The Year is 184 A.D. The characters are travelling through the lands of China, all striving towards their personal and important goals. They find themsellves on the brink of a civil war, thrust into the political world of a country filled with chaos and infighting. Detailed below is a glimpse of the events that led up to the unrest that became known as the Yellow Turban Rebellion.

In the years before 184 A.D., many events caused the people to lose their faith in the Han, which ultimately resulted in the Yellow Turban Rebellion.

183 A.D. At this time, Yang Ci was Minister over the Masses. He sent a memorial to say:

“Zhang Jiao is deceiving and exploiting the common people. When amnesties are granted, instead of repenting himself, he spreads his evil influence even wider. If orders are sent to the provincial and commandery administrations to arrest him and punish him, I am afraid that might only increase the confusion and would hasten on disaster. The first thing to do is to give strict orders to the Inspectors and the heads of commanderies and kingdoms that they must stop people wandering about and send them back to their own territory. This way we will isolate his party and then we can punish the ringleaders. Everything would then be settled without trouble.”

However, a short time later Yang Ci was dismissed and the matter was more or less ignored.

Liu Tao, Senior Clerk under the Ministers over the Masses, then sent in another memorial:

“Zhang Jiao’s secret plans become increasingly dangerous. The empire is full of whispers and rumours, and it is claimed that Zhang Jiao and his followers have gained entry into the capital and have spies within the court. They twitter like birds, they have the hearts of wild beasts, and they make plots together. The provinces and commanderies have put the whole question under a taboo: they compare notes with one another privately, but they are reluctant to say anything in the open. Your majesty should issue a clear edict, calling for the arrest of Zhang Jiao and his supporters, and promising rewards of land from the state for those who capture them. If any should dare to evade your call, they can share the same punishment.”

However, Emperor Ling not take the matter seriously.

To sum it all up, natural disasters, such floodings, draughts, avalanches and hailstone rains occurred and the civilians weren’t supported by the Han in restoring what was lost or damaged. On top of that, Emperer Ling increased taxes and was influenced by the greedy eunuchs, led by Zhang Rang. The Han was seen as corrupt and the people were stripped of all hope.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms