|Diwang of the Grand Secretariat of Jingdao|
20.XIII.1650 – 21.IV.1690
|Monarch||Hai Emperor |
|Preceded by||Chiang Shun|
|Succeeded by||Jin San|
Xiacheng Apollo City, Jierdai Dynasty
Zhang San (1604 - ... AN) was a lawyer, self-proclaimed pacifist and longest serving Diwang of the Jingdaoese Empire. During his term in office, he faced several threats, both from within as outside the nation. His long term - overtaking the longest serving Diwang Ching Fong in length - saw the ascension of three Emperors, a devastating world war and several minor crises. His influence and experience strengthened the position of the Guanchang Faction, making it successfully opposing the other Army and Navy in gaining too much power. For many Jingdaoese he became a popular figurehead of the government, even though critics blame him for lacking sufficient decisiveness to go to war to defend the nation's sphere of influence.
Especially under the Chidao Emperor, his Grand Secretariat enacted peaceful policies concerning foreign affairs (avoiding interference in the Kalirion Fracture and better cooperation with the allied USSO states). Several actions were undertaken to improve the economy and promoting arts and other cultural tendencies.
Birth and early life
Zhang was born as the child of a Jingdaoese family which had migrated to the Apollonian continent during the 15th century. While integrated, both accustomed to Apollontean habits, language and traditions (a mix of catologism and soloralism), the family was still met with discrimination after having lived in Xiacheng (during the Jierdai Dynasty still called Apollo City) for over three generations.
His father, Sun Zhang, was married to Mi Yang in 1602 AN. Both lived a simple life, as Sun Zhang worked as tailor. Zhang's mother earned some extras with helping in the factory near their house. The hardworked money was poured into a bank account for their unborn son, so he could study at the Ecclesiastical Academy of Pentapolis in Xiacheng.
The outbreak of rebellion against the Shirerithian goverment in Shirekeep in 1617 would do little to disturb the original plans of his parents. When he was finally born in 1604, Zhang's future was set in stone: the family pulled together the funds to give him a decent education. As education had become an important issue of the Late Jierdai Dynasty (which had risen to power in the same year of Zhang's birth), it had become easier - and especially cheaper - to receive basic education in the local schools. A more beneficial government policy towards the Jingdaoese, also paved the way to his early successes.
At twelve years old, Zhang was given apprenticeship at the administrative office in the capital, while simultaneously going to school. Slowly working his way up, he was lauded for his work ethics, aversion of bribery and ability to combine studying with his tasks at the office.
While Zhang later mentioned in his memoires that it was an exciting time, he clearly remembered the uncertainties: while his birth had coincided with the rise of a pro-Jingdaoese administration, which was still loyal to Shirekeep, the country would eventually be split by the Revolution of 1617, when the Late Jierdai ended their commitment to the Kaiser.
Supporting the Revolution
The Revolution of 1617 meant an abrupt change in the life of the young Zhang, who was only thirteen. The Late Jierdai saw a series of elected rulers - who were posthumously lifted to imperial status under the Greater Jing School. Zhang formed a youth group with like minded youngsters.
Still loyal to Caudillo Trajan Myksos, but uncerain about its chances against its former masters, the Shirerithians, he pushed for annexation of the newly established republic into Jingdao. This mindset gained popularity among the immigrants and higher ups, while being met with indifference from the Kildari, who had only known 'foreign' masters ever since the fall of the Youya Dynasty in 1451 AN.
Gaining notoriety as lawyer of the Great Jing Cause
The following years, Zhang started studying at the Ecclesiastical Academy of Pentapolis. There he voiced his concerns about the corrupt state of the administration. Having witnessed it himself during his apprenticeship as a kid, he was unsure of the ability of the elected leaders of the Late Jierdai to combat the situation.
In 1623 AN, during the independence celebrations, the Fudan Emperor proclaimed his loyalty to the Haigui Emperor. The Kildarian lands became part of the Great Jing Dynasty, and Zhang became a rising star amidst his fellow pupils at the Academy.
First years as Diwang
Having survived the Obedience Destruction relatively unscratched, Zhang was eventually transferred to the Neiwufu Agency. Under the Sheng Emperor he became one of the main architects of the Sheng Restoration in 1640 AN. He witnessed the death of Zhun Xan, who had defied the wishes of the Heavenly Light. It made him aware of the dangers of rising to higher positions and led to an increased caution on his part.
The demise of four Diwangs between 1645 and 1650 AN increased his caution, which would make him into one of the few Jingdaoese politicians who warned against war. Nonetheless, his attempts were opposed by members of both the Kantai-ha, Gunbatsu and even his own Guanchang Faction. He reluctantly sent Floria the Juichi Tsuki Ultimatum, while urging a more diplomatic approach. War hawks and anger due to the Rape of Xhusovo (blown up in the press), led to the failure of his attempts, and the War of Lost Brothers broke out in 1653 AN.
The next four years, the Great Jing saw a series of victories and defeats. The Battle of Carama Bay was seen as both pyrrhic victory, but angered Zhang tremendously: his compatriots in both the government and armed forces used outdated tactics and were unwilling to change despite tremendous losses.
Rise of Chidao
The end of the war saw the death of the Hai Emperor, followed by the ascension of the Meiyo Emperor. She was not a direct descendant of the Emperor, but his sister. Her administration was rived with discontent and the 1657 Yuan Elections were perceived as destabilising the nation even further. During this turmoil, Zhang was notified of the birth of the Chidao Emperor. His birth, in utmost secrecy, had kept the Empress on the Throne, and had simultaneously protected the child emperor against potential attacks from the outside on his life. The Diwang, however, feared that the Meiyo would one day crack under the pressure and decide to get rid of the child who threatened her position.
Assembling a group of high officials, he ordered the establishment of a regency council of the Chidao Emperor. Meiyo remained regent, at least in name. Zhang, by this moment the only one who could keep the Army and Navy in line, used his influence to avoid infighting among the newsly established regency council. Reverting democratic changes and effectively ending the Minshu Period, combined with the positive news that the Chidao Emperor was a promising prodigee, further stabilised the realm.
Under the Chidao Emperor, the Great Jing saw its most peaceful period: one of economic expansion, expansion of the White Tea Route and improvement of relations with both the USSO and some neighbouring states. The survival of the Empire, despite political turmoil in the west, was seen as a personal victory of the Diwang.
In 1690 AN, the Chidao Emperor started to deem his Diwang as unfit to govern any further. Using the vote on Graecia and worsening economic situation as a premise for his retirement, he was decreed to step down. The decision, which mentioned both a generous pension and a state burial before the end of the month, led to an outcry of surprise among many officials. Supplications to save Zhang's life fell on deaf ears.
Nearing the end of the month, Zhang San received a personal invitation of the Second Seishinso of Xianxia: under the premise of letting the Diwang pray for his last days on Micras among the spirits of his ancestors. The request was approved by the Neiwufu Agency, without the knowledge of Chidao, and he was moved to Taishengshi Palace.
Zhang had many children. Some sources mention at least 16 sons and 14 daughters, of whom most had grandchildren. He became one of the living examples of the spirit of the Zhengbing Programme, which had as goal to increase the number of Jingdaoese citizens. It is said that the Chidao Emperor asked him how many children he had (besides his official ones), but Zhang was unable to give an exact answer.
All of his children participated in the Young Wandering Society and most eventually took up important functions in the Army, Navy and bureaucracy. His seventh son, Jin San (born in 1661), led a successful business career at the head of the Zhang Heavy Industries and eventually befriended the Emperor, who appointed him as successor of his father.