Menghe

Socialist Republic of Menghe

대멩 사회주의 궁화국
大孟社會主義共和國
Dae Meng Sahoejuyi Gonghwaguk
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Emblem
Map showing neighboring countries and major cities.
Map showing neighboring countries and major cities.
CapitalDonggyŏng
Largest citySunju
Recognised national languagesMenghean
Recognised regional languagesDzhungestani, Ketchvan, Lakkien, Kungnai, Chan, Dari
Ethnic groups
(2020)
Meng 88.2%

Lac 7.6% Argentan 2.2%

Other 2%
Demonym(s)Menghean
GovernmentUnitary single-party socialist republic
Kim Pyŏng-so
• General-Secretary of the Menghean Socialist Party
Mun Chang-ho
• Chairman of the National Assembly
Ri Hyo-jin
Sovereign State
• First Meng River civilizations
c. 1000 BCE
2 August 1901
• Socialist Republic of Menghe established
25 May 1988
Area
• Total
3,719,849 km2 (1,436,242 sq mi)(excludes Altagracia)
• Water (%)
6.1%
Population
• 2020 census
541,935,096
• Density
145.69/km2 (377.3/sq mi)
GDP (PPP)2020 estimate
• Total
$19.138 trillion (1st)
• Per capita
$35,315
GDP (nominal)2020 estimate
• Total
$9.810 trillion (1st)
• Per capita
$18,101
Gini (2020)Negative increase 29.5
low
HDI (2019)Increase 0.817
very high
CurrencyInminpye (IMP)
Time zoneUTC+6/+7 (Menghean Central Time
Menghean Southwestern Time)
Date formatyyyy-mm-dd; CE(AD)
Driving sideright
Calling code+25

Menghe (/ˌmɛŋˈh/ in Anglian), officially the Socialist Republic of Menghe (Menghean Gomun: 大孟社會主義共和國; Menghean Sinmun: 대멩 사회주의 궁화국; Romaja: Dae Meng Sahoejuyi Gonghwaguk) is a country in the continent of Hemithea within the region of Septentrion. It borders the Republic of Innominada, Maverica, Dzhungestan, and Polvokia on land, as well as the Sylvan enclave city of Altagracia, which Menghe claims as its sovereign territory. Its southern coast runs along the South Menghe Sea, and its Eastern coast borders the East Menghe Sea. It administers a total land area of 3,473,394 square kilometers, or a total area of 3,719,849 square kilometers when including lakes, rivers, and territorial waters. of slightly over three million square kilometers and had a population of 525 million people in 2015. Its capital is the city of Donggyŏng, which is located in the northeast. With a nominal GDP of $9.8 trillion (2020 SD), it is the largest economy in Septentrion by a wide margin, and with a population of slightly under 542 million people in 2020, it is the second most populous.

Etymology

The country's current name originated in the Meng dynasty, which unified many of the warring states in 110 BCE. After this dynasty fell, scholar-gentry and contemporary historians continued to use the term Meng (孟) to refer to the culture shared among the Warring States. This formed the basis of a number of two-character compounds, including Mengguk (멩국 / 孟國, "Country of the Meng"), Menghwa (孟華 / 멩화, "Illustrious Meng"), Dae Meng (大孟 / 대멩, "Great Meng"). All three of these are in use today, with Mengguk used as the standard short form, Menghwa in rhetoric or poetry, and Dae Meng appearing in the names of government agencies (e.g., Dae Meng Yukgun, Menghean Army). It also forms the name of the Meng ethnic group, which today accounts for 88.2% of Menghe's population.

During the Yi dynasty, Jungguk (중국 / 中國, "Middle Kingdom") gained popularity as an alternative, in reference to the belief that Menghe was located at the center of the world. The use of Mengguk/Menghwa was revived in the Yi dynasty, however, and Jungguk is seldom used today.

When the first Sylvan explorers arrived in the country in 1502, they recorded its name as Menghea. There is still some debate over the origins of the name, which appears to be derived from Menghwa, perhaps when spoken through a now-extinct southern dialect. Since the 19th century, domestic and diplomatic documents have recognized "Menghe" as the official English-language name for the country, even though it does not directly correspond to the Menghean pronunciation.

There is a common misconception in Septentrion that Menghe means "eldest country." Technically speaking, it is true that the character Meng (孟) can be translated as "eldest brother" or "first in series," and thus Mengguk (孟國) can be interpreted literally as "eldest" or "first" country. Etymologically, however, the Meng in Menghe ultimately derives its name from the Meng River, after which the State of Meng and the Meng Dynasty were named. No Menghean native would read the characters 孟國 as "eldest country," but would recognize it first and foremost as the proper name of a country. Nevertheless, the nickname stuck, and it is still occasionally displayed in tourism brochures or referenced in newspaper headlines.

History

First Settlements

Fossil evidence suggests that the first hominid populations arrived in Menghe 2.4 million years ago, part of a northerly migration out of Meridia when the Strait of Portcullia partially closed during the last ice age. Over time, these semi-nomadic tribes began settling down into permanent towns and villages built around sedentary agriculture. By the end of the 3rd millennium BCE, there were three distinct "cradles of civilization" in Menghe: the Proto-Chikai (later Achahan) civilization on the White River, the Gojun dynasty on the Meng river, and the Donghae culture along the east coast. This period corresponds to the reign of the mythical Yellow Emperor, first ruler of all civilized peoples, in the Sindo creation myth. The proto-Chikai civilization was the first in Septentrion to develop bronze working, and it built impressive stone monuments and tombs, but changes in the global climate contributed to its decline and eventual disappearance in the 9th century BCE.

The decline of Achahan corresponded to the growing consolidation of Meng river civilization in the Jun dynasty and the Warring States period that followed it. In the course of their conflicts, these states mastered iron working, organized taxation, and early military strategy, and by the end of the Warring States Period several states fielded armies numbering in the hundreds of thousands. This period also saw a flourishing of philosophy, including Legalism, Yuhak thought, and Doism, which remain foundational to Menghean culture today.

