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Full Version: The International - News From Sizhou
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11th April, 2018

One week after the announcement of several new measured passed by the April Congress on Thursday, we've seen a busy news cycle regarding the new changes over the weekend. Although the changes largely have little effect on likely what is a slight minority of Sizhouans, newspapers, radio, and the media and intranet at large have practiced wild speculation on their effects. Some of the details of this new legislation however, as we will discuss, have been quite immediate, drastic even, and requires no such speculation.

Polling throughout Sizhou, which occurred from Thursday and throughout the weekend, indicated at first that the new legislation was merely running a majority approval rating, varying from policy to policy. Most importantly, the most mixed results of Friday initially came on the issue of expanded powers of to the Interim Assembly, which for foreign readers who may be a unfamiliar, acts in the place of the National Poeple's Assembly while it is not in Congress. While only temporary for the time being, unless extended in the summer, one important aspect is that it gives the Interim Assembly more military authority where it is found to be necessary, the intended use for which is to repel militant opposition groups primarily threatening major population centers in the North of Sizhou. Easily the most controversial result of the April Congress as of Friday, this measure had the highest approval rating in areas troubled by recent threats of violence and in occupied territory, although those areas are much more difficult to reliably poll.

Fast forward to the course of the next couple of days, and conditions have rapidly changed in the Northwest of Sizhou that have simultaneously given rise to the April Congress' approval ratings. Perhaps by design, this new legislation enraged dissidents in occupied territories across the region, and baited thousands from several groups into hasty and often misguided attacks over the weekend. South of Sishi, for instance, violence has slowly approached dangerously close to the city over the course of the last year. As an unintended consequence of their actions over the course of the weekend, on the part of these rebels, this renewed aggression has at once provided both utility to the new Interim Assembly rules and shot up their approval. The situation, however, is still ugly as roughly 1000 rebels have launched assaults attempting to take positions approaching the city. Roughly 50 Sizhouan soldiers have been killed and 200 wounded in the fierce battling so far, while the lead commander on the ground estimated that the Sizhouan People's Army has defeated a likely higher but non-comfirmable number. Time has again proven the difficulty of using such guerilla tactics against a force that itself came into existence using.

While it is currently unknown what the size of these militants' forces is in total, as a rather sizeable portion of the Northwest, South of the mountains along the coast, is in occupied territory, Sizhou's statistical experts place them at approximately 5% of Sizhou's active military, or roughly 20,000 soldiers. Granted, these would be nearly all infantry and armored troops as the Sizhouan air force has effectively prevented them from acquiring any suitable air force facilities or craft. Aside from the current assault on Sishi, approximately 3,000 troops have attacked other cities throughout the Northwest. These are even more precarious scenarios, as attackers of Sishi have historically been rather careful not to permanently damage the many priceless religious and cultural sites in the city. One city in particular, roughly 100km further inland, has found itself in critical condition while it awaits reinforcements to arrive.

While the government of Sizhou is currently confident that the People's Army will be able to carry these battles, they have made the point of the proven legitimacy of the April Congress' new legislation, which has been made apparent. "It is important to realize in this time of crisis," noted Premier Lafang earlier, "that this attack is the result of our long letting this beast of a militant counter-revolutionary movement to sleep. We now know its dangers and find ourselves fully prepared to fight against it." It seems she is well aware however that the April Congress likely triggered these particular attacks, although they just as likely may have simply hastened them.
21 April, 2018

It has been just over two weeks since the April Congress ended, after which several rebel groups in the Northwest responded with aggressive attacks on defensive positions near the city of Sishi, as well as other cities across the region. While tensions are high, the general view in the Sizhouan government is that the situation will come under control, and that the working people of the Northwestern region will be safe once again. However, complications have occurred over this time that have induced a deal of concern in some.

Even in areas of the Sizhouan Northwest which experience militant disruptions by local rebels, such as arson and economic disruptions on a somewhat regular basis, it is exceedingly rare for direct assaults on city garrisons. This all changed two weeks ago, when militia forces were called into action in several cities along the Northwestern highlands. Utilizing newly passed laws, local and provincial governments swiftly moved in to defend settlements while reinforcements were assembled to their locations. As situations stabilized over the course of the last weeks, and amid a temporary travel ban, the advance of rebel forces came to a standstill.

