1895 when various Muslim ethnic groups in Qinghai and Gansu rebelled against the Qing.
In imperial times, Gansu was an important strategic outpost and communications link for the Chinese empire, as the Hexi Corridor runs along the "neck" of the province. The Han dynasty extended the Great Wall across this corridor, building the strategic Yumenguan (Jade Gate Pass, near Dunhuang) and Yangguan fort towns along it. Remains of the wall and the towns can be found there. The Ming dynasty built the Jiayuguan outpost in Gansu. To the west of Yumenguan and the Qilian Mountains, at the northwestern end of the province, the Yuezhi, Wusun, and other nomadic tribes dwelt (Shiji 123), occasionally figuring in regional imperial Chinese geopolitics.
By the Qingshui treaty, concluded in 823 between the Tibetan Empire and the Tang dynasty, China lost a part of Gansu province for a significant period.
After the fall of the Uyghur Empire, an Uyghur state was established in parts of Gansu that lasted from 848 to 1036 AD. During that time, many of Gansu's residents were converted to Islam.
Along the Silk Road, Gansu was an economically important province, as well as a cultural transmission path. Temples and Buddhist grottoes such as those at Mogao Caves ('Caves of the Thousand Buddhas') and Maijishan Caves contain artistically and historically revealing murals. An early form of paper inscribed with Chinese characters and dating to about 8 BC was discovered at the site of a Western Han garrison near the Yumen pass in August 2006.
The province was also the origin of the Dungan Revolt of 1862-77. Among the Qing forces were Muslim generals like Ma Zhan'ao and Ma Anliang who helped Qing crush the rebel Muslims. The revolt spread into Gansu from neighbouring Qinghai.
It then came under Mongol domination after Genghis Khan conquered Yinchuan in the early 13th century. Muslims from Central Asia also began moving into Ningxia from the west. The Muslim Dungan Revolt of the 19th century affected Ningxia.
Following the overthrow of the Qing dynasty in 1911, the region came under Chinese Muslim warlord Ma Qi control until the Northern Expedition by the Republic of China consolidated central control in 1928.
In July–August 1912, General Ma Fuxiang was "Acting Chief Executive Officer of Kokonur" (de facto Governor of the region that later became Qinghai). In 1928, Qinghai province was created. Previously, it was part of Gansu, as the "Tibetan frontier district". The Muslim warlord and General Ma Qi became military governor of Qinghai, followed by his brother Ma Lin (warlord) and then Ma Qi's son Ma Bufang. In 1932 Tibet invaded Qinghai, attempting to capture southern parts of Qinghai province, following contention in Yushu, Qinghai over a monastery in 1932. The army of Ma Bufang's defeated the Tibetan armies. Governor of Qinghai, Ma Bufang was described as a socialist by American journalist John Roderick and friendly compared to the other Ma Clique warlords. Ma Bufang was reported to be good humoured and jovial in contrast to the brutal reign of Ma Hongkui. Most of eastern China was ravaged by the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Chinese Civil War, by contrast, Qinghai was relatively untouched.
Ma Bufang increased the prominence of the Hui and Salar people in Qinghai's politics by heavily recruiting to his army from the counties in which those ethnic groups predominated. General Ma started a state run and controlled industrialization project, directly creating educational, medical, agricultural, and sanitation projects, run or assisted by the state. The state provided money for food and uniforms in all schools, state run or private. Roads and a theater were constructed. The state controlled all the press, no freedom was allowed for independent journalists.
As a result of fequent earthquakes, droughts and famines, the economic progress of Gansu was sigificantly slower when compared to other provinces of China until recently. Based on the area's abundant mineral resources it has begun developing into a vital industrial center. An earthquake in Gansu at 8.6 on the Richter scale killed around 180,000 people mostly in the present-day area of Ningxia 1920, and another with a magnitude of 7.6 killed 275 in 1932.
While the Muslim General Ma Hongbin was acting chairman of the province, Muslim General Ma Buqing was the real person who was in virtual control of Gansu in 1940. Liangzhou District in Wuwei was previously his headquarters in Gansu, where he controlled 15 million Muslims. Xinjiang came under Kuomintang (Nationalist) control after their soldiers entered via Gansu. Gansu's Tienshui was the site of a Japanese-Chinese warplane fight.
Gansu was open to Soviet penetration via Xinjiang. Gansu was a passageway for Soviet supplies during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Lanzhou was destination point via a road coming from Dihua (Urumqi). Lanzhou and Lhasa were designated to be recipients of a new railway.