The Early Dynasties

In 341 BCE, the State of Yang emerged as the most powerful of the warring states, establishing a small empire which would gradually expand to include much of the upper Meng river basin. The Yang State brought new innovations to areas under its control, including planned cities arranged in a "wheel-and-spoke" format with the palace and main keep at the center. Culutrally, it was somewhat distinct from later Menghean dynasties, with a cult of the sun god and a militaristic warrior culture.

As the State of Yang entered into decline, one of its tributary states, the State of Meng, declared the formation of a new Meng Dynasty. From 192 BCE onward, the Meng state steadily unified much of what is today south-central Menghe, forcing the last Yang emperor to abdicate in 110. Faced with the task of holding together such a large empire, Emperor Sŏngmyŏng (reigned 118-92 BCE) established an official court language, standardized Menghe's different logographic writing systems into a single set of written characters, and assigned a surname to every household to facilitate record-keeping. The unified Meng Dynasty witnessed a flourishing of Menghean culture and Yuhak philosophy, and both the state of Menghe and the Meng ethnic group are named in its honor. It also brought a number of improvements in engineering and technology.

In 278 CE, a failed coup by a provincial general led to the collapse of the State of Meng and the beginning of the Five States and Seven Fiefdoms period. These states vied for dominance until 542, when the semi-nomadic State of Chikai conquered the State of Chŏllo and established the Jin dynasty. The Chŏllo imperial family, descendants of the Meng dynasty's imperial bloodline, went into exile in Themiclesia. In order to administer the country, the Jin Emperors eventually adopted many aspects of sedentary Menghean culture, including the Menghean language and Yuhak philosophy, though the movement of populations during this period spread nomadic linguistic influences among the population in the northeast.

The Middle Dynasties

The Jin Dynasty fell in the year 679, toppled by a peasant uprising against its oppressive land use policies. This resulted in the rise of the Kang dynasty, which would last until 905. The Sŭng dynasty, which followed it, was best remembered for its cultural achievements, especially in the areas of decorated porcelain, written poetry, and calligraphy, as well as the world's first movable type printing system. Sŭng governors also improved the country's river infrastructure, building canals, weirs, reservoirs, and irrigation networks to improve river transport and manage water levels in areas with monsoon climates. One of its highest achievements was the construction of the Grand Gangwŏn Canal and the linking of canals in the Chŏllo Plains. These measures, along with the introduction of the magnetic compass at sea, allowed extensive growth in long-distance trade in both luxuries and commodities.

By the 12th century, however, prosperity in the Sunghwa court had given way to extensive corruption. In 1253, General Yi Do led a coup and installed himself on the throne as the Taejo Emperor, establishing the Yi Dynasty. This is today considered a golden age in Menghe history, witnessing the introduction of simplified Sinmun script, the establishment of Chŏndoism as the state religion, and, after the Northern and Western Expeditions, the expansion of the country to its greatest territorial extent. For a little over a century, the Yi dynasty even held Themiclesia in semi-tributary status, after General Cho Myŏng'wŏn successfully besieged Kienk'ang.

The Yi dynasty was also a period of extensive economic growth due to improvements in agricultural techniques, canal transport, and river management infrastructure. Some historians claim Menghe's population in 1500 may have exceeded 150 million, or over a quarter of its current level, though more conservative estimates place it at between 100 and 120 million. During the 15th century, there was even a revival of coal mining in the Donghae and Gangwŏn regions and a surge in household and cottage manufacturing, which several modern scholars identify as the beginnings of an industrious revolution with the potential to give way to rapid economic growth.

The Four Dark Centuries

Explorers from Sylva made contact with the Yi dynasty in the late 15th century, sailing along the coast of what is now Innominada and making their first audience with Imperial officials in the city of Dongchŏn. Initially Menghe welcomed the foreign traders, but in 1508 rats aboard Casaterran trade ships spread the Menghean Black Plague, killing upwards of 60 million people over the course of four years. With the death of its Emperor and over half of its population, the Yi dynasty collapsed, bringing with it Menghe's extensive trade and tribute network. The period that followed, from 1508 to 1900, is remembered in Menghe as the Four Dark Centuries.

The mountainous province of Suksan escaped the worst effects of the plague due to its relative isolation, and seceded in 1512 as the State of Suk. Over the decade and a half that followed, they led their armies onto the South Menghean Plain, easily retaking land which had suffered most heavily from the plague. In 1528, they reached the city of Junggyŏng and proclaimed the formation of the Myŏn dynasty.

The Myŏn emperors attributed the plague to the unclean habits of Casaterran barbarians, and sealed all of the country's ports against foreign trade, prohibiting any ship of another nation from coming to dock and forbidding Menghean citizens from leaving the country. Under certain Emperors, Menghean fishermen were even forbidden from leaving sight of shore, though this decree was rarely enforced. In this state of isolation, Menghe stagnated economically and technologically, falling behind the Casaterran naval powers which colonized its neighbors to the west. In the Uzeri Rebellion of 1822-1824, the Myŏn dynasty lost control of its southwestern provinces after Anglian forces supported a local rebellion and inflicted crushing defeats on Menghean forces sent to relieve the area. Thirty years later, in the Brothel War of 1851-1853, Sylvan warships sailed into Hwangsaman Bay and inflicted another series of humiliatng defeats. In the unequal treaty that followed, the Myŏn state opened its ports to foreign ships and gave Sylva a 99-year lease to the Goŭn peninsula, which became the city of Altagracia.

Defeat to Sylvan forces severely sapped public confidence in the Myŏn dynasty. In June of 1865, General Kim Ryungsŏng led his troops against the capital at Junggyŏng, proclaiming the formation of the Sinyi (or New Yi) Dynasty. The northeastern provinces quickly fell or surrendered, but many of the southern provinces refused to recognize the new government, forming the Namyang Government and implementing political and economic reforms. In the Three States Period that followed, Sinyi, Namyang, and Uzeristan waged an on-and-off civil war, during which all three imported foreign weapons and modernized their state structures. Namyang and Uzeristan followed the Themiclesian model, encouraging foreign trade and westernization, while Sinyi followed the Dayashinese model, importing military and industrial technology but retaining an authoritarian nationalist ethos.