As of this Monday, however, activities have again picked up as the region has experienced on of the most eventful days in recent years. Excitement began in Sishi earlier this week as Chairman of the Worker's Party of Sizhou Mei Zhe'shan arrived in the city. Zhe'shan, effectively the ideological leader of Sizhou, visited both to inspect local management of the situation and to boast morale if possible. Most of the week proceeded rather smoothly; events began on Monday, with Zhe'shan holding a rally in the city praising its and the Sizhouan People's Army's efforts. After the rally, the Chairman was scheduled to remain in the city for the remainder of the week to carry out her duties, however as it would turn out things would turn more chaotic as the week progressed, reaching its violent climax this Friday evening. The events of the evening were preceded by small victories, in which the Sizhouan People's Army found itself pushing militants back in several areas. It should be noted that, these battles very often being fought by Sizhouan military and militia in their own home cities, a great deal of caution is being taken ejecting the rebel forces. Regardless, circumstances seemed to improve as in some cases the rebels appeared to be in as much as a full retreat. "It was suspicious," stated one general, "Or superior forces had several skirmishes with the rebels over the week, holding them in place, but without any significant confrontations over the past few days. Then Thursday night, we found that they had simply vanished."

At roughly 6pm Friday night, witnesses began reporting hearing gunfire from within Sishi. Militias within the city, most of which were not stationed at the site of the incident at the time, were at once organized into position. Within the hour the Sizhouan military determined that rebel forces has secured themselves within a few primarily industrial blocks of Sishi, centered around a rail yard. Having encircled ground zero of the rail yard attack in a somewhat timely manner, local officials claim the attack has been contained to that area. Meanwhile, the local government as well as Mei Zhe'shan who was still stationed in the city have secured themselves in the city capital for the time being. Making matters worse, however, the concerns of some in the military have been confirmed as the attack was almost certainly orchestrated with nearby groups. Sizhouan People's Army forces which were suddenly required to pull back and reinforce the railyard have found rebel lines, now reinforced from the soldiers who retreated from attacks the previous morning, have advanced much closer to the sity. This has signalled the Sizhouan government to commit significantly more effort to the area, as they hope to prevent further entry into Sishi long enough to run out the attackers within the Sishi. It is unknown at the time how many of the attackers are currently in the city.

As of Saturday morning, an immediate investigation has been ordered as to how any why rebels were able to attack from within the city, and whether they were aided by any connections from or between where transports over the last few days originated. If discovered, such saboteurs are likely to face among the harshest punishment in the Sizhouan legal system.
*some retcons here*

April 24th, 2018 - Rebel forces have been accused by Sizhouan public officials of firing at men attempting to surrender to the SPA in Sishi, for which Sizhou has offered amnesty to those who surrender to "return to productive society."

April 30th, 2018 - Keeping to age old northwestern Sizhouan tradition, ceremonies have started for fallen soldiers of both the SPA and rebels to be put to rest in Sīshi's Halls of Ashes.

May 15th, 2018 - Confused passengers aboard a train headed for Lóngyán briefly panicked as its route was mismatched with another train headed for a prison district off the east coast. The passengers are expected to be compensated for their troubles.
8th August, 2018

It has been just over three months since the city of Sishi was infiltrated by rebel forces. The move was reportedly made as an attempt to divert Sizhouan military forces from the front lines  where rebel forces had also attempted to besiege the city and the surrounding forests and countryside, allowing them to approach and cut off supplies. The move was, for some time, successful. Skirmishes between Sizhouan forces inside Sishi clashed with rebel troops garrisoned in an industrial district holding hundreds of hostages over the course of over a month until finally they broke under the pressure of mounting losses being cut off from their allies attacking the city from the outside.

The Sizhouan government has since reinforced the region with thousands of additional troops. While the majority of the country seems to have rallied to battle cry of the defense of our cities, there is no denying that the debacle has been one of the most catastrophic losses the nation has faced in years. While all rebel militants, save for those who surrendered in the early stages of the infiltration, have been killed or imprisoned, nearly one hundred members of the Sizhouan military and Sishi militia were killed along with several hostages working in the area of the city at the time of the attack did not survive the event.

Fast forward to early July, an investigation by the Ministry of the Interior began to point to a conspiracy from within the provincial government of Zhōngshi as being responsible for the infiltration of Sishi. It was found that rebels arrived in the city in several rail supply transports, aided by several officials of the city and provincial People's Assembly up to an including then Provincial Assemblyman Xin Yian. However, Yian would not be directly implicated until his disappearance on July 8th, after which he was promptly charged with and found guilty of treason and subversion. The search for his whereabouts roughly three weeks after his disappearance uncovered surveillance footage of Yian boarding a flight to the capital of Meridia, escaping security with the use of a counterfeit passport.