In 1914, Ningxia was merged with the province of Gansu. However, in 1928 it was detached from Gansu and became a separate province. Between 1914 and 1928, the Xibei San Ma (literally "three Mas of the northwest") ruled the provinces of Qinghai, Ningxia and Gansu. Muslim Kuomintang General Ma Hongkui was the military governor of Ningxia and had absolute authority in the province. The Muslim conflict in Gansu, which lasted from 1927 to 1930, spilled over into Ningxia.
During Second Sino-Japanese war, Ma clique actively participated in battles against Japanese forces, and defeated them at the battle of Wuyuan. Ma Bufang ordered Ma Biao to attack the Japanese army.
Some Ma clique generals considered to attack pro-Soviet warlord Sheng Shicai in Xinjiang, but plan was rejected, because of lack of divisions- almost all were in eastern front, fighting against Japanese.
After end of Second Sino-Japanese war (And WW2 as well), Chinese civil war resumed. Soviets gave Manchuria to PRC as a base. Qinghai and Gansu provinces were relatively peaceful, but Ningxia was a real battleground. Ma Clique, together with KMT forces, managed to kick out PRC forces from Ningxia with heavy losses. KMT advanced further in Inner Mongolia, but Chinese Muslim forces regrouped their armies in defense, and practically didn't moved at all during the time of Chinese civil war.
Years went, and KMT started to lose badly. Ma clique managed to prevent Maoist forces from reaching Golmud, but suffered high casualties, and their fighting abilities started to run out. So, some generals in 30 August, 1949, ordered Ma Bufang to split from KMT forces, and create a new country. Bufang refused, and generals staged a revolt, which turned into a little civil war.
While Bufang and generals fought against each other, soldiers in east continued to hold against PRC forces. Due of lack of soldiers, generals couldn't win fast. But in December 29, 1949, generals took over Golmud, and proclaimed an independent state. In January 3, 1950, Bufang was officially suspended from office. In January 15, generals signed peace treaty with PRC.
There were several KMT forces in Xinjiang as well, but Xibei San Ma crushed them with Uyghur help, and Uyghurs proclaimed their independent state also. KMT was crushed completely (Unlike in OTL), and Chiang-Kai-Shek was executed in Taiwan.
During first years, country was plagued by many famines, and poverty. Western journalists said, that ''many of Xibei San Ma citizens are living very miserable lifes''. Xibei San Ma heavily relied on Soviet help for industrialization, firearms, and food. In exchange, general Ma Jingbin (Previously just ''Jingbin'') had to adapt socialist policies. During period, which was known as ''Years of poverty'', cultural life was pretty much paralyzed- theaters were closed, TV rarely had any entertaining program, same with radio, etc.
In 1960, things started to go up. Jingbin started to build roads, that connected many rural places with civilization, birth rate grown up, Lanzhou was a cultural center, many children got education, intelligence and employment rate rose up, etc. With help from Soviet Union, Xibei San Ma had a reasonable military force, and all citizens were ready to fight till death for their country.
In 1974, Ma Jingbin announced, that he will divert more funding to theaters, hospitals, schools, roads, and other public services. Jingbin also started to experiment with western markets.
In 1980, Islamic radicals rioted against government, but got brutally suppressed. Three years later, many students marched in streets, demanding more freedoms. They got suppressed as well. Jingbin got criticized from many people in west, and from his people as well. He was forced to make a some compromise, and some people think, that stress due of this event caused his health to get worse.
In 1985, things were starting to move to bad side. Crisis, which hit Soviet Union, affected Xibei San Ma as well, and some Chinese government members started to question Xibei San Ma sovereignty in informal conversations. There were frequent reports from borderguards, that Chinese soldiers are exercising near the border. At the same time, Soviet weapon supply became low, and soviet contingent stationed in Xibei San Ma- smaller.
In August 1991, just a few months before collapse of Soviet Union, Soviets announced, that they will stop any trade pacts with Ma Jingbin, and all military advisers in Xibei San Ma army will leave the country.
After collapse of Soviet Union in 1991, Xibei San Ma economy was pretty much in ruins. For many people, years after collapse of USSR were similar to ''Years of poverty''. Xibei San Ma now was left alone, and it had to enter in global market. Many extremists rose up, and Ma Jingbin struggled to put them down.
In 1996, Ma Jingbin died due of natural causes. His son, Ma Jingyuan, was an obvious successor, but some of high ranked officials questioned his ability to rule. In 1997, Ma started a ''purge'', to eliminate any possible threats in government. One from disloyal officials he beheaded himself, and after that no one dared to oppose his rule.