Federative Republic of Menghe

While Sinyi forces held the upper hand for the latter half of the war, domestic unrest and poor strategic decisions in 1898 led Sinyi leaders to sue for peace. Sinyi and Namyang signed a ceasefire in Junggyŏng on 8 July 1899, and in a final treaty signed on 2 August 1901, they established the Federative Republic of Menghe. This was Menghe's first nationwide parliamentary government, with a mostly ceremonial emperor overseeing a bicameral elected legislature. It was also the most democratic system Menghe enjoyed until the present, with vibrant competition between different political parties and frequent rotations of power. In 1920, the lower house extended the franchise to all men over the age of 25, bringing the masses into politics for the first time.

Under this new, unified, and modern government, Menghe underwent a period of economic modernization. With trade barriers removed, Menghe could import foreign tools and machinery, and foreign buyers could import Menghean textiles and handicrafts. The government prioritized economic growth, and relied heavily on private enterprises for construction and industrial development. The War of the Serenoran Succession provided a particularly beneficial windfall, as Menghean shipbuilders and textile makers filled the vacuum left by other countries' mobilization. By the mid-1920s, Menghe had emerged as a second-rate industrial power, with a significant steel industry. Its economic power, however, was highly concentrated in the coastal cities, while economic change had little impact in the rural interior of the country and most of the population remained poor.

Despite its outwardly peaceful rhetoric and democratic politics, the Federative Republic of Menghe also spent the early 20th century embroiled in a string of armed conflicts. These included the annexation of the Uzeri Sultanate in 1902-1905; the Sansŏ campaigns against warlords in 1902-1908; an intervention in Polvokia in 1905-1907; a crackdown on Daryz rebels in 1911-1914; eventual entry into the War of the Serenoran Succession in 1918-1919; and another southwestern counter-insurgency in 1924-1931, this time fought against Kungnai guerrillas.

The federal government's embrace of Western culture stirred unrest among Menghean nationalists, especially those who grew up under Sinyi rule. The Menghean Nationalist Party, founded in 1905, steadily expanded its political influence, building up a power base in the rural interior. The Nationalists remained hostile to Western culture, and hoped to rebuild the South Menghe Sea trade and tribute empire which the Yi dynasty had controlled up to the early 16th century.

Menghe in the Pan-Septentrion War

Authoritarian nationalism crested on February 18th, 1927, when General Kwon Chong-hoon seized power in a military coup and proclaimed the formation of the Greater Menghean Empire. Ostensibly, the coup was meant to restore the previously symbolic Yŏngtong Emperor to the throne, but in practice the Menghean Nationalist Party and the Imperial Menghean Army controlled the top ranks of government and dictated all domestic and foreign policy decisions. These included a sweeping purge of "Western decadence" and political opposition. Kwon's government also promoted a "Buguk Gangbyŏng" economic policy which prioritized military industries like steelworking, shipbuilding, and machine tools.

After Themiclesian palace guards suppressed the Nationalist Revolt of 1932, killing Kwon's nephew in the process, the Greater Menghean Empire launched an armed intervention in Dzhungestan in early 1933, starting the Pan-Septentrion War in the Eastern Theatre. Within two years Menghean troops had reached the border of Themiclesia proper and were preparing an invasion of the country. When Sylvan diplomats suggested that in light of Menghe's actions it would not return Altagracia in 1952 as promised in the original treaty, Kwon launched an offensive war to take the city, with a simultaneous offensive into Sylva's neighboring ally Innominada. Kwon died unexpectedly in 1937, and after a brief power struggle, the Donghyi Emperor (Kim Myŏng-hwan) seized power from the imperial regency and took direct control over national politics. Western hopes for a peaceful turn faded swiftly, as Kim Myŏng-hwan escalated the war with a land invasion of Maverica and in 1938 provoked a declaration of war from Anglia and Lechernt.

Initially, Menghe and its ally Dayashina held the upper hand in the Eastern theatre, pushing as far as Kien-k'ang and Baumburg in Hemithea and nearing Saladina in Naseristan. At the Battle of the Portcullia Strait in 1938, they dealt a decisive defeat to the Anglian Royal Navy, and in March 1940 Menghean troops landed on the Acheron Islands. The full entry of the Hallia into the war decisively strengthened the Allies, however, as did the Imperial Menghean Navy's defeat at the Battle of Williamstown. By the end of 1941, Menghean forces were in retreat in all theatres, and by 1944 Allied troops had crossed into Menghean territory proper. The Imperial Menghean Army was prepared to wage a guerilla war for Menghe's defense, but after the Allies intensified their carpet bombing of Menghe's cities and dropped a nuclear bomb on Haeju, Kim Myŏng-hwan offered a surrender on the sole condition that the postwar Menghe, whatever its government, be preserved at its pre-1927 borders.

Menghe's war crimes during this conflict were relatively mild compared to those of Dayashina, but remain a contentious issue today. Menghe's traditional warrior code, Musado, looked down on the killing of unarmed noncombatants, and the Imperial Menghean Army committed early on to following the restrictive Ten Rules of Conquest. Rear-area troops and administrators systematically mistreated Casaterran creole populations, however, and in the spring of 1937 the Army used Sylvan and later Maverican POW labor to build the "Railroad of Death" across Dzhungestan to supply the Themiclesian front. After 1941, retreating Menghean forces also carried out reprisal attacks against Maverican civilians suspected of supporting guerillas, and conducted a more general scorched earth campaign on hostile territory. Current Menghean textbooks and diplomatic statements still deny that Menghean soldiers carried out war crimes and atrocities, and domestic Menghean propaganda openly glorifies the Pan-Septentrion War - known locally as the Great Conquest War - as a noble struggle for colonial liberation.

The Postwar Era

Following the surrender, the victorious Allied powers placed Menghe under military occupation while preparing a transition to democratic rule. The country transitioned to an independent leadership, the Republic of Menghe, in 1951, but its government remained reliant on foreign economic and military support and enjoyed little autonomy in policymaking. Throughout this period, the Allies struggled to control Menghean nationalist military holdouts and Communist revolutionary cells, which struggled against foreign control in the Menghean War of Liberation. Letnia and Polvokia supplied arms to the Communist rebels, who emerged as the dominant faction in the late 1950s.

