Boxer Rebellion
Overview
 
The Boxer Rebellion, also called the Boxer Uprising by some historians or the Righteous Harmony Society Movement in northern China, was a proto-nationalist
Chinese nationalism
Chinese nationalism , sometimes synonymous with Chinese patriotism refers to cultural, historiographical, and political theories, movements and beliefs that assert the idea of a cohesive, unified Chinese people and culture in a unified country known as China...

 movement by the "Righteous Harmony Society" (義和團 - Yìhétuán), or "Righteous Fists of Harmony" or "Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists" (known as "Boxers" in English), in China between 1898 and 1901, opposing foreign imperialism
Anti-imperialism
Anti-imperialism, strictly speaking, is a term that may be applied to a movement opposed to any form of colonialism or imperialism. Anti-imperialism includes opposition to wars of conquest, particularly of non-contiguous territory or people with a different language or culture; it also includes...

 and Christianity. The uprising took place in response to foreign "spheres of influence" in China, with grievances ranging from opium traders, political invasion, economic manipulation, to missionary
Missionary
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism or ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin...

 evangelism
Evangelism
Evangelism refers to the practice of relaying information about a particular set of beliefs to others who do not hold those beliefs. The term is often used in reference to Christianity....

.
Encyclopedia
The Boxer Rebellion, also called the Boxer Uprising by some historians or the Righteous Harmony Society Movement in northern China, was a proto-nationalist
Chinese nationalism
Chinese nationalism , sometimes synonymous with Chinese patriotism refers to cultural, historiographical, and political theories, movements and beliefs that assert the idea of a cohesive, unified Chinese people and culture in a unified country known as China...

 movement by the "Righteous Harmony Society" (義和團 - Yìhétuán), or "Righteous Fists of Harmony" or "Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists" (known as "Boxers" in English), in China between 1898 and 1901, opposing foreign imperialism
Anti-imperialism
Anti-imperialism, strictly speaking, is a term that may be applied to a movement opposed to any form of colonialism or imperialism. Anti-imperialism includes opposition to wars of conquest, particularly of non-contiguous territory or people with a different language or culture; it also includes...

 and Christianity. The uprising took place in response to foreign "spheres of influence" in China, with grievances ranging from opium traders, political invasion, economic manipulation, to missionary
Missionary
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism or ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin...

 evangelism
Evangelism
Evangelism refers to the practice of relaying information about a particular set of beliefs to others who do not hold those beliefs. The term is often used in reference to Christianity....

. In China, popular sentiment remained resistant to foreign influences, and anger rose over the "unequal treaties" (不平等條約), which the weak Qing state could not resist. Concerns grew that missionaries and Chinese Christians could use this decline to their advantage, appropriating lands and property of unwilling Chinese peasants to give to the church. This sentiment resulted in violent revolts against foreign interests.

In June 1900 in Beijing, Boxer fighters threatened foreigners and forced them to seek refuge in the Legation Quarter
Beijing Legation Quarter
The Peking Legation Quarter was the area in Peking where a number of foreign legations were located between 1861 and 1959. In Chinese, the area is known as Dōng jiāomín xiàng , which is the name of the hutong running through the area...

. In response, the initially hesitant Empress Dowager Cixi
Empress Dowager Cixi
Empress Dowager Cixi1 , of the Manchu Yehenara clan, was a powerful and charismatic figure who became the de facto ruler of the Manchu Qing Dynasty in China for 47 years from 1861 to her death in 1908....

, urged by the conservatives of the Imperial Court, supported the Boxers and declared war
Imperial Decree of declaration of war against foreign powers
Imperial Decree of declaration of war against foreign powers was a 1900 declaration of war against the colonising powers: Russia, America, England, Japan, France, Germany, Spain, Austria-Hungary, Belgium, and Holland simultaneously. This declaration of war was one of the direct cause of the Boxer...

 on foreign powers
Eight-Nation Alliance
The Eight-Nation Alliance was an alliance of Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States whose military forces intervened in China to suppress the anti-foreign Boxers and relieve the siege of the diplomatic legations in Beijing .- Events :The...

. Diplomats, foreign civilians and soldiers, and Chinese Christians in the Legation Quarter were under siege by the Imperial Army of China and the Boxers for 55 days. The Chinese government equivocated between destroying the foreigners in the Legation Quarter and extending olive branches. Clashes were reported between Chinese factions favoring war and those favoring conciliation, the latter led by Prince Qing. The supreme commander of the Chinese forces, Ronglu
Ronglu
Ronglu was a Manchu statesman and general during the late Qing dynasty. Born into the powerful Guwalgiya clan of the Plain White Banner in the Eight Banners, he was cousin to Yehenara Lan, who later became Empress Dowager Cixi...

, claimed three years later that he acted to protect the besieged foreigners. The siege was raised when the Eight-Nation Alliance
Eight-Nation Alliance
The Eight-Nation Alliance was an alliance of Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States whose military forces intervened in China to suppress the anti-foreign Boxers and relieve the siege of the diplomatic legations in Beijing .- Events :The...

 brought 20,000 armed troops to China, defeated the Imperial Army, and captured Beijing. The Boxer Protocol
Boxer Protocol
The Boxer Protocol was signed on September 7, 1901 between the Qing Empire of China and the Eight-Nation Alliance that had provided military forces plus Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands after China's defeat in the intervention to put down the Boxer Rebellion at the hands of the...

 of 7 September 1901 ended the uprising and provided for severe punishments, including an indemnity of 67 million pounds
Pound sterling
The pound sterling , commonly called the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence...

 (450 million tael
Tael
Tael can refer to any one of several weight measures of the Far East. Most commonly, it refers to the Chinese tael, a part of the Chinese system of weights and currency....

s of silver), more than the government's annual tax revenue, to be paid as indemnity over a course of thirty-nine years to the eight nations involved.

