Central Eastern Republic, also known as simply CERia, is located between Russian, China, India, Iran, and other Middle Eastern countries. It is land-locked but has large rivers for economic transport. They have a fair amount of natural resources but their economy specializes in manufacturing (similar to China). The main story takes place in Stuxent, a metropolis famed for its elite University . The center of Stuxent is full of skyscrapers and major shopping centers but the immediate periphery is surrounded by urban slums.
There is no native Cerian race. The country was created under European colonization and became independent after WWII. The major ethnicities compose of those commonly found India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, China, and Russia. Although Chinese and Russian only make up about 30% of the total population, they tend to have higher social standing due to racism in the imperialistic past. The city center and suburbs are occupied by the rich (which are usually Russian and Chinese) while the slums and ghettos are occupied by the other ethnicities. There is increasing racial tension due to the ever widening gap in the social ladder between the races.
Under Soviet rule, CERia fought for the Allies in WWII. In 1950, CERians revolted and won independence by 1953. It became a period of instability as the newly independent country tried to form a government which allowed a dictatorship to take hold. In 1989, the Chairman imposed a Cultural Revolution to unify the races and to advance the economy. That included banning the teaching of any language that’s not English since English is considered the universal language of today which would also be good for the economy. Anyone born after 1989 would have an English sounding name (like Vance), while those born before it may keep their original name (like Manasvi). Today, CERia is still undergoing industrial revolution and would be considered a second world country with a large number of the population living in poverty but most of them are slowly finding better living conditions and can occasionally afford cyber cafes to be digitally connected.
The Department of Defense and Civil Harmony is commonly referred to as The Solar Eye by the underground press and hacker community, named for its ability to see everything as if from the vantage point of the sun. The mainstream media is under government coercion so they can only publish government approved materials. There is also a lot of corruption within the press itself so many reporters are willing to be paid to keep quiet.Any dissenters are silenced immediately. This usually means they are thrown in jail or suddenly diagnosed with insanity and put in an asylum (this is what happens in China). In some cases, daring journalists who want to reveal the truth are bluntly assassinated by government paid gangs.
There is also no freedom online. Website owners are responsible for self-censorship of the people who comment on their sites if they want to pass the annual inspection and keep their site (like in China). The government also hires people to spam websites with pro-government comments. If an underground press’ website is discovered, it will first be flooded with hate comments by paid bloggers before being shut down due to being “publicly unpopular”.
Like the Great Firewall of China, many social networking sites like Facebook and twitter are unavailable in CERia which forces them to use a CERian specific alternative that is heavily monitored. A very small population of CERians who are aware of censorship and oppression have formed their own covert way of communicating online. When their websites get censored, they tell others that they have been “harmonized”. Instead of directly typing words, they use pictures which are harder for the government search engine to find. However, the majority of the population is either blissfully ignorant due to effective propaganda and censorship, or apathetic and only focused on their own economic advancement.
Nevertheless, the government is increasingly paranoid about cyber security, especially with the recent Arab Spring and other revolutions all over the world so they are in the process of developing an Intranet that will completely block off CERia from the rest of the world (like in Iran). Only major businesses are allowed to use a super monitored version of the internet to forward the economy.