The Communists and their Nationalist allies repelled the last cells of Allied and Republican soldiers in 1964, bringing an end to 31 years of continuous warfare in and around Menghe. They established a new regime, the Democratic People's Republic of Menghe, which was headed by the Menghean People's Communist Party. The MPCP generally followed the Polvokian branch of Communism, favoring state control of the economy and viewing traditional culture with apathy or hostility. Under its first two General-Secretaries, Sun Tae-jun and Sim Jin-hwan, the DPRM made some advancements in heavy industry and military technology, though it still lagged far behind Septentrion's developed economies and never caught up with the Greater Menghean Empire as a share of world GDP.

Sim Jin-hwan's developmentalist "Progress faction" shared power with a more hardline "Populist faction" under Ryŏ Ho-jun, which favored a more radical and revolutionary approach. After Ryŏ came to power in 1980, he orchestrated a chaotic purge of his political enemies, followed by a series of disastrous economic reforms intended to bring the DPRM closer to true Communism. One of these changes, the forced collectivization of agricultural land, resulted in a severe famine that caused upwards of 20 million deaths. Ryŏ also ordered Menghe's first open-air nuclear test, causing other countries to invoke the STAND enforcement clause and place Menghe under a general embargo in 1984.

Socialist Republic of Menghe

File:December Tank.jpg
A JCh-5 from the 12th Tank Division moves through the streets in the early hours of 21 December 1987.

In response to famine, economic stagnation, and the threat of a purge, a charismatic Major-General by the name of Choe Sŭng-min staged a military coup which overthrew the Menghean People's Communist Party on 21 December 1987. The Interim Council for National Restoration, a military junta which followed, disbanded Menghe's nuclear program in exchange for a resumption of normal trading relations and ushered in some early economic reforms, including decollectivization. On May 25th, 1988, the Interim Council formally transferred power to a new civilian government, the Socialist Republic of Menghe.

During the 1990s, Choe Sŭng-min consolidated his power, transitioning from a first among equals on the Supreme Council to a charismatic leader with a strong personality cult. He also ushered in a comprehensive program of economic reforms, converting inefficient state-owned enterprises into Jachi-hoesa and legalizing private enterprise. These policy changes resulted in the Menghean economic miracle, a period of rapid GDP growth that continues up to the present. Yet economic liberalization was not paired with political liberalization: in the late 1990s, Choe Sŭng-min centralized his authority and embarked on the Disciplined Society Campaign to reshape public morality.

In foreign policy, the new government was at first conciliatory, dismantling its nuclear weapons stockpile in 1988 and safely disposing of its chemical weapons in the early 1990s. The 1990s also saw a period of reduced military budgets, as the national leadership shifted more funding to economic development and normalized relations with its capitalist neighbors. Rapid increases in international trade also integrated Menghe more tightly into the world economy. Relations with Dayashina, Hallia, Themiclesia, and Tír Glas saw particularly strong improvement in this period.

The peace dividend came to an end in 2005, when Menghe and Maverica intervened on opposite sides of the Ummayan Civil War. Though the two blocs narrowly avoided war, Menghean relations with Maverica and Innominada rapidly deteriorated, as did relations with the Entente Cordiale. Another close brush with world war came in 2014, when Menghe intervened in Innominada's civil war and installed a friendly regime along the southeast coast. Meanwhile, Menghe strengthened ties with its remaining allies, contributing to a division of the Eastern Hemisphere into two opposing blocs.

Geography

Menghe is located in the southeastern quadrant of the continent of Hemithea, sitting between 26 and 50 degrees North and 93 and 125 degrees East. It has a total area of 3,719,849 square kilometers, of which 3,473,394 square kilometers are land. These figures refer only to territories administered by Menghe, and do not include Altagracia, which Menghe claims as its sovereign territory. The dispute over Altagracia stems from the Treaty of Soon Chu, signed in 1853, which granted Sylva a 99-year lease to the peninsula. Sylva maintains that the lease was extended indefinitely in 1947, but Menghe does not recognize this extension, which was signed by the postwar Provisional Council for the Occupation of Menghe rather than a legitimate Menghean government.

In addition to Altagracia, Menghe shares land borders with Argentstan, the People's Republic of Innominada, Dzhungestan, and Polvokia, moving clockwise from southwest to northeast. It also shares a maritime border with Dayashina. Previously, Menghe also bordered the Republic of Innominada, though after Argentstan's secession in 2018, this is no longer the case. All past disputes along these borders have been resolved, most recently in 2001, when Menghe relinquished its claim to the Renkaku Islands. Menghe's eastern coastline borders the East Menghe Sea, and its southern coastline borders the South Menghe Sea, with the border between the two typically defined by the Renkaku island chain.

Menghe's topography is defined by two major mountain chains. The tall Chŏnsan mountains cut diagonally across the country, and run approximately from the Menghe-Maverica-Dzhungestan border triangle to the Menghe-Polvokia-Dzhungestan border triangle. These mountains were formed by the northwestern movement of the East Hemithean Plate, and they are the second-highest range on the continent of Hemithea, rivaled only by the Arcon highlands in Polvokia. Mount Tae, near the city of Kaesan, is the tallest mountain in this range and the tallest in Menghe, with an elevation of 3,274 meters above sea level. Environmentally, the Chŏnsan mountains separate the arid Central Hemithean Basin from the rest of the country. The Donghae Mountains, Menghe's other major mountain range, begin near the Pokvokian border and continue south before terminating in the province of Unsan. They are lower than the Chŏnsan range, and reflect an upward movement of crust rather than a plate subduction zone. The area between the Donghae and Chŏnsan ranges forms the watershed of the Meng river, also known as the Meng river basin. The area further west, between the Chŏnsan mountains and the South Menghe Sea, is known as the Chŏllo plain. It continues all the way to the border with Maverica.

Administrative divisions

Menghe is divided into five levels of administrative organization. These are conventionally known as the regional level, the provincial level, the prefectural level, the county level, and the village or town level, though at the four lower levels, administrative divisions come in many different forms. The nine regions mainly exist for statistical and ministerial administrative purposes, and do not have any independent government bodies or powers of their own. At the second or provincial level, Menghe has nineteen provinces, six autonomous provinces, and four directly-controlled cities, which are organized like prefecture-level municipalities but are not subordinate to a provincial government. The table below lists all of Menghe's second-level divisions, along with their Menghean names, administrative type, capital, and demographic statistics.