Origins of the Boxers

The Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists, known by foreigners as the Boxers, or "Yihe Magic Boxing", was a secret society founded in the northern coastal province of Shandong
Shandong
' is a Province located on the eastern coast of the People's Republic of China. Shandong has played a major role in Chinese history from the beginning of Chinese civilization along the lower reaches of the Yellow River and served as a pivotal cultural and religious site for Taoism, Chinese...

 consisting largely of people who had lost their livelihoods due to imperialism and natural disasters. Foreigners came to call the well-trained, athletic young men "Boxers" due to the martial arts and calisthenics
Calisthenics
Calisthenics are a form of aerobic exercise consisting of a variety of simple, often rhythmical, movements, generally using multiple equipment or apparatus. They are intended to increase body strength and flexibility with movements such as bending, jumping, swinging, twisting or kicking, using...

 they practiced. The Boxers' primary feature was spirit possession
Chinese spirit possession
Chinese spirit possession is the paranormal/supernatural and sorcerical event in which, allegedly, when Chinese spirits, or gods such as Jade Emperor, Xi Wangmu, Sun Wukong, Dragon King, Nezha , Guanyin, Guan Yu, or other disincarnate or extraterrestrial entities take control of a human body,...

, which involved "the whirling of swords, violent prostrations, and chanting incantations to Taoist and Buddhist spirits."

The Boxers believed that through training, diet, martial arts, and prayer they could perform extraordinary feats, such as flight. Further, they popularly claimed that millions of spirit soldiers would descend from the heavens and assist them in purifying China of foreign influences. The Boxers consisted of local farmers/peasants and other workers who were made desperate by disastrous floods and widespread opium addiction and laid the blame on Christian missionaries, Chinese Christians, and the Europeans colonizing their country. Missionaries were protected under the policy of extraterritoriality
Extraterritoriality
Extraterritoriality is the state of being exempt from the jurisdiction of local law, usually as the result of diplomatic negotiations. Extraterritoriality can also be applied to physical places, such as military bases of foreign countries, or offices of the United Nations...

. Chinese Christians were alleged also to have filed false lawsuits. The Boxers called foreigners "Guizi
Gweilo
Gweilo or Gwailo is a common Cantonese slang term for foreigners, and has a long history of racially deprecatory use. If there is some racially deprecatory meaning or it is expressive of hate, it is shown by the addition of the adjective, sei or as a prefix: seigwailo...

" (鬼子, literally: demons), a deprecatory term, and condemned Chinese Christian converts and Chinese working for foreigners. The Boxers were only lightly armed with rifles and swords, claiming supernatural invulnerability towards blows
Chinese spirit possession
Chinese spirit possession is the paranormal/supernatural and sorcerical event in which, allegedly, when Chinese spirits, or gods such as Jade Emperor, Xi Wangmu, Sun Wukong, Dragon King, Nezha , Guanyin, Guan Yu, or other disincarnate or extraterrestrial entities take control of a human body,...

 of cannon, rifle gunshots, and knife attacks. The Boxers were typical of millennial
Millenarianism
Millenarianism is the belief by a religious, social, or political group or movement in a coming major transformation of society, after which all things will be changed, based on a one-thousand-year cycle. The term is more generically used to refer to any belief centered around 1000 year intervals...

 movements, such as the American Indian Ghost Dance
Ghost Dance
The Ghost Dance was a new religious movement which was incorporated into numerous Native American belief systems. The traditional ritual used in the Ghost Dance, the circle dance, has been used by many Native Americans since prehistoric times...

, often rising in societies under extreme stress.

Several secret societies in Shandong predated the Boxers. In 1895, Yuxian, a Manchu who was then prefect of Caozhou and would later become provincial governor, acquired the help of the Big Sword Society
Big Swords Society
The Big Swords Society was a traditional peasant self-defence group, widespread in North China during the Qing Dynasty and noted for their reckless courage...

 in fighting against bandits. Although the Big Swords had heterodox practices, they were not seen as bandits by Chinese authorities. Their efficiency in defeating banditry led to a flood of cases overwhelming the magistrates, to which the Big Swords responded by executing the bandits that were apprehended. The Big Swords relentlessly hunted the bandits, but the bandits converted to Catholic Christianity, gaining them legal immunity from prosecution and also placed them under the protection of the foreigners. The Big Swords responded by attacking bandit Catholic churches and burning them. As a result, Yuxian executed several Big Sword leaders, but did not punish anyone else. More secret societies started emerging after this.

The early years saw a variety of village activities, not a broad movement or a united purpose. Like the Red Boxing school or the Plum Flower Boxers, the Boxers of Shandong were more concerned with traditional social and moral values, such as filial piety, than with foreign influences. One leader, for instance, Zhu Hongdeng (Red Lantern Zhu), started as a wandering healer, specializing in skin ulcers, and gained wide respect by refusing payment for his treatments. Zhu claimed descent from Ming dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

  Emperors, since his surname was the surname of the Ming Imperial Family. He announced that his goal was to "Revive the Qing and destroy the foreigners" ("Fu Qing mie yang").

Causes of conflict and unrest

International tension and domestic unrest fueled the growth and spread of the Boxer movement. First, a drought followed by floods in Shandong province in 1897-1898 forced farmers to flee to cities and seek food. As one observer said, "I am convinced that a few days' heavy rainfall to terminate the long-continued drought... would do more to restore tranquility than any measures which either the Chinese government or foreign governments can take."
A major cause of Chinese discontent was the Christian missionaries, both Protestant and Catholic, who came to China in ever increasing numbers. The exemption of missionaries from various laws angered the local Chinese. On November 1, 1897 a band of twenty to thirty armed men stormed into the residence of a German missionary, George Stenz, and killed two priests who were his guests while looking for Stenz, who was sleeping in the servant's quarters. Christian villagers then came to his defense, driving off the attackers. This event was known as the Juye Incident
Juye Incident
The Juye Incident refers to the events of November 1, 1897, when a band of twenty to thirty armed men broke into a Catholic missionary compound in Juye County and killed Richard Henle and Francis Xavier Nies, two German missionaries of the Society of the Divine Word...

. When Kaiser Wilhelm II received news of these murders, he dispatched the German East Asia Squadron
German East Asia Squadron
The German East Asia Squadron was a German Navy cruiser squadron which operated mainly in the Pacific Ocean between the 1870s and 1914...

 to occupy Jiaozhou Bay
Jiaozhou Bay
The Jiaozhou Bay is a sea gulf located in Qingdao Prefecture of Shandong Province. It was a German colonial concession from 1898 until 1914....

 on the southern coast of Shandong.

