As strange events continue to unfold around the world, particularly in the UK, Ireland and India, China is taking new steps to ensure the strangeness doesn’t reach Chinese soil, even though the Middle Kingdom is no stranger to the odd and the extraordinary.
In fact, other than Ireland, China is steeped more in Azrian lore and legend than any other country in the world. To understand the Middle Kingdom’s importance to the Azrian people and the mythical Firstborne (aka the Black Cloaks), you have to understand recent history.
It starts with the terrorist bombing of the Geneva peace talks between human and Azrian leaders where a new accord was being worked on to build a social and economic partnership between the two races. And also official recognition of an Azrian nation in Eastern Europe, where the Azrian Diaspora of the 15th Century BCE had led many Azrian people to settle. (The largest concentration of Azrian populations in the world are located across many Eastern European countries.)
The Geneva bombing changed a great many things in the international community. In the UK, the Human Right Party came to power and swiftly passed the Human Right Act. Many other countries across the world passed similar measures as fear of Azrian extremism spread. In China, however, the response was surprisingly muted. Chinese leaders stressed normalcy and adopted a business as usual posture. Most observers thought this was done in an effort to not disrupt the flow of business because of China’s vast importance to the world market. But others had a different opinion. They noted that the Middle Kingdom is undergoing great change, both socially and economically as it has become the preeminent country on the world stage. The great changes happening in the world right now, particularly in Europe, are seen as disruptors to the party’s ability to maintain order in the state. As a result, the Chinese government has become increasingly hostile to any unauthorized religious or philosophical movements not officially recognized by the state. And the Secretary-General of the Communist Party has tightened his grip on power.
It has long been known that there are two societies in China. The normal society, known as 公 (Gong) meaning public, and the hidden society, known as 讳 (Hui) meaning taboo. The former society has been around since roughly the 19th Century CE, when industrializing European states attempted to entice China into the newly forming world economy. The latter society has been around since the Shang Dynasty in the 15th Century BCE. This society, the Hui, is also known as the true China. And according to Azrian legend, it is the birthplace of the mythical Firstborne. The same Firstborne allegedly seen at Westminster Abbey during the attack there.
China is officially atheist, but it is also said to be (secretly) a Firstborne Country, which is what the Hui is all about. Officially, the Hui is governed by Taoist philosophy. But there are elements within the Communist Party that want to take a harder line on parts of the hidden society, because it doesn’t follow many of the guidelines set forth by the Chinese Taoist Association. There has always been a pact or agreement between the Chinese government and the Hui, that the government would look the other way as long as the Hui kept its activities and even its very existence, hidden from the public, and that ultimately, they backed the party and the state. This pact has kept stability in China for over 200 years.
But now, for unknown reasons, possibly related to the events in England, the two societies appear to be in conflict. This has led to growing paranoia as the government seeks to halt unauthorized communication not approved by the party. However, moving aggressively against the Hui breaks the pact, putting the entire country potentially at risk. It is said that to move against the Hui is to basically move against the Firstborne , and the Firstborne are not to be trifled with. To trespass against them is to trespass against the Great Divines.
This is a fairy tale to most people, though. Told as bed time stories for children, and not reality. But as the world has seen recently, myth is becoming reality, and as events continue to develop both in China and abroad, all eyes will be fixed on the Middle Kingdom.
For more information about the history of the Firstborne and their origins in China, please see the Shattered Star Universe.