File:Provinces of Menghe.png
Map of Menghe with official Province Codes. Refer to the key to the left for province names.
ISO Name Sinmun Gomun Type Area (km2) Population Density Capital
DG Donggyŏng 동경직할부 東京直轄府 DCC 10,086 17,286,133 1713.87 Donggyŏng
SJ Sunju 순주직할부 淳州直轄府 DCC 6,859 22,623,714 3298.40 Sunju
JG Junggyŏng 중경직할부 中京直轄府 DCC 2,700 6,249,895 2314.78 Junggyŏng
HS Hwasŏng 화성직할부 華城直轄府 DCC 10,040 12,247,795 1219.90 Hwasŏng
GN Gyŏngnam 경남도 京南道 Province 160,050 29,402,046 183.71 Sapo
GB Gyŏngbuk 경북도 京北道 Province 128,871 20,853,056 161.81 Pyŏngchŏn
JR Jangryŏng 장령도 長嶺道 Province 163,744 17,833,979 108.91 Jŏksan
SS Suksan 숙산도 肅山道 Province 117,126 5,097,203 43.52 Suksŏng
CB North Chŏllo 천로북도 千鷺北道 Province 198,429 18,701,375 94.25 Wichang
GW Gangwŏn 강원도 江原道 Province 113,015 13,335,276 118.00 Yŏng'an
SH Sanhu 산후도 山後道 Province 190,218 9,362,527 49.22 Jinjŏng
SG Songgang 송강도 松江道 Province 180,338 15,960,054 88.50 Songrimsŏng
BH Bukha 북하도 北河道 Province 116,793 13,759,564 117.81 Jinyi
DB North Donghae 동해북도 東海北道 Province 66,982 14,699,533 219.45 Chŏngdo
DJ Central Donghae 동해중도 東海中道 Province 81,018 32,724,406 403.92 Dongrŭng
DN South Donghae 동해남도 東海南道 Province 74,930 37,308,577 497.91 Haeju
US Unsan 운산도 雲山道 Province 153,697 34,974,053 227.55 Daegok
RG Ryonggok 룡곡도 龍谷道 Province 97,185 17,445,130 179.50 Yŏngjŏng
HD Hadong 하동도 河東道 Province 124,053 32,895,605 265.17 Chanam
CN South Chŏllo 천로남도 千鷺南道 Province 148,709 46,082,072 309.88 Insŏng
HJ Hwangjŏn 황전도 黃田道 Province 107,667 15,617,524 145.05 Hyŏnju
HS Hasŏ 하서도 河西道 Province 120,944 20,655,450 170.79 Chŏnjin
RN Ryangnam 량남도 梁南道 Province 112,384 20,954,216 186.45 Dongchŏn
DZ Dzungar AP 쭝족 자치도 N/A Aut. Prov. 350,878 2,865,368 8.17 Selenge
KV Ketchvan AP 케츠바족 자치도 N/A Aut. Prov. 97,366 3,002,996 30.84 Ryŏjin
LK Lakkian AP 락족 자치도 N/A Aut. Prov. 231,088 34,422,046 148.96 Quảng Phả
KN Kungnai AP 경내족 자치도 N/A Aut. Prov. 58,248 4,155,679 71.34 Dài Nióng
AG Argentan AP 멩국에서 찬족 자치도 N/A Aut. Prov. 129,031 15,817,178 122.58 Muang Sing
DA Daryz AP 다리족 자치도 N/A Aut. Prov. 139,937 5,602,646 40.04 Hasavyurt

Climate

Menghe's climate varies considerably across its land area. The southern half of the country, encompassing the entirety of the Chŏllo plains as well as the provinces of Unsan and Ryonggyŏng, has a humid subtropical climate, with hot summers and mild winters. Moving further north, the climate grows progressively cooler, transitioning to a humid continental climate. The northern provinces of Songgang and Gilim have a hemiboreal climate, with mild summers and cold winters, and are heavily forested. Most of this humid area is monsoon-influenced, with torrential rain in the summer months but relatively dry winters, due to the seasonal oscillation of the Intertropical Convergence Zone. This seasonal oscillation is prone to El Niño cycles, which cause drought in Menghe, and La Niña cycles, which cause excessive rain and flooding. The eastern region, running along the Donghae mountains, is an exception to this pattern, receiving precipitation year-round as winter winds bring moisture in from the northeast. The area northwest of the Chŏnsan mountains is also an exception, as relatively little rainfall makes it that far inland, resulting in a semi-arid climate with patchy grasslands and steppes.

Historically, this climate has made the Chŏllo plain and the Meng river valley into prime agricultural heartlands, with spring planting and autumn harvests. In the southeast, where it is warm and humid year-round, farmers can often grow two or even three harvests per year, while in some parts of the north it is now common to grow winter wheat. Despite having the second-largest population in Septentrion, Menghe is actually a net food exporter, producing enough grain to feed its own population and sell to other countries, particularly Dayashina. Nevertheless, seasonal El Niño and La Niña cycles can have a major impact on the harvest, most recently in the mid-1980s, when Menghe experienced a deadly famine which contributed to its regime change in 1987.

Rivers and canals

Map of selected rivers and canals in Menghe.

Menghe has a number of rivers, the most famous of which is the Meng river, from which the country gets its name. Although the Meng River is the largest by water discharge, the White River is the longest river located entirely within Menghe, and several tributaries in the western part of the country feed into rivers that cross the Central Hemithean Basin and discharge in Themiclesia. Other famous rivers in Menghe include the Anchun River, which joins the Meng; the Crane River, in the center of the Chŏllo plain; the Silver River, which joins the Crane; and the Wŏl River, which historically formed the boundary between Menghe proper and barbarian states in the southwest.

Before the arrival of the railroad, river barges were the only cost-effective way to transport bulk goods over long distances inland, making the Meng river a critical transportation route for tribute, food, and commerce. Throughout Menghean history, emperors and local kings ordered the contruction of monumental canal, lock, weir, and levee projects in an effort to control flooding and improve navigation. The most famous two canals in Menghe are the Grand Gangwŏn Canal, which links the Anchun River to the Jade River and by extension the East Menghe Sea, and the Grand Chŏllo Canal, which links the Meng and Crane Rivers by connecting their tributaries along the Min River.