In October 1898, a group of Boxers attacked the Christian community of Liyuantun village, where a temple to the Jade Emperor
Jade Emperor
The Jade Emperor in Chinese folk culture, is the ruler of Heaven and all realms of existence below including that of Man and Hell, according to a version of Taoist mythology. He is one of the most important gods of the Chinese traditional religion pantheon...

 had been converted into a Catholic church. Disputes had surrounded that church since 1869, when the temple had been granted to the Christian residents of the village. This incident marked the first time the Boxers used the slogan "Support the Qing, destroy the foreign" (扶清灭洋) that would later characterize them.

Aggression toward missionaries and Christians gained the attention of foreign (mainly European) governments. In 1899, the French Minister in Beijing helped the missionaries to obtain an edict granting official status to every order in the Roman Catholic hierarchy, enabling local priests to support their people in legal or family disputes and bypass the local officials. After the German government took over Shandong, many Chinese feared that the missionaries and quite possibly all Christians were imperialist attempts of "carving the melon," i.e., to divide and colonise China piece by piece. A Chinese official expressed the animosity towards foreigners succinctly, "Take away your missionaries and your opium and you will be welcome."

The growth of the Boxer movement coincided with the Hundred Days Reform (11 June–21 September 1898). Progressive Chinese officials, with support from Protestant missionaries, persuaded Emperor Guangxu to institute reforms, which alienated many conservative officials by their sweeping nature. Such opposition from conservative officials led the Empress Dowager to intervene and reverse the reforms. The failure of the reform movement disillusioned many educated Chinese, thus further weakened the Qing government. After the Reforms ended, the conservative Empress Dowager Cixi
Empress Dowager Cixi
Empress Dowager Cixi1 , of the Manchu Yehenara clan, was a powerful and charismatic figure who became the de facto ruler of the Manchu Qing Dynasty in China for 47 years from 1861 to her death in 1908....

 seized power and placed the reformist Guangxu Emperor
Guangxu Emperor
The Guangxu Emperor , born Zaitian of the Aisin-Gioro clan, was the eleventh emperor of the Manchurian Qing Dynasty, and the ninth Qing emperor to rule over China. His reign lasted from 1875 to 1908, but in practice he ruled, under Empress Dowager Cixi's influence, only from 1889 to 1898...

 under house arrest. The European powers were sympathetic to the imprisoned emperor, and opposed Cixi's plan to replace him.

By 1900, the great powers had already been chipping away at Chinese sovereignty for sixty years. They had forced China to import opium, thus leading to widespread addiction, defeated China in several wars, asserted a right to promote Christianity and imposed unequal treaties under which foreigners and foreign companies in China were accorded special privileges and immunities from Chinese law. By 1900, foreign powers had grabbed land and asserted unequal treaties and extraterritorial rights for their citizens in China, causing resentment and xenophobic reactions among the Chinese. France, Japan, Russia, and Germany carved out spheres of influence, so that by 1900 it appeared that China would likely be dismembered, with foreign powers each ruling a part of the country. Thus, by 1900, the Qing dynasty, which had ruled China for more than two centuries, was crumbling and Chinese culture was under assault by powerful and unfamiliar religious and secular culture.

1900: A year of disasters

In January 1900, with a majority of conservatives in the Imperial Court, the Empress Dowager changed her long policy of suppressing Boxers, and issued edicts in their defense, causing protests from foreign powers. In Spring 1900, the Boxers movement spread rapidly north from Shandong into the countryside near Beijing. Boxers burned Christian churches, killed Chinese Christians, and intimidated Chinese officials who stood in their way. American Minister Edwin H. Conger
Edwin H. Conger
Edwin Hurd Conger was an Civil War soldier, lawyer, banker, Iowa congressman, and United States diplomat. As the United States' minister to China during the Boxer Rebellion, Conger, his family, and other western diplomatic legations were under siege in Beijing until rescued by the China Relief...

 cabled Washington, “the whole country is swarming with hungry, discontented, hopeless idlers.” On May 30 the diplomats, led by British Minister Claude Maxwell MacDonald
Claude Maxwell MacDonald
Colonel Sir Claude Maxwell MacDonald GCMG GCVO KCB PC was a British diplomat, best known for his service in China and Japan.-Biography:...

, requested that foreign soldiers come to Beijing to defend the legations. The Chinese government reluctantly acquiesced, and the next day more than 400 soldiers from eight countries disembarked from warships and traveled by train to Beijing from Tianjin. They set up defensive perimeters around their respective missions.

On June 5, the railroad line to Tianjin was cut by Boxers in the countryside and Beijing was isolated. On June 13, a Japanese diplomat was murdered by the soldiers of General Dong Fuxiang
Dong Fuxiang
Dong Fuxiang , a Chinese, was born Gansu, China. He commanded an army of Chinese Muslim soldiers, which included the later Ma clique generals Ma Anliang and Ma Fuxiang. According to the Western calendar, his birth date is in 1839.- Religion :Conflicting accounts are given about his religion and...

 and that same day the first Boxer, dressed in his finery, was seen in the Legation Quarter. The German Minister, Clemens von Ketteler, and German soldiers captured a Boxer boy and inexplicably executed him. In response, thousands of Boxers burst into the walled city of Beijing that afternoon and burned many of the Christian churches and cathedrals in the city. American and British missionaries had taken refuge in the Methodist Mission and an attack there was repulsed by American Marines. The soldiers at the British Embassy and German Legations shot and killed several Boxers, alienating the Chinese population of the city and nudging the Qing government toward support of the Boxers. The Muslim Kansu braves and Boxers, along with other Chinese then attacked and killed Chinese Christians around the legations in revenge for foreign attacks on Chinese. Sometimes, the Kansu braves used swords to kill Christians, setting their homes on fire, calling them spies and agents for the foreigners in the legations.

