State of Yunnan
Timeline: Twilight of a New Era

OTL equivalent: China
Flag Coat of Arms
Flag State emblem
(and largest city)
Other cities Dali
Chinese (Standard Mandarin) and Traditional Chinese as official script
  others Tibeto-Burman, Tai and Hmong-Mien languages.
Secular state
  others Confucianism, Taoism, Chinese Buddhism, Roman Catholicism and Protestantism
Ethnic Groups
  others Several ethnic minorities
Government Presidential unitary republic
President of Executive Yuan
Area 394.000 km²
Established 1920
Independence from First Chinese Republic
  declared 1920
Annexation to Second Chinese Republic
  date 1929
Currency Chinese Silver Dollar, South cash or Nán wén (南文) and Southern Yuan (南元)

The State of Yunnan (云南国, Yúnnánguó) was an independent warlord state created in the Chinese province of the same name. It existed between 1920-1929. Its reincorporation to the Republic of China marked the end of the South Campaign for National Unity. It bordered the United Provinces of China, South Chinese Republic, French Indochina, Burma and Tibet.


Yunnan was notorious for its opium harvesting and traffic- It was the main source of State income.

Yunnan has strong agricultural focus. Rice is the main crop; corn, barley, wheat, rapeseed, sweet potatoes, soybeans (as a food crop), tea, sugarcane, tobacco, and cotton are also grown. Tobacco is the main (export) product.

In 1921 the Tripartite Agreement of Friendship, Commerce and Consular Relations was signed by South China, Yunnan and United Provinces of China.


According to the Constitution of 1921 the State of Yunnan is organized as follows: The executive power resides in the President of the Republic. He is elected by a joint session of Legislative Assembly for a 6 year term, He names the President of the Executive Yuan and its ministers. He is the supreme commander of the armed forces. The President can issue emergency legislation for its later approval by the Legislative Assembly. He also approves emergency decrees issued by the Executive Yuan.

The Legislative Assembly is the legislative power. It is elected every 4 years, but it can extend its mandate. Its composed of a representatives directly elected by the people.

A Supreme Court, nominated by the President on advice of the Legislative Assembly, directs and manages all courts of justice. A State Prosecutor is in charge of supervising, guiding and enforcing public prosecution on behalf of the State and investigation of criminal cases.


The Yunnan People’s Party (YPP), set up by the Yunnan Clique in 1921, is the political vehicle and mass organization. This last task made possible by the banishment of the KMT and CPC and all the so called Pan-Chinese movements. The YPP became the only legal party after 1922, along the trade unions and agricultural cooperatives that it controls.


Yunnan's main pillar industries include tobacco, agriculture and mining. The main manufacturing industries are iron and steel production and copper-smelting, chemicals, fertilizers and textiles.

The State of Yunnan maintains a strong agricultural focus. Agriculture is restricted to the few upland plains, open valleys, and terraced hillsides. Level land for agriculture is extremely scarce and only about 5 percent of the province is under cultivation. Rice is the main crop; corn, barley, wheat, rapeseed, sweet potatoes, soybeans (as a food crop), tea, sugarcane, tobacco, and cotton are also grown. On the steep slopes in the west livestock is raised and timber, a valuable resource, is cut (teak in the southwest).

Tobacco is the main (export) product and makes up a big part of the national GDP. Furthermore, Yunnan has a strong competitive potential in the fruit and vegetable industries, especially in low value-added commodities such as fresh and dried vegetables and fresh apples.

Another interesting industry is the coffee sector. Besides the export of roasted coffee, coffee-related products such as extracts, essences and substitutes may be promising products. Yunnan is the birthplace of tea. Still, ancient tea trees can be found in Yunnan of which tea leaves are processed. Tea is still an important export product.

But perhaps the most profitable of all was the harvesting of opium. The production and traffic of opium financed the Yunnan Clique and its military expenses. The legal loophole for harvesting was opium licensing given out by the Yunnan Agricultural Corporation (YAC) each year in an open public bid, plus supplementary licences given to cronies of the Clique.

Yunnan is one of the major production bases of copper, lead, zinc, tin and aluminum in China. Besides, reserves of germanium, indium, zirconium, platinum, rock salt, sylvite, nickel, phosphate, mirabilite, arsenic and blue asbestos are also high. This substantial mineral wealth, led to major industrial development in Yunnan, especially in the Kunming area.

Yunnan Industrial Development Corporation (YIDC), was created for the sole purpose of promoting industrial and mining development. The Yunnan Agricultural Corporation (YAC) is in charge of the agricultural sector and the development of exportation of coffee, tobacco, tea, soybean and rice. It also manages opium harvesting.

Armed forces and internal security

The Armed Forces, the real power brokers in the Yunnan Republic are organized in a the Joint Command of the Land and Air Forces. Theoretically they depend of the Ministry of National Defence, but it serves as a liaison between the Generals and the President.

The Army owns or has participation in several trading and commercial companies, besides controlling the YIDC and YAC.

The services of the Yunnan armed forces are:

  • Yunnan Army
  • Yunnan Air Force
  • Yunnan Border Police
  • Yunnan State Police

See also

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