Menghean rivers are also critical sources of water for irrigation and civil use. Many of them now bear dams on their mountainous upper reaches. In addition to providing electricity at peak use, these dams form a network of reservoirs, which supply the nation's water needs during the dry season and contain flooding during the rainy season. When built in combination with locks and weirs, they also expand the navigable area of the river further upstream. Menghean rivers and canals are still used for shipping bulk cargo to coastal ports, though rail transport has surpassed them as the main way of moving freight.

Environmental problems

Menghe has a long history of environmental variability, and as early as the Meng dynasty government records spoke of erosion, water pollution, and the collapse of levees separating rivers and canals from the surrounding farmland. These problems intensified in the wake of the Menghean economic miracle, which dramatically improved the livelihoods of Menghean citizens but also resulted in an enormous expansion of heavy industry and a surge in car ownership. Globally, Menghe is the largest carbon dioxide emitter in Septentrion, and locally many of its cities suffer severe problems with smog and particulate matter.

By virtue of its geographic location, Menghe is also especially vulnerable to climate change. Anthropogenic climate change threatens to intensify the El Niño Southern Oscillation cycle through its effect on wind patterns and ocean temperatures, increasing the intensity of floods and droughts in Menghe. Rapid urbanization in coastal areas also means that Menghe has a large number of densely populated cities which are threatened by rising sea levels. Menghe's largest city, Sunju, is at particularly dire risk, as its river delta location is only slightly above sea level.

In the last few years, the central government has made an increasingly strong commitment to cutting emissions and improving air and water quality, tightening oversight of the environmental regulation process and launching high-profile investigations of major polluters. Menghean Jachi-hoesa and state agencies have also made a coordinated research into forms of alternative energy, including conventional nuclear power, Thorium MSR technology, battery- and hydrogen-powered cars, and solar and wind power, with the aim of reducing Menghe's reliance on coal and oil. As a result of state subsidies and sustained investment, Menghe is emerging as a regional leader in several of these fields, and Menghean universities and research institutes have expanded collaboration with their counterparts in countries like Tír Glas and Dayashina.

Menghe is also at risk from other natural disasters, including earthquakes and typhoons. After the devastating Gangwŏn Earthquake of 2003, the government has maintained strict construction standards for new buildings in urban areas, though in the countryside or on the outskirts these are not always well-enforced. When an 8.2 magnitude earthquake struck South Donghae in 2014, the relatively low death toll, absence of major building collapses, and speedy arrival of emergency response forces testified to the success of this program.

Government and Politics

The current Socialist Republic of Menghe has been an authoritarian one-party state since its establishment in 1988 after the Decembrist Revolution. The Menghean constitution was amended in 1994 to enshrine the Menghean Socialist Party (MSP) as the sole legitimate ruling authority in the country, and genuine opposition parties are banned. The Menghean regime also exercises tight controls on freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of association, suppressing dissent through the police, internal security forces, and Internal Intelligence Agency. Civil rights and political freedoms have improved substantially since the early 2000s, most notably with the holding of semi-competitive elections in 2019, but the electoral process is still heavily weighted in the MSP's favor.

For most of recent history, Menghean politics was dominated by Choe Sŭng-min, who ruled for 33 straight years between his seizure of power in December 1987 and his death in February 2021. Choe constructed a potent cult of personality, centered on the teaching of Choe Sŭng-min Thought and the reading of his collected quotations. For the last 27 of those years, he concurrently held the posts of Chairman of the Supreme Council, General-Secretary of the Socialist Party, and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, making him Menghe's unrivaled supreme leader. Much of Choe's popularity stemmed from the relentless propaganda surrounding his image, but he was also genuinely well-liked because his rule coincided with the Menghean economic miracle and a victorious intervention in Innominada. After his death, no other top official was able to consolidate the same degree of power, with Kim Pyŏng-so becoming Chairman of the Supreme Council and Mun Chang-ho becoming General-Secretary of the Socialist Party.

Government structure

The highest government organ in Menghe is the Supreme Council, which consists of the heads of Menghe's 20 ministry-level bodies, the Chairman, the First Deputy Chairman, two Deputy Chairmen, and the Chairman's Chief of Staff. Many of these members concurrently hold top posts in the Socialist Party or various top working groups. The Chairman of the Supreme Council serves as Menghe's head of state, and can appoint and dismiss other members at any time. Under Choe Sŭng-min, most routine decisions were left to the smaller Supreme Council Steering Committee or the Chairman himself, though since 2021 top leaders have consulted one another more frequently. The current Chairman is Kim Pyŏng-so, who served as First Deputy Chairman until Choe Sŭng-min's death.

The 1988 Constitution states that Menghe has a unicameral legislature consisting of a single body known as the National Assembly. The National Assembly currently has 278 members, and is in session for most of the year. It is tasked with debating and passing legislation, reviewing the budget, confirming ministry-level appointments, ratifying treaties, and amending the constitution. While it served as a mere rubber-stamp body in the 1990s, the National Assembly's relative power has grown over time, with a large minority sometimes voting against draft legislation from the Supreme Council or particular ministries. Nevertheless, even after the election of independent legislators in 2019, the Supreme Council is tightly controlled by the Menghean Socialist Party and does not represent a meaningful constraint on the Supreme Council's power.

Though it is not formally listed in the 1988 Constitution, the National Social Consultative Conference serves as an informal lower house. A much larger body than the National Assembly, it has 2,918 members, of which 2,391 are indirectly elected. Rather than representing districts, these members represent specific social constituencies, such as skilled workers, industrial and construction workers, and women outside the labor force. The NSCC lacks the ability to pass binding legislation, but instead drafts annual proposals which reflect the "interests of the people" and submits them to the National Assembly and the Supreme Council for consideration.