Conflicting attitudes within the Imperial Court

On June 16 or 17, 1900, the Emperor and the Empress Dowager held a mass audience for high officials to hear their opinions of whether the strategy towards the Boxers should be to pacify them or to suppress them. In response to a high official who doubted the efficacy of the Boxers' magic, Cixi replied that, "Perhaps their magic is not to be relied upon; but can we not rely on the hearts and minds of the people? Today China is extremely weak. We have only the people's hearts and minds to depend upon. If we cast them aside and lose the people's hearts, what can we use to sustain the country?" Both sides of the debate at court realized that popular support for the Boxers in the countryside was almost universal and that suppression would be both difficult and unpopular.

The Chinese government was split into two factions, i.e., the conservatives who wished to use the Boxers to remove foreigners from China and the ones who were more moderate. Reflecting this inconsistency, some Chinese soldiers were quite liberally firing at foreigners under siege from its very onset. The Dowager Empress, however, did not personally order the Chinese Imperial troops to conduct a siege, on the contrary, she ordered them to protect the foreigners in the legations. Prince Duan led the Boxers to loot his enemies within the Imperial court and the foreigners, and in fact, when the Boxers originally were let into the city and went on a looting rampage, against both the foreign and the Chinese Imperial forces, the Imperial authority kicked them out. Old Boxers were sent outside Beijing to halt the invading foreign armies, while young Boxers were absorbed into the Muslim Kansu army.

The commander of all the forces, Ronglu, tried to negotiate for a ceasefire, but it was the foreigners who opened fire on Dong Fuxiang's army. The foreigners in the legations opened fire on Chinese officials, forces, and other people without provocation, killing numerous people, the Muslim army was forced to defend itself by returning fire. When the Chinese forces built notices and sent messengers notifying the foreigners that the Imperial Chinese forces were going to protect them, and open up communications, and to cease fire, the foreigners in the legations responded by shooting and killing the messengers and refused to make peace. It was the British minister who dragged Chinese Christians with him into the Su Wang Fu palace after removing Su Wang Fu from the palace.

The only soldiers who wanted to press a siege were Dong Fuxiang's Muslim warriors, who were allied to the anti-foreign Prince Duan, who had originally allowed the Boxers to come into the city. Ronglu directed his own forces to instead protect the foreigners in the legations, per the Dowager Empress's decree, and only fired a limited amount of ammunition and firecrackers to satisfy conservatives in the Chinese imperial court.

Siege of the Legations

The legations of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Austria-Hungary, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, the US, Russia and Japan were located in the Beijing Legation Quarter
Beijing Legation Quarter
The Peking Legation Quarter was the area in Peking where a number of foreign legations were located between 1861 and 1959. In Chinese, the area is known as Dōng jiāomín xiàng , which is the name of the hutong running through the area...

 south of the Forbidden City
Forbidden City
The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is located in the middle of Beijing, China, and now houses the Palace Museum...

. On June 19, the Empress Dowager notified the legations that the diplomats and other foreigners should depart Beijing under escort of the Chinese army within 24 hours. The next morning, The German envoy, Klemens Freiherr von Ketteler
Klemens von Ketteler
Clemens August Freiherr von Ketteler was a German career diplomat. He was killed during the Boxer Rebellion.-Family and early career:...

, was killed on the streets of Beijing by a Manchu captain. The other diplomats feared they also would be murdered if they left the legation quarter and they defied the Chinese order to leave. The legations were hurriedly fortified. Isolated legations, such as the Spanish and Belgian, and foreign businesses were abandoned. Most of the foreign civilians, which included a large number of missionaries and businessmen, took refuge in the British legation, the largest of the diplomatic compounds. Chinese Christians were primarily housed in the adjacent palace (Fu) of Prince Su who was forced to abandon his property by the foreign soldiers. On 21 June Empress Dowager Cixi declared war against all foreign powers. However, a number of regional governors including Li Hongzhang
Li Hongzhang
Li Hongzhang or Li Hung-chang , Marquis Suyi of the First Class , GCVO, was a leading statesman of the late Qing Empire...

 and Zhang Zhidong
Zhang Zhidong
Zhang Zhidong ; Pseudonyms: Xiāngtāo , Xiāngyán , Yīgōng , Wújìng-Jūshì , later Bàobīng ; Posthumous name: Wénxiāng ) was an eminent Chinese politician during the late Qing Dynasty who advocated for controlled reform...

 quietly refused to cooperate. Shanghai's Chinese elite supported the provincial governors of southeastern China in resisting the Imperial declaration of war.

The Chinese army and Boxer irregulars besieged the Legation Quarter from 20 June to 14 August 1900. A total of 473 foreign civilians, 409 soldiers from eight countries, and about 3,000 Chinese Christians took refuge there. Under the command of the British minister to China, Claude Maxwell MacDonald
Claude Maxwell MacDonald
Colonel Sir Claude Maxwell MacDonald GCMG GCVO KCB PC was a British diplomat, best known for his service in China and Japan.-Biography:...

, the legation staff and security personnel defended the compound with small arms, three machine guns, and one old muzzle-loaded cannon, which was nicknamed the International Gun because the barrel was British, the carriage Italian, the shells Russian, and the crew American. Chinese Christians in the legations led the foreigners to the cannon and it proved important in the defense. Also under siege in Beijing was the Northern Cathedral (Beitang)
Xishiku Cathedral
The Xishiku Cathedral , commonly referred to as the Beitang is a historic Catholic church in the Xicheng District, Beijing, China...

 of the Catholic Church. The Beitang was defended by 43 French and Italian soldiers, 33 Catholic foreign priests and nuns, and about 3,200 Chinese Catholics. The defenders suffered heavy casualties especially from lack of food and mines which the Chinese exploded in tunnels dug beneath the compound. The number of Chinese soldiers and Boxers ringing the Legation Quarter and the Beitang is unknown, but certainly there were many thousands.

On 22 and 23 June Chinese soldiers and Boxers set fire to areas north and west of the British Legation, using it as a "frightening tactic" to attack the defenders. The nearby Hanlin Academy
Hanlin Academy
The Hanlin Academy was an academic and administrative institution founded in the eighth century Tang dynasty China by Emperor Xuanzong.Membership in the academy was confined to an elite group of scholars, who performed secretarial and literary tasks for the court. One of its main duties was to...

