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Boxer Uprising

Boxer Uprising, 1898–1900, antiforeign movement in China, culminating in a desperate uprising against Westerners and Western influence.

By the end of the 19th cent. the Western powers and Japan had established wide interests in China. The Opium War (1839–42), which Great Britain had provoked, forced China to grant commercial concessions (see treaty port) and to recognize the principle of extraterritoriality. The concessions to Great Britain were soon followed by similar ones to France, Germany, and Russia. The Ch'ing regime, already weakened by European encroachments, was more enfeebled by Japan's success in the First Sino-Japanese War (1894–95) and the subsequent further partitioning of China into foreign spheres of influence. The Ch'ing emperor, Kuang-hsu, attempted to meet the imperialist threat by adopting modern educational and administrative reforms, but he stirred conservative opposition and was frustrated (1898) by the dowager empress, Tz'u Hsi, who, favoring a last effort to expel foreign influence, supported armed resistance.

The dowager empress tacitly encouraged an antiforeign secret society called I Ho Ch'uan [Chinese,=righteous, harmonious fists] or, in English, the Boxers. The Boxers soon grew powerful, and late in 1899 the movement began to assume menacing proportions. Violent attacks on foreigners and on Chinese Christians occurred, particularly in the provinces of Zhili, Shanxi, and Shandong; in Manchuria; and in Inner Mongolia. In those regions, railway building, a visible symbol of the foreigner, was most active; and Chinese Christians, especially Roman Catholics, adherents to the foreigners' religion, were most numerous. Also located there were the majority of territorial leaseholds acquired by the European powers.

In June, 1900, the Boxers (some 140,000 strong and now led by the war party at court), occupied Beijing and for eight weeks besieged the foreigners and the Chinese Christians there. Provincial governors in SE China suppressed the court's declaration of war and assured the powers of protection for foreign interests, thus limiting the area of conflict to N China. The siege was lifted in August by an international force of British, French, Russian, American, German, and Japanese troops, which had fought its way through from Tianjin. The Boxer Uprising thus ended.

The Western powers and Japan agreed—mainly because of U.S. pressure to "preserve Chinese territorial and administrative integrity" and because of mutual jealousies among the powers—not to carry further the partition of China. Nevertheless, China was compelled (1901) to pay an indemnity of $333 million, to amend commercial treaties to the advantage of the foreign nations, and to permit the stationing of foreign troops in Beijing. The United States later (1908) used some of its share of the indemnity for scholarships for Chinese students. China emerged from the Boxer Uprising with a greatly increased debt and was, in effect, a subject nation.

Bibliography

See A. H. Smith, China in Convulsion (1901); G. N. Steiger, China and the Occident (1927); C. C. Tan, The Boxer Catastrophe (1955); P. Fleming, The Siege at Peking (1959); V. W. W. S. Purcell, The Boxer Uprising (1963); R. O'Connor, The Spirit Soldiers (1973).

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Boxer Rebellion

BOXER REBELLION

BOXER REBELLION, an antiforeign uprising in China by members of a secret society beginning in June 1900. The society, originally called the Boxers United in Righteousness, drew their name from their martial rites. Over the course of the uprising, a force of some 140,000 Boxers killed thousands of Chinese Christians and a total of 231 foreigners, including Germany's ambassador. On 17 June 1900, the Boxers began a siege of the legations in Peking. The United States joined Great Britain, Russia, Germany, France, and Japan in a military expedition for the relief of the legations, sending 5,000 troops for this purpose. The international relief expedition marched from Taku to Tientsin and thence to Peking, raising the siege on 14 August. Believing that an intact China would further U.S. trade interests in Asia, Secretary of State John Hay chose the opportunity to reiterate the "Open Door" policy of the United States and issued a circular note identifying the U.S. goal to "preserve Chinese territorial and administrative entity." In addition, the United States did not join a punitive expedition under German Commander in Chief Count von Waldersee, and, during the Peking Congress (5 February–7 September 1901), the United States opposed the demand for a punitive indemnity, which might have led to the dismemberment of China. The Boxer protocol finally fixed the indemnity at $333 million, provided for the punishment of guilty Chinese officials, and permitted the major nations to maintain legation guards at Peking and between the capital and the sea. The U.S. share of the indemnity, originally set at $24.5 million but reduced to $12 million, was paid by 1924.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Esherick, Joseph. The Origins of the Boxer Uprising. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987.

Schaller, Michael. The United States and China in the Twentieth Century. New York: Oxford University Press, 1979.

KennethColegrove

FlanneryHaug

See alsoChina, Relations with ; Indemnities ; Open Door Policy .

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Boxer Rebellion

Boxer Rebellion. A major anti-foreign uprising in north China in 1899–1900 by a Chinese secret society known to Westerners as the ‘Boxers’. The I-ho ch'uan, or ‘Righteous and Harmonious Fists’, was a secret religious society associated with the Eight-Trigram Society. It was noted for its practice of the old-style Chinese callisthenics, the movements of which suggested to Westerners the name ‘Boxers’. With court patronage, they destroyed churches and foreign residences, murdered missionaries and Chinese Christians, and attacked foreign legations. In Aug. 1900, a large allied Western force defeated the Boxers. The Boxer Rebellion thus ended with an even further debilitated Ch'ing dynasty and, consequently, new popular support for the radicals' call for a republican revolution and a new China.

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"Boxer Rebellion." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Boxer Rebellion

Boxer Rebellion (1898–1900) Anti-western uprising in China. The Opium Wars resulted in greater European involvement in China. Defeat in the first of the Sino-Japanese Wars further weakened the Qing dynasty. In a bid to restore Manchu authority, the Empress Dowager Cixi supported the attempts of the Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists (hence the ‘Boxers’) forcibly to remove Western influence from China. Nationwide attacks on foreigners and Chinese Christians left more than 200 dead. In June 1900, the Boxers began a two-month long siege of Beijing. An international expeditionary force relieved the foreign legations and suppressed the rising. China agreed to pay an indemnity.

http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq86-1.htm

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Boxer Rising

Boxer Rising, 1900. The spread of European influence led to strong anti-foreign feelings in northern China. Encouraged by Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi, young Chinese formed an organization called the Society of Harmonious Fists or ‘Boxers’. They attacked converts to Christianity, missionaries, and workers on foreign-controlled railways. British Admiral Seymour led reinforcements to safeguard foreign nationals but was fired upon from the forts at Taku. On 20 June a Boxer uprising occurred in Peking where the German minister, Baron von Ketteler, was killed and other foreign legations besieged. A six-nation force landed at Tientsin on 14 July and marched 80 miles north-west to relieve Peking on 14 August.

Richard A. Smith

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"Boxer Rising." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Boxer Rebellion

Boxer Rebellion. See China Relief Expedition (1900).

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