Socialist Party

The Menghean Socialist Party is the highest political organization in Menghe, with far-reaching control over the government and constitutional protection (since 1994) as the country's sole legitimate ruling authority. Founded in 1988 after the dissolution of the Menghean People's Communist Party, it rapidly grew into a large and powerful organization with 67 million members, or 12% of the population. Every administrative unit has a Party secretary, and all large private enterprises and social organizations are required to operate a party cell. These party detachments regularly convene at discussion sessions and file reports to their higher and lower ranks. In this way, the MSP functions as a secondary nervous system in Menghe's political structure, transmitting information upward and commands downward.

Ideologically, the MSP is committed to "new-era socialism" and Choe Sŭng-min Thought. The Party constitution makes no reference to Marxism or working-class leadership, and it explicitly rejects class conflict. Instead, the MSP defines new-era socialism as an effort to embrace national reconstruction and class harmony with the ultimate goal of enriching the economy, strengthening the military, and achieving a moderately prosperous standard of living for the whole population. On this basis, many experts consider the MSP to be corporatist and nationalist rather than socialist, and consider Menghe's economic policy to be state capitalist or dirigist.

Elections

Menghe does hold regular elections for certain offices. Village-level mayors, county councilmembers, and legislators in provincial assemblies and the National Assembly are all directly elected by their constituents. So are delegates to Menghe's Social Consultative Conferences. In all cases, however, election boards exert tight control over the nomination of candidates. All opposition parties are banned, with the exception of the two United Front parties which govern in coalition with the MSP. Independent candidates are allowed to run in village and county elections, and in 2019 independent candidate lists appeared in provincial and national legislative elections, but independent candidates must gain the approval of an MSP-controlled election board before running.

Civil service

Because legislative bodies hold little independent power and Party branches mostly play an advisory role, most policymaking power in Menghe lies with the country's large and professional civil service. The civil service includes executive officials above the village level, such as county leaders, municipal mayors, and provincial governors, who are appointed by their superiors and do not face legislative or popular elections. Members of the civil service are known as cadres (ganbu), and all cadres have personnel files in the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

Bureaucratic appointment is determined by two primary factors: an applicant's score on the National Administration Examination, which determines their initial placement, and their subsequent job performance, which determines whether they are promoted, dismissed, or transferred to another jurisdiction. Leading cadres are evaluated based on provincial scorecards that quantify governance outcomes, including economic growth, education levels, public health, environmental protection, and public safety. The Menghean government touts this system as technocratic and meritocratic, because it rewards good performance and promotes the most talented public officials. Critics allege that it is undemocratic and often rewards heavy-handed policy implementation.

Foreign relations

While the Democratic People's Republic of Menghe was an isolated and unpredictable regime, the Socialist Republic of Menghe has repaired its relationships with most countries and shifted its foreign policy in a more predictable direction. It currently has close political, economic, and military ties with Hallia, Dayashina, and Tír Glas, as well as many of their respective allies. Menghe also established the Namhae Front, a defense pact uniting Menghe with its principal allies and satellite states, and the International Union for Opposing Imperialism, an international organization of governments and activist groups. Menghe is a founding member of the Trans-Hemithean Economics and Trade Association, Hemithea's largest free trade area.

Ideologically, Menghe has a strong outward commitment to state sovereignty, and sees itself as a leading force against imperialism, neocolonialism, and colonial apartheid. This stance has drawn the support of many states in Meridia, including the Namhae Front members and members of IUFOI. Critics have accused Menghe of deploying anti-imperialist rhetoric hypocritically and selectively, especially with regard to Argentstan and the Republic of Innominada, which are effectively puppet regimes under the control of the Special Liaison Office, and Menghean trade and investment activities in Meridia, which often mirror the activities of Western firms. Menghean diplomats allege that crackdowns in Innominada were necessary to end oppression by Sylvan creoles, and that Menghean investments abroad are more beneficial than Western ones.

In its broader foreign policy aims, Menghe is also identified as a revisionist power. The Party Constitution of the MSP proclaims a desire to restore Menghe to its previous status as the leading power in the South Menghe Sea region, treating the Yi dynasty as a golden age of Menghean preeminence. Choe Sŭng-min also famously commented that the Greater Menghean Empire was "correct in its goals but incorrect in its methods" during the Pan-Septentrion War, provoking further accusations of hypocrisy. Menghe's rise has also brought the country into a fifteen-year cold war with the Entente Cordiale, whose members include Maverica, Sieuxerr, and Anglia and Lechernt. In addition to ideological accusations that the EC acts as a vehicle for Casaterran imperialism abroad, the Menghe-EC dispute also stems from territorial disputes over Altagracia and Isla Diamante, the latter of which is claimed by Argentstan. By contrast, Menghe has been mostly successful at managing relations with great powers outside the EC.

Military

Menghe has the largest military in Septentrion, with 2.6 million active personnel and 6.4 million reservists. It is also the largest military by spending, with an official budget of $304 billion in 2020, or 3.11% of GDP. To meet its personnel requirements, Menghe relies on a policy of selective conscription, with roughly one quarter of all eligible 18-year-old males called up for service each year. The remainder must undergo a brief basic training course. Since the launching of the 2005 Menghean military reforms, Menghe has also steadily improved the share of volunteers in the armed forces, and all commissioned officers are full-time volunteers.

Menghe's armed forces are divided chiefly into the Menghean Army and Menghean Navy, as well as the Ministry of National Defense Troops, which include shared logistics and intelligence units. Menghe does not have an independent air force; instead, both the Army and the Navy operate their own fixed-wing aviation units. Menghe also operates a number of civilian paramilitary units, including the Internal Security Forces, which are controlled by the Ministry of Internal Security. The Ministry of National Defense is the main civilian authority in control of the Menghean armed forces, though ultimate command authority lies with the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, a post currently held by Kang Yong-nam.

Menghe does not currently possess any weapons of mass destruction. The DPRM assembled a large stockpile of chemical weapons and a small number of nuclear warheads during the 1980s, but both stockpiles were dismantled in the 1990s, and the Menghean Socialist Party has thus far honored its commitment to avoid rearming in either area. Conversely, Menghe has not signed any agreements on the control of land mines and cluster munitions, and is believed to be the largest producer of both weapon types.