, a complex of courtyards and buildings that housed "the quintessence of Chinese scholarship ... the oldest and richest library in the world," caught fire. Each side blamed the other for the destruction of the invaluable books it contained.

After the failure to burn out the foreigners, the Chinese army adopted an anaconda-like strategy. The Chinese build barricades surrounding the Legation Quarter and advanced, brick by brick, on the foreign lines, forcing the foreign soldiers to retreat a few feet at a time. This tactic was especially used in the Fu, defended by Japanese and Italian soldiers and inhabited by most of the Chinese Christians. Fusillades of bullets, artillery, and firecrackers were directed against the Legations almost every night -– but did little damage. Sniper fire took its toll among the foreign soldiers. Despite, however, their advantage in numbers the Chinese did not attempt a direct assault on the legation quarter although in the words of one of the besieged, ”it would have been easy by a strong, swift movement on the part of the numerous Chinese troops to have annihilated the whole body of foreigners... in an hour.” American missionary Frank Gamewell
Francis Dunlap Gamewell
Francis Dunlap Gamewell was a Methodist missionary in China. He was the Chief of the Fortifications Committee in the Siege of the Legations during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 and was one of the heroes of the siege.-Early life:Frank Gamewell was the son of an inventor and he inherited the aptitude...

 and his crew of “fighting parsons” played an invaluable role in fortifying the Legation Quarter. Gamewell impressed Chinese Christians to do most of the physical labor of building defenses.

The Germans and the Americans occupied perhaps the most crucial of all defensive positions: the Tartar Wall. Holding the top of the 45 feet (13.7 m) tall and 40 feet (12.2 m) wide Wall was vital. The German barricades faced east on top of the wall and 400 yd (365.8 m) west were the west facing American positions. The Chinese advanced toward both positions by building barricades ever closer. “The men all feel they are in a trap,” said the American commander, Capt. John T. Myers
John Twiggs Myers
John Twiggs Myers was a United States Marine Corps general who was most famous for his service as the American Legation Guard in Peking during the Boxer Rebellion.-Early life:...

, “and simply await the hour of execution.” On June 30, the Chinese forced the Germans off the Wall, leaving the American Marines alone in its defense. At the same time a Chinese barricade was advanced to within a few feet of the American positions and it became clear that the Americans had to abandon the wall or force the Chinese to retreat. At 2 am on July 3, 56 British, Russian, and American soldiers under the command of Myers launched an assault against the Chinese barricade on the wall. The attack caught the Chinese sleeping, killed about 20 of them, and expelled the rest of them from the barricades. The Chinese did not attempt to advance their positions on the Tartar Wall for the remainder of the siege.

Sir Claude MacDonald said July 13 was the "most harassing day" of the siege. The Japanese and Italians in the Fu were driven back to their last defense line. The Chinese detonated a mine beneath the French Legation pushing the French and Austrians out of most of the French Legation. On July 16 the most capable British officer was killed and journalist George Ernest Morrison
George Ernest Morrison
George Ernest Morrison , also known as Chinese Morrison, was an Australian adventurer and The Times Peking correspondent.-Early life:...

 was wounded. But American Minister Conger established contact with the Chinese government and on July 17 an armistice was declared by the Chinese. More than 40 percent of the legation guards were dead or wounded. The motivation of the Chinese was probably the realization that an allied force of 20,000 men had landed in China and retribution for the siege was at hand. The armistice, although occasionally broken, endured until August 13 when, with an allied army approaching Beijing to relieve the siege, the Chinese launched their heaviest fusillade on the Legation Quarter. As the foreign army approached, Chinese forces melted away. The British army reached the legation quarter on the afternoon of August 14 and relieved the Legation Quarter. The Beitang was relieved on August 16, first by Japanese soldiers and then, officially, by the French.

Generals at cross purposes

The Manchu General Ronglu
Ronglu
Ronglu was a Manchu statesman and general during the late Qing dynasty. Born into the powerful Guwalgiya clan of the Plain White Banner in the Eight Banners, he was cousin to Yehenara Lan, who later became Empress Dowager Cixi...

 concluded that it was futile to fight all of the powers simultaneously, and declined to press home the siege. The Manchu prince Zaiyi, an anti-foreign friend of Dong Fuxiang
Dong Fuxiang
Dong Fuxiang , a Chinese, was born Gansu, China. He commanded an army of Chinese Muslim soldiers, which included the later Ma clique generals Ma Anliang and Ma Fuxiang. According to the Western calendar, his birth date is in 1839.- Religion :Conflicting accounts are given about his religion and...

, wanted artillery for Dong's troops to destroy the legations. Ronglu blocked the transfer of artillery to Zaiyi and Dong, preventing them from attacking. Ronglu and Prince Qing sent food to the legations, and used their Manchu Bannermen to attack the Muslim Kansu Braves of Dong Fuxiang and the Boxers who were besieging the foreigners. They issued edicts ordering the foreigners to be protected, but the Kansu warriors ignored it, and fought against Bannermen who tried to force them away from the legations. Ronglu also deliberately hid an Imperial Decree from General Nie Shicheng. The Decree ordered him to stop fighting the Boxers because of the foreign invasion, and also because the population was suffering. Due to Ronglu's actions, General Nie continued to fight the Boxers and killed many of them even as the foreign troops were making their way into China. Ronglu also ordered Nie to protect foreigners and save the railway from the Boxers. Because parts of the Railway were saved under Ronglu's orders, the foreign invasion army was able to transport itself into China quickly. General Nie committed thousands of troops against the Boxers instead of against the foreigners. Nie was already outnumbered by the Allies by 4,000 men. General Nie was blamed for attacking the Boxers, as Ronglu let Nie take all the blame. At the Battle of Tianjin (Tientsin)
Battle of Tientsin
The Battle of Tientsin, or the Relief of Tientsin, occurred on July 13–14, 1900 during the Boxer Rebellion in Northern China. A multinational military force, representing the Eight-Nation Alliance, came to the rescue of a besieged population of foreign nationals within the city of Tientsin by...

