Contrary to popular and frequently-disseminated opinion within the Chinese state, “China” has not always extended as far as the PRC does today. The processes by which the Chinese state came to enjoy the geographical spread it does today are diverse and sometimes difficult to assay. Perhaps, with a broad brush, we can divide these into state-sponsored and non-state-sponsored processes, although this is also a difficult division to sustain with any precision. The archaeological record suggests that Chinese societies and polities (those which used Chinese script as part of their cultural and administrative identity) developed and were initially centralised around the Yellow River. Their expansion south, west and east was achieved through diverse means and modes. 1 The successive polities alternately expanded against neighbours and were compressed by incursions from outside in a continuing process of what one might call the concertina of Chinese history over many centuries. In this chapter, we will explore a subset of the state-sponsored processes of Chinese polity expansion.