Demographics

According to the most recent national census, at the start of 2020 Menghe had a total population of 541,935,096 people, making it the second most populous country in Septentrion after Leonesse. Within this population, 18.59% were ages 0-14, 70.55% were ages 15-64, and 10.86% were ages 65 and older. With an unweighted total fertility rate of 1.78 births per woman in the preceding year, Menghe is below the 2.1 replacement rate, but its population continues to grow due to declining mortality rates and the large share of the population currently at reproductive age. The population grew by 1.24% over the course of 2019, and population growth over the last 20 years averaged 1.15%. Nevertheless, concerned about long-term projections of population decline, the Menghean government has begun to experiment with pro-fertility policies such as increased child tax credits, subsidies for preschool and day care, and increases in maternity leave.

Ethnic groups

The largest ethnic group in Menghe is the Meng, which make up 88.2% of the overall population. The Menghean government recognizes six other designated ethnic minorities, listed from largest to smallest: Lac, Argentans, Kungnai, Ketchvans, Dzungarians, and Daryz. In the 2020 census, 643,775 people, or 0.12% of the population, reported that they did not identify as one of the seven listed ethnic groups. This "other" category is comprised of unrecognized ethnic minorities and non-Meng immigrants and their descendants.

Most of Menghe's ethnic minorities live in autonomous provinces, where non-Meng ethnic groups collectively make up 87.6% of the population on average. Two of these autonomous provinces run along the border with Dzhungestan, while the remaining four are grouped into the southwestern projection which runs between Maverica and the South Menghe Sea. Each autonomous province is named for a designated ethnic minority, and uses that ethnic group's dominant language in local government and business. These areas of the country, however, are quite diverse internally: for example, Lac people make up 41% of the population in the Kungnai AP, 39% in the Daryz AP, and 34% in the Argentan AP. Both the Daryz and the Kungnai make up a minority of the population in their respective autonomous provinces, though they still constitute a plurality.

In the rest of the country, Menghe's population is relatively homogeneous. When leaving out the six autonomous provinces, over 98.7% of the population is ethnically Meng. This figure ranges from 90.91% in Sanhu province, home to large Ketchvan and Dzungar minorities, to 99.98% in Bukha province, which is far from minority-majority regions and has attracted very few migrants from the rest of the country. In these areas, Menghean governments over the last century have worked hard to instill a sense of shared Meng identity, applying the Meng label to populations in Chŏllo, Unsan, and Donghae which were historically seen as different ethnic groups and teaching one standard dialect of Menghean in all public schools.

Religion

Education

Education in Menghe is universal and compulsory for the first eight years, encompassing elementary and middle school, and most students go through some form of secondary education. Fees for elementary and middle schools were abolished in 2012, removing another barrier to educational attainment. The vast majority of primary and secondary schools in Menghe are publicly owned and follow a standardized curriculum set by the Ministry of Education, and all schools outside the six Autonomous Provinces conduct all lessons in the standard Botong-ŏ dialect of Menghean.

From middle school onward, the Menghean education system places a heavy emphasis on tracking, sorting students' school advancement based on their scores on standardized tests (the UMSAT and NCEE, respectively). Secondary education tracks divide students between standard college-prep high schools and technical schools which prepare them for semi-skilled work on the labor market. A student's score on the NCEE is extremely important in determining their college admission, and studying for the NCEE occupies an enormous portion of high school students' lives.

Education has traditionally held a high place in Menghean culture. Dynasties from the late Meng onward used classical examinations to select ministers and administrators for the government, a practice later carried over to Themiclesia. Rapid economic growth from the 1990s onward meant that for the first time, higher education was open to a larger share of the population, giving children from lower-income families a chance to achieve upward social mobility. At the same time, Menghe's industrial economy does not offer enough college-grade jobs to meet the yearly supply, which led the government to impose a soft ceiling on the number of college entrants every year. This dual pressure has resulted in cutthroat competition for the limited number of placements at high-ranking universities, resulting in a middle- and high-school culture where students routinely spend long hours studying outside of class.

Health

Economy

Menghe has the largest economy in Septentrion, with a nominal GDP of $9.81 trillion and a PPP-adjusted GDP of $19.14 trillion in 2020. In that year, its nominal and PPP-adjusted GDP per capita were $18,101 and $35,315 respectively, putting Menghe on the threshold of developed country status. Menghe's current prosperity is especially remarkable when compared to the poverty and isolation which the country faced during much of the 20th century. Annual GDP growth averaged 10.14% between 1988 and 2004, falling to a still impressive 6.88% average between 2005 and 2020. During this entire timespan, inflation-adjusted GDP per capita increased by a factor of 10.

The above high-growth period, known as the Menghean economic miracle, is a result of economic reforms which the new Menghean government initiated in 1988. Experts have suggested many causes for the subsequent period of high growth, including dirigisme, economic liberalization, high investment in infrastructure, an increasingly professional bureaucracy, and an incentive system which pushed government cadres to maximize economic growth. High economic growth also contributed to the popularity of the Menghean Socialist Party, and especially the former Chairman Choe Sŭng-min, who made economic development his leading priority while in office.

As a result of its economic reforms, Menghe has transitioned from a full planned economy under the DPRM to a mixed economy, sometimes classified as a form of state capitalism. Many of its top economic players, such as the Samsan Group, are Jachi-hoesa or autonomous enterprises: on paper, a controlling share of their assets is owned by state banks, but in practice they operate like private enterprises under the control of independent managers. The legalization of private enterprise in the 1990s also allowed for the emergence of a large number of small and medium private firms. The state's role in the economy has shifted from central planning to overall guidance, such as the building of infrastructure and the designation of priority investment sectors.

Much of Menghe's initial takeoff was driven by heavy industry, particularly steel, shipbuilding, automobiles, machine tools, and manufacturing. In more recent decades, the country's economic center of gravity has shifted to more advanced sectors, such as semiconductors, consumer electronics, telecommunications, and e-commerce. Menghe has also emerged as one of the leading producers of green energy technology, including the manufacturing of solar panels and wind turbines and the development of fourth-generation nuclear reactor designs. Many of Menghe's traditional and advanced economic advantages focus on dual-use technologies, and they have improved in parallel with the modernization of the Menghean armed forces.

Transportation and infrastructure

Expressways of Menghe
Passenger rail transport in Menghe
Rail transport in Menghe

Energy

Nuclear power in Menghe

Culture

See also