, General Nie decided to sacrifice his life by walking into the range of Allied guns.

Massacre of missionaries and Chinese Christians

Protestant and Catholic missionaries and their Chinese converts were massacred throughout northern China, some by Boxers and others by government troops and authorities. After the declaration of war on Western powers in June 1900, Yuxian, who had been named governor of Shanxi
Shanxi
' is a province in Northern China. Its one-character abbreviation is "晋" , after the state of Jin that existed here during the Spring and Autumn Period....

 in March of that year, implemented a brutal anti-foreign and anti-Christian policy. On July 9, he executed forty-four foreigners (including women and children) from missionary families whom he had invited to the provincial capital Taiyuan
Taiyuan
Taiyuan is the capital and largest city of Shanxi province in North China. At the 2010 census, it had a total population of 4,201,591 inhabitants on 6959 km² whom 3,212,500 are urban on 1,460 km². The name of the city literally means "Great Plains", referring to the location where the Fen River...

 under the promise to protect them. Although the purported eye witness accounts of the cold blooded murders have recently been questioned, this event became a notorious symbol of Chinese madness, known as the Taiyuan Massacre
Taiyuan Massacre
The Taiyuan Massacre was one of the more bloody and infamous parts of the Boxer Rebellion. It took place on July 9, 1900, in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, North China, when the governor of Shanxi named Yuxian , or Yu-Hsien , ordered the killings of 45 Christian missionaries and of local church members,...

.

By the summer's end, more foreigners and as many as 2,000 Chinese Christians had been put to death in the province. Journalist and historical writer Nat Brandt has called the massacre of Christians in Shanxi "the greatest single tragedy in the history of Christian evangelicalism." The total number of missionaries killed was 189 Protestants, including 53 children, and 47 Catholic priests and nuns. Thirty thousand Chinese Catholics, 2,000 Chinese Protestants, and 200 to 400 of the 700 Orthodox Christians in Beijing were estimated to have been killed. Collectively the Protestant dead were called the China Martyrs of 1900
China Martyrs of 1900
The "China Martyrs of 1900" is a term used by the Protestant Christian church to refer to its members who were killed during the 1900 Boxer Rebellion, when targeted attacks took place across mainland China against Christians and foreigners.-Events:...

. The Boxers went on to murder Christians across 26 prefectures.

The Muslim Kansu braves under General Dong Fuxiang joined the Boxers in targeting Chinese Christians, going house to house to check the people's religious beliefs and to steal property. The Muslim Kansu braves killed Christians only, sparing Chinese who had altars to Chinese gods. Christians were executed by the Muslim braves with swords, the Muslims considered them traitors to China and agents of the foreigners. When the Kansu Muslims found homes that had idols to Chinese gods, proving that they were not Christian, they sat down to have tea and apologized, not harming anyone, while still stealing from their hosts of several thousands dollars worth of property. This specific rampage was set off after Clemens von Ketteler killed a Chinese boy in one of his rages. Anger against Chinese Christians set off again, and the Boxers burned down several churches, roasting some victims alive.

Evacuation of Imperial Court from Beijing to Xi'an

In the early hours of August 15, just as the Foreign Legations were being relieved, the Empress Dowager, dressed in the padded blue cotton of a farm woman, the Emperor Guangxu, and a small retinue climbed into three wooden ox carts and escaped from the city covered with rough blankets. Legend has it that the Empress Dowager then either ordered that the Emperor's favorite, the Pearl Concubine, be thrown down a well in the Forbidden City or tricked her into drowning herself. The journey was made all the more arduous by the lack of preparation, but the Empress Dowager insisted this was not a retreat, rather a "tour of inspection." After weeks of travel, the party arrived in Xi'an in Shaanxi
Shaanxi
' is a province in the central part of Mainland China, and it includes portions of the Loess Plateau on the middle reaches of the Yellow River in addition to the Qinling Mountains across the southern part of this province...

 province, beyond protective mountain passes where the foreigners could not reach, deep in Chinese Muslim territory and protected by the Kansu Braves. The foreigners were unable to pursue, and had no such orders to do so, so they decided no action should be taken.

The allied interventions and the Boxer War

Foreign navies started building up their presence along the northern China coast from the end of April 1900. Several international forces were sent to the capital, with various success, and the rebellion was ultimately quashed by the Eight-Nation Alliance
Eight-Nation Alliance
The Eight-Nation Alliance was an alliance of Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States whose military forces intervened in China to suppress the anti-foreign Boxers and relieve the siege of the diplomatic legations in Beijing .- Events :The...

 of Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary , more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in...

, France
French Third Republic
The French Third Republic was the republican government of France from 1870, when the Second French Empire collapsed due to the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, to 1940, when France was overrun by Nazi Germany during World War II, resulting in the German and Italian occupations of France...

, Germany
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

, Italy
Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946)
The Kingdom of Italy was a state forged in 1861 by the unification of Italy under the influence of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which was its legal predecessor state...

, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

.

First international force

On 31 May, before the sieges had started and upon the request of foreign embassies in Beijing, an international force of 435 navy troops from eight countries were dispatched by train from Dagu (Taku)
Taku Forts
The Dagu Forts , also called the Peiho Forts are forts located by the Hai River estuary, in Tanggu District, Tianjin municipality, in northeastern China. They are located 60 km southeast of the Tianjin urban center.-History:The first fort was built during the reign of the Ming Jiajing...

 to the capital (75 French, 75 Russian, 75 British, 60 U.S., 50 German, 40 Italian, 30 Japanese, 30 Austrian). After covering the 80 miles distance to the capital, these troops joined the legations and were able to contribute to their defense.

Seymour Expedition

As the situation worsened a second international force of 2,000 sailors and marines under the command of the British Vice-Admiral Edward Seymour
Edward Hobart Seymour
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Edward Hobart Seymour, GCB, OM, GCVO , was a Royal Navy officer who became Commander-in-Chief, China Station.- Early life :...