In 1998, workers started to protest, because of low wages and bad working conditions. They wanted bigger wages, less working hours, and better working conditions. Ma called worker demands a ''nonsense'', and ordered his Ma storm troopers to stop protests. Many workers were wounded, 12 were killed. However, Ma had to do some reforms, and during then he slowly started to lead Xibei San Ma towards socialism.
From 1999 until 2006, Xibei San Ma border regions were raided by Maoist group, called as ''Red star''. Ma used this as an excuse for reducing press and civil freedom. Propaganda asked all citizens to ''defend homeland against barbarians''. Thanks to fast Ma response, and local militias, Red star wasn't successful.
In 2008, Ma started to talk about possible elections in future. Many conservative citizens and generals condemned that, because of fear of democracy. However, mostly all citizens and international community applauded for his decision. Ma also started to reduce his authority in justice system, media, army, schools, etc.
In 2012, Xibei San Ma officially announced transition to more socialist principles.
Currently Xibei San Ma faces unemployment problems, low scientific advancement and poverty, but in future this might change.
In 2017, Ma declared, that he is not dictator anymore, and will hold a free elections. Many civil rights activists applauded for his decision. Some activists were worried, that elections might be undemocratic, but Ma said, that ''elections are free''. Ma won with major support- 79%. Although Ma's party states to be centrist or conservative, many of Ma's policies are rather socialist-like. Later, however, it moved more to socialism.
After elections, a new party rose up, and there were expected many other parties to rise up as well. However, no new party appeared, and current parties got many new members. So, some political experts say, that four current parties might keep a monopoly in elections, which could lead a stagnation of democratic system.
Expansionism, and ''March to Lhasa''(2023)
Second elections were calmer than first ones, however, a few months before it, there was already a plan to invade one from neighbor countries- Tibet. In past, relations were rather positive, and Ma hold a big respect for government, but later they worsened, because of new ruling elite, that was exploiting its workers.
Ma and his council kept preparing for invasion both before, and after elections. More and more divisions were moved closer towards Tibetan border, and battle plans were drawn. Only thing, that was left, was casus belli.
In 2024 February, diplomatic relations between Tibet and Xibei-San-Ma went absolutely negative, and discussions about invasion now were not only in planning war rooms, but also in public places. A few months after, in June, Xibei-San-Ma declared war to Tibet. With slogans ''Liberate the workers'', and ''Glory to our state'', army entered Tibet.
At first, Ma's advance was slow, because mountains were a good barrier for enemy troops, and Tibetans were able to hold back enemy armies from advancing deep into the country. However, when more mountaineer divisions were deployed, mountainous advantage turned against defenders- it was hard to cover all of mountains, and in some places, Ma's soldiers advanced deep into Tibetan territory, with weak resistance.
However, it still took some time, to reach Lhasa's outskirts, which happened in late August. City was able to survive siege for one month, and few days, until its defenders capitulated to Ma's soldiers. After fall of Lhasa, Ma's soldiers rapidly advanced throughout Tibet, and soon both sides signed a peace treaty.
In result, territories of Tibet were ceded to Xibei-San-Ma, although an autonomous region was put in Tibet, and thankfully to Ma's efforts, Tibetans were able to keep their culture and language. Dalai Lama was left alone, as a important figure in autonomous region. Ma's socialist policies were put in practice in Tibetan Autonomous Region as well.
Recently, however, he gave independence to Tibet, and placed a government similar to his one. Both countries signed a pact, and now are close allies. Soon he invited Uyghuristan in pact, and they accepted as well.
Despite the temporary successes of the socialist government, Jingyuan knew, that this wouldn't last forever, and that things would start to stagnate eventually. Over time, socialist enclave in the Central China wouldn't be able to held off the influences from the liberal capitalism. So, Jingyuan decided, that it is better to transfer to the social democracy, while things still are smooth.
His reforms allowed some competition in the market, while maintaining strong regulation- Ma still has no plans for large liberalization of the market.
Ziyou has cautiously applauded this decision, while still saying, that ''there is a long way to go''. MCIP has stayed mostly neutral on this, but has criticized Xibei Taiyang for secularism. HCP is one from the staunchest opponents of economical reforms, and has stated, that ''it wanted to keep socialism moving''
Ma now calls himself a ''radical social democrat'', and still retrains his conservatism. Xibei Taiyang now has started to transform from a socialist to a social democratic party.
Ma Jingbin. Age: 78. In office- 1950-1996(Death year)
Ma Jingyuan. Age: 49. In office- 1996-Present
P.S. Yeah, I copied ancient, medieval, and republican China history from Wikipedia, I didn't wanted to think out something from blue skies.
P.S.S. If any of Chinese are reading this, then understand, that this is not mean as offense, just a fun alt-history test.