This post was inspired by the recent discussions about Yu Jing's place in the Human Sphere and the perception from many players that it has become Flanderized by its most negative traits, turning it into the "Bad Guy" of the Human factions. Flanderization - "The act of taking a single (often minor) action or trait of a character within a work and exaggerating it more and more over time until it completely consumes the character. Most always, the trait/action becomes completely outlandish and it becomes their defining characteristic." One of the things that has impressed me about the Infinity fluff is the relatively even hand all of the factions are treated with. Every faction is coloured with various shades of gray - this extends even to the Combined Army. For me personally, this keeps the setting unique, interesting and makes every faction appealing. With this in mind, I wanted to see if the current complaints (some of which I share) about Yu Jing's treatment from a lore perspective actually hold water, how it compares to the portrayal of Yu Jing as written in the fluff. I also would like to gather everyone's thoughts on how they would like to see Yu Jing portrayed going forward. Are there things you would like to see emphasized about the faction and its society. Are there angles that you think are under-represented? Currently, many players feel that Yu Jing has been made out to be one of the villains of the setting, Combined Army not withstanding. This is not an unreasonable perception. Yu Jing bears the brunt of various social and political stereotypes inspired by the current political system of the People's Republic of China. It is in broad strokes, a monolithic, authoritarian regime that stifles dissent with force. This perception is even supported on the table top with brainwashed political prisoners outfitted with explosive collars, heavy infantry penal squads, and armed political police known for their brutality. The current Uprising Event pushes this further with a rebellious Japanese population trying to break free from Yu Jing's authoritarian grip, as oppressed, second class citizens. It's easy to see Yu Jing as this and nothing but this. I myself was not too familiar with Yu Jing's background beyond these basic points, as I don't play Yu Jing, I play Haqqislam. Taking a closer look at the core books however, it's clear that Gutier and Corvus Belli have done some research and have made some attempts to portray the faction as more complex than a gang of boot-stomping thugs. Yu Jing is not a singular, all-encompassing hive mind. Every part of its governmental system is designed with checks and balanced in mind. At the top of the political hierarchy, there exists the Party and the Imperial Throne. While the Party is responsible for the day to day ruling of the Yu Jing government, the Emperor controls the judiciary and by extension, the ISS. The throne itself is shared between two competing dynasties, who rotate occupancy of the seat and who, in theory, keep each others ambitions in check. Likewise, the Party is also split between conservative and reformist factions. Tellingly, Yu Jing citizens do in fact vote in elections to decide between which of these two factions to support. In the end, they are still voting for the Party itself, but they have a chance to steer the direction of the Party by putting their collective support behind one vision or the other. The ISS was formed out of a real and pressing need to fight back against the threat of violence from organized crime. Triad power had reach such heights that these criminal gangs were committed acts of violence and murder in broad daylight. Even the existence of the JSA points to another nuance of Yu Jing's ruling methodology. In practice, there is a degree of Han/Chinese chauvinism which has resulted in the second class status of Yu Jing's Japanese citizens. However, Yu Jing's ruling Party decided early on that it had to be a multi-cultural society in order to maintain its power, and with that, it had to promote and encourage its various ethnic groups to celebrate their own traditions. This extends to granting these groups their own semi-autonomous armed forces. From the fluff, it can be argued that the second-class status of the Japanese is partially self-inflicted due to the friction between the Japanese population versus the greater Yu Jing state, a friction that may not exist between Yu Jing and its other ethnic groups. In essence, despite Yu Jing's misgivings of its Japanese citizens, it still allowed them their own military and one could almost say, this generosity was repaid with treachery by the Japanese ruling class. These points are all taken directly from the Core Books. I have not quoted anything verbatim however as I recommend you buy the books or borrow them from a friend who has. They're well worth the price tag. Given that Yu Jing does have these shades of gray, why is there a perception that Yu Jing is one of the less sympathetic factions of the setting? I suspect that besides the fluff, the main reason is that the factions manifest themselves mostly through their presence on the table top, where things like political checks and balances, or multicultural largesse are irrelevant and invisible. What IS visible are the explosive zombie political prisoners, and the penal brigades, and the heavily armed police thugs. Going through Yu Jing's recent sculpt releases, it's very clear that the ISS has received a lot of love, with new profiles, new models, lots of resculpts, and most of these figures focused on the boot-to-the-face-Chinese-Judge-Dredd aspect of the faction, which means that this aspect of the faction has received the most amount of visibility. ISS is a strong sectorial, and they're wicked stylish, but they've come to define the character of Yu Jing on the table top, especially now that the JSA is no longer there to counter-balance them. Admittedly, there is also a tendency for players and fans to create their own fanon over time. This happens in nearly every work of fiction (see the entry about Flanderization above). It's natural, and the best way to counteract this is by continuing to emphasis both the negative and positive portayals of Yu Jing. There is also a question then, of whether or not the overall player base, especially the Yu Jing players, even want to see their faction depicted with a more even hand (which I personally believe they do). What I would like to see are a few things: Put some more emphasis on the heroic nature of Yu Jing's military. Show them as the good guys from time to time. Have an ISS squad defending a settlement from marauding Yuan Yuan/Druze/Ikari hired thugs. More depictions of desperate last stands by Yu Jing soldiers against the Combined Army as they cover the evacuation of civilians. Give the Invincible Army a moment to shine as they swoop in last minute to repel PanO aggression against one of their outposts. Stop using propaganda as a crutch when writing Yu Jing fluff. Too many unit descriptions and fluff pieces seem to have some clever propaganda tag as a closer. It is clever when used in moderation but we really don't need to see it every other time. It also undermines the positives of the faction while accentuating the negatives. When something positive is written about the faction, we can easily dismiss it as propaganda. When something negative is written about the faction, it becomes "Hahaha! Your dastardly nature is revealed!". This further reinforces Yu Jing's feel as a villainous faction. Let the Invincible Army be an Army. Keep them professional, try to stay away from depicting them as baby-eating, mustache twirling bad guys. When they're on the table top, they should make a statement about the State Army as a professional force who's primary focus is on defending Yu Jing. None of the above means turning Yu Jing into a paragon of virtue. It is still an authoritarian super-power and ISS still gets to be the gang of boot-to-the-face door-kickers. But lets counter balance that with some heroics as well. When I play Haqqislam, hell, when I play Qapu Khalqi, I can stuff a list full of Yuan Yuan, Druze, Scarface, Djanbazans, or I can load up with Sekhbans, Kaplans, Hafzas and Odalisques. The feel of the faction and/or sectorials change depending on who I bring. Give Yu Jing some more of that flexibility as well.