, the largest contingent being British, was dispatched from Dagu to Beijing on 10 June. The troops were transported by train from Dagu to Tianjin with the agreement of the Chinese government, but the railway between Tianjin and Beijing had been severed. Seymour resolved to move forward and repair the railway, or progress on foot if necessary, keeping in mind that the distance between Tianjin and Beijing was only 120 km. However, Seymour left Tianjin, and started toward Beijing, which angered the Chinese Imperial court. As a result, the Pro Boxer Manchu Prince Duan became leader of the Zongli Yamen (foreign office), replacing Prince Ching; orders were then given to Imperial army to attack the foreign forces. Confused by conflicting orders from Beijing, Chinese General Nie let Seymour's army pass by in their trains.

After leaving Tianjin, the convoy was surrounded, the railway behind and in front of them was destroyed, and they were attacked from all parts by Chinese irregulars and even Chinese governmental troops. News arrived on 18 June regarding attacks on foreign legations. Seymour decided to continue advancing, this time along the Beihe river, toward Tongzhou, 25 km from Beijing. By the 19th, they had to abandon their efforts due to progressively stiffening resistance and started to retreat southward along the river with over 200 wounded. Commandeering four civilian Chinese junk
Junk (ship)
A junk is an ancient Chinese sailing vessel design still in use today. Junks were developed during the Han Dynasty and were used as sea-going vessels as early as the 2nd century AD. They evolved in the later dynasties, and were used throughout Asia for extensive ocean voyages...

s along the river, they loaded all their wounded and remaining supplies onto them and pulled them along with ropes from the riverbanks. By this point they were very low on food, ammunition and medical supplies. Luckily, they then happened upon The Great Xigu Arsenal, a hidden Qing munitions cache of which the Allied Powers had had no knowledge until then. They immediately captured and occupied it, discovering not only German Krupp-made field guns, but rifles with millions of rounds in ammunition, along with millions of pounds of rice and ample medical supplies.

There they dug in and awaited rescue. A Chinese servant was able to infiltrate through the Boxer and Qing lines, informing the Eight Powers of their predicament. Surrounded and attacked nearly around the clock by Qing troops and Boxers, they were at the point of being overrun. On 25 June a regiment composed of 1800 men, (900 Russian troops from Port-Arthur
Lüshunkou
Lüshunkou is a district in the municipality of Dalian, Liaoning province, China. Also called Lüshun City or Lüshun Port, it was formerly known as both Port Arthur and Ryojun....

, 500 British seamen, with an ad hoc mix of other assorted Alliance troops) finally arrived. Spiking the mounted field guns and setting fire to any munitions that they could not take (an estimated £3 million worth), they departed in the early morning of 26 June, with the loss of 62 killed and 228 wounded.

Gaselee Expedition

With a difficult military situation in Tianjin and a total breakdown of communications between Tianjin and Beijing, the allied nations took steps to reinforce their military presence significantly. On 17 June they took the Dagu Forts commanding the approaches to Tianjin, and from there brought increasing numbers of troops on shore.

The international force with British Lieutenant-General Alfred Gaselee
Alfred Gaselee
Sir Alfred Gaselee, GCB, GCIE, was a soldier who reached the rank of General in the British Indian Army.-Personal life:...

 acting as the commanding officer of the Eight-Nation Alliance, eventually numbered 55,000, with the main contingent being composed of Japanese soldiers: Japanese (20,840), Russian (13,150), British (12,020), French (3,520), U.S.(3,420), German (900), Italian (80), Austro-Hungarian (75) and anti-Boxer Chinese troops. The international force finally captured Tianjin on 14 July under the command of the Japanese Colonel Kuriya, after one day of fighting.

Notable exploits during the campaign were the seizure of the Dagu Forts commanding the approaches to Tianjin, and the boarding and capture of four Chinese destroyers by Roger Keyes
Roger John Brownlow Keyes, 1st Baron Keyes
Admiral of the Fleet Roger John Brownlow Keyes, 1st Baron Keyes, Bt GCB KCVO CMG DSO RN was a noted British admiral, with an active service life that included 19th-century African anti-slavery patrols to the Allied landings in Leyte in World War II...

. Among the foreigners besieged in Tianjin was a young American mining engineer named Herbert Hoover
Herbert Hoover
Herbert Clark Hoover was the 31st President of the United States . Hoover was originally a professional mining engineer and author. As the United States Secretary of Commerce in the 1920s under Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge, he promoted partnerships between government and business...

.

The march from Tianjin to Beijing of about 120 km consisted of about 20,000 allied troops. On 4 August there were approximately 70,000 Imperial troops with anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 Boxers along the way. The allies only encountered minor resistance, fighting battles at Beicang
Battle of Beicang
The Battle of Beicang , during the Boxer Rebellion, was fought August 5, 1900 between the Eight Nation Alliance and the Chinese army. The Chinese army was forced out of its prepared entrenchments and retreated to Yangcun. The Eight-Nation Alliance army at Beicang consisted of Japanese, Russian,...

 and Yangcun
Battle of Yangcun
The Battle of Yangcun was a battle during the march of Eight-Nation Alliance forces from Tianjin to Beijing during the Boxer Rebellion. The Alliance was victorious over the Chinese forces.-Background:...

. At Yangcun the 14th Infantry Regiment of the U.S. and British troops led the assault. The weather was a major obstacle, extremely humid with temperatures sometimes reaching 110 °F (43.3 °C).
The international force reached and occupied Beijing on August, 14. All the nationalities in the international force raced to be the first to liberate the besieged Legation Quarter with the British winning the race. The U.S. was able to play a minor role in suppressing the Boxer Rebellion due to the presence of U.S. ships and troops deployed in the Philippines, which had been stationed there since the U.S. conquest of the Philippines during the Spanish American War and the subsequent Philippine Insurrection. In the U.S. military the suppression of the Boxer Rebellion was known as the China Relief Expedition
China Relief Expedition
The China Relief Expedition was the name of an expedition in China undertaken by the United States Armed Forces to the rescue of United States citizens, European nationals, and other foreign nationals during the latter years of the Boxer Rebellion, which lasted from between 1898 and 1901...

. American soldiers scaling the walls of Beijing is an iconic image of the Boxer Rebellion.

