Gang of Four
The leading figure of the group was Hon Ben Erasmus, uncle of the Xinshi Emperor. He succeeded in taking the role of Diwang from Jin San - which had become more or less obsolete with the integration of the Great Jing into the Great Apollonian Empire.
Hon Ben successfully negotiated an alliance between those key figures, despite their initial distrust for each other. Their common goal, avoiding the integration of Jingdao into a more or less liberal empire, pushed them to cooperate. While themselves dismayed with the prospects of being ruled over by an 'emperor from the east', they were well aware of the support towards the union among many of the members of the Heavenly Court. The Xinshi Emperor herself had even given Her consent and blessing for the project, as She had pledged to take a more spiritual role (as the Mingshi Emperor had done before Her).
Confronted with the unavoidable outcome of the Conference of Apollo and its blessing by the Heavenly Light, the Gang eventually chosed to change tactics. Hon Ben succeeded in convincing his niece to grant him the title of Diwang, a title which would have become more or less symbolic if the integration of Jingdao within Great Apollonia went well. A number of Heavenly Decrees, signed by the Xinshi Emperor - but most likely written by Hon Ben himself - was meant to reform the newly established Jingdaoese Community from a merely cultural entity into an institution meant to guide and even regulate the course of its States.
The Gang experienced early successes in the 1700's, as both the Tegong and Armed Forces - under Li Suyi and Yoshi Iwao - were among the best organised groups to suppress the disorganised trade and bureaucratic factions. The Kantai-ha, once the Army's most formidable foe had lost most of its influence with their initial neutrality during the Post-Chidao Troubles.
While a diverse group, certain goals were agreed upon among its members:
- Destabilise the federal process of democratisation and liberalisation. Promote the weakening of federal institutions, not by outright blocking legislation but through dividing the many political factions over social and economical issues.
- The Gong Suweiai serves as a parliament of the Jingdaoese-aligned States.
- The Grand Secretariat acts as the most vocal protector of the political rights of the Jingdaoese ethnic groups within the empire.
- Push for State Armies, which will be (indirectly) in the hands of the Jingdaoese Community (and Gang of Four).
- Keep minorities from voting in the elections by imposing restrictions (e.g: only those with a good state of military service, or those who have passed the imperial examinations).
- Re-establishment of the Tegong as cultural police to safeguard what was considered Jingdaoese values.
- The denouncement of the creation of a Kildarian Community. The Gang saw earlier accords concerning a Kildarian-administered state as a dangerous precedent.
- Great Apollonia: Zhang San warned for the dangers of the Gang as they threatened the progress of establishing a strong, federal state. Wu Pei, who as a representative of Jinkeai Province promoted State autonomy, condemned the move of the Gang to strengthen the Jingdaoese Community as dangerous for the State rights.