It is currently unclear to the government and Ministry of the Interior exactly what if any arrangement Yian along with his fellow escapees have in Meridia, however, Premier Lin Lafang has reached out to the government of Meridia for answers and to demand their extradition back to Sizhou. His fate now lies in any negotiations, if any, the two states come to.
7th September, 2018

One month after Xin Yian's defection, which involved himself along with a group of his allies arriving in Meridia using fake paperspas, the government of Sizhou has been yet to take direct political action against Meridia's. However with Yian yet to be extradited, anger from the Sizhouan public and debate workin the Worker's Party of Sizhou has led Premier Lafang's decision to pressure a response.

The event of Xin Yian's arrival in Meridia had been meet with controversy, as it was covered in several Meridian news outlets and whatever action should be taken faced debate across the national political spectrum. It would appear that an emergency cabinet meeting was also triggered, although it would appear that their government is heavily considering sheltering Yian. The government in Meridia, along with public opinion on the country, feels a strong boss of animosity towards the socialism of Sizhou. An animosity that has granted sympathy towards rebel forces in the North, and characterizes the state's ideology as "sadistic," among other things. Because of this reason it may seem in their interest not to comply with Sizhou's demands.

In response, Premier Lafang has decided that the time has come for a moderate, measured response. The Sizhouan government believes that the issue of Yian's extradition may under favorable circumstances be solved without escalation or involvement from other nations, but may be willing to do so if the situation were to become more hostile.

For the time being, the loading economic interaction between Meridia and Sizhou is tourism, with many commodities being imported more indirectly sure to existing differences. Hence for the time being the Sizhouan government has decided to take to measures regarding Meridian citizens in Sizhou:
- a temporary restriction will be placed on tourist travel, limiting then to a tighter degree than most other states. This will primarily restrict them to Haijing, Zhongshi, and a number of other cities.
- Meridian diplomats in cities which travel is restricted will for the time beingbbe expelled

These measures will be taken if Sizhou's demands are not met by September 21st. While the Sizhouan government hopes the issue will be resolved before then, they will enact these measures both as a matter of national security and in order to apply diplomatic pressure.
ShowText Version
Sizhou - In towns and cities across the Northern mountains, citizens each day live with a threat that
for decades has not been present throughout the rest of the country. It is seemingly a different country to
those of us in the East or South, but the threat of a firefight breaking out between local army garrisons
and rebel forces is a very real occurence in the countryside and jungles in and to the southeast of Sishi.
Likewise, millions of Sizhouan peoples for decades have lived in the precarity of war under the occupation
of rebel forces.

While for some time there has been relative calm in the area, the last two years have seen a renewed esc-
alation of violence between government and rebel forces. Between the rebel seige of Sishi in 2017 and
power station bombings of 2018 to the environmental and local damage caused by Sizhouan airforce
bombings on rebel fortifications, thousands have died with little to show for it on either side. However,
even amid suspicions that rebel forces have resources above and beyond their estimated production
capacity, this war may come to a temporary end in possibly the first peace talks since 2012.

The motivations of the government to make this move is currently publicly unknown, however it several
commentators around the Sizhouan media have suggested the motivations are economic, simple fatigue,
or most notably perhaps a turn to international interests. With surrounding nations amid open civil war
and tensions high between Ara’den and Parthenopias, it is likely we’re seeing a shakeup in terms of foreign
policy. This all comes after a small fleet of Sizhouan navy ships have been tasked with patrolling the North-
ern strait to protect trade interests between Sizhou and Parthenopias.

Additionally, several Deneshi military officials have defected at Sizhouan embassies. While their identities
and motivations are clear, it is likely that they fear their lives are on the line amid an apparent purge
in Ara’den. If the government’s peace-seeking with rebels is related to this turn of events, then it is all the
more apparent that Sizhou is mobilizing in preparation of a possible international conflict, however no such
direct military mobilizations have yet taken place.

What peace would mean for the people of and around Sishi is unclear, as no terms have been announced or
suggested by the Sizhouan government. Additionally, there has been no statement from rebel leaders.
What is certain, is that the region may see a well needed relaxation of a destructive civil war for the region,
and perhaps the reuniting of long-separated families and friends and economic reconstruction.

Finally, there is the factor the Premier Lin Lafang has only been in office for approximately 30 months, since
September 2016. While she did not run for office on a platform of peace with rebel forces nor has she expressed
a specific interest in the issue, it is possible she simply has less interest in ending this war by force than her
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