Russian invasion of Manchuria

The Russian Empire and the Qing Empire had maintained a long peace, starting with the Treaty of Nerchinsk
Treaty of Nerchinsk
The Treaty of Nerchinsk of 1689 was the first treaty between Russia and China. The Russians gave up the area north of the Amur River as far as the Stanovoy Mountains and kept the area between the Argun River and Lake Baikal. This border along the Argun River and Stanovoy Mountains lasted until...

 in 1689, but Czarist forces took advantage of Chinese defeats to impose the Aigun Treaty of 1858 and the Treaty of Peking of 1860 which ceded territory in Manchuria much of which is held by Russia to the present day. The Russians aimed for control over Amur River for navigation, and the all weather ports of Dairen and Port Arthur in the Liaodong peninsula. The rise of Japan as an Asian power provoked Moscow's anxiety, especially in light of expanding Japanese influence in Korea. Following Japan's victory in the First Sino-Japanese War
First Sino-Japanese War
The First Sino-Japanese War was fought between Qing Dynasty China and Meiji Japan, primarily over control of Korea...

 of 1895, the Triple Intervention
Triple Intervention
The was a diplomatic intervention by Russia, Germany, and France on 23 April 1895 over the terms of the Treaty of Shimonoseki signed between Japan and Qing dynasty China that ended the First Sino-Japanese War.-Treaty of Shimonoseki:...

 of Russia and France forced Japan to return the territory won in Liaodong, leading to a de facto Sino-Russian alliance.

Local Chinese in Manchuria were incensed at these Russian advances and began to harass Russians and Russian institutions, such as the Chinese Eastern Railway
Chinese Eastern Railway
The Chinese Eastern Railway or was a railway in northeastern China . It connected Chita and the Russian Far East. English-speakers have sometimes referred to this line as the Manchurian Railway...

. In June, 1900, Chinese bombarded the town of Blagoveshchensk
Blagoveshchensk
Blagoveshchensk is a city and the administrative center of Amur Oblast, Russia. Population: -Early history of the region:The early residents of both sides of the Amur in the region of today's Blagoveshchensk were the Daurs and Duchers...

 on the Russian side of the Amur, and in retaliation Russians massacred several thousand Chinese and Manchus in that town. The Czar's government used the pretext of Boxer activity to move some 200,000 troops into the area, to crush Boxers. Chinese used arson to destroy a bridge carrying a railway and a barracks in 27 July. Boxers destroyed railways and cut lines for telegraphs
Boxers attacks on Chinese Eastern Railway
The Boxers attacks on Chinese Eastern Railway was a battle where Chinese Imperial Army and Boxer forces battled against the invading Russian army in the Boxer Rebellion, destroying the Manchurian railroads to hamper the invasion forces.-Battle:...

, and burned the Yantai mines. In battles on the Amur river
Battles on Amur River (1900)
The Battles on the Amur River were border clashes between Chinese Imperial Army troops along with Boxers against Russian forces. They were part of the Boxer Rebellion.- Battles :The Russians aimed for control over Amur River for navigation....

, Westerner newspapers reported that the Chinese forces treated Russian civilians leniently and allowed them to escape to Russia, even notifying that they should leave the war zone. By contrast, Russian Cossacks brutally killed civilians who tried to flee in the Chinese villages. In revenge for the attacks on Chinese villages, Boxer troops burned Russian towns and almost annihilated a Russian force at Tieling
Tieling
Tieling is a prefecture-level city in Liaoning province of the People's Republic of China.The population is 3 million at the 2nd of 2004. Tieling is a city where coal mining is an important industry.The mayor of Tieling is Li Wenke...

. Russian forces quickly dispatched both Boxers and Chinese Imperial troops.

By September 21, Russian troops took Jilin
Jilin
Jilin , is a province of the People's Republic of China located in the northeastern part of the country. Jilin borders North Korea and Russia to the east, Heilongjiang to the north, Liaoning to the south, and Inner Mongolia to the west...

 in Shandong, and by the end of the month completely occupied Manchuria, where their presence was a major factor leading to the Russo-Japanese War
Russo-Japanese War
The Russo-Japanese War was "the first great war of the 20th century." It grew out of rival imperial ambitions of the Russian Empire and Japanese Empire over Manchuria and Korea...

.

Occupation, looting, and atrocities

Beijing, Tianjin, and other cities in northern China were occupied for more than one year by the international expeditionary force under the command of German General Alfred Graf von Waldersee. The German force arrived too late to take part in the fighting, but undertook several punitive expeditions to the countryside against the Boxers. Although atrocities by foreign troops were common, German troops in particular were criticized for their enthusiasm in carrying out Kaiser Wilhelm II’s words. On 27 July 1900 when Wilhelm II spoke during departure ceremonies for the German contingent to the relief force in China, an impromptu, but intemperate reference to the Hun invaders of continental Europe would later be resurrected by British propaganda to mock Germany during World War I and World War II.
Should you encounter the enemy, he will be defeated! No quarter will be given! Prisoners will not be taken! Whoever falls into your hands is forfeited. Just as a thousand years ago the Huns under their King Attila made a name for themselves, one that even today makes them seem mighty in history and legend, may the name German be affirmed by you in such a way in China that no Chinese will ever again dare to look cross-eyed at a German.


The Germans were not the only offenders. On behalf of Chinese Catholics, French troops ravaged the countryside around Beijing to collect indemnities—and on one occasion arresting American missionary William Scott Ament
William Scott Ament
William Scott Ament was a missionary to China for the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions from 1877, and was known as the "Father of Christian Endeavor in China." Ament became prominent as a result of his heroism during the Boxer Uprising and controversial...

 who beat them to the punch in gathering wealth from some villages. Nor were the soldiers of other nationalities any better behaved. "The Russian soldiers are ravishing the women and committing horrible atrocities" in the sector of Beijing they occupied. The Japanese were noted for their skill in beheading Boxers or people suspected of being Boxers. General Chaffee commented, "It is safe to say that where one real Boxer has been killed... fifty harmless coolies or laborers on the farms, including not a few women and children, have been slain."

The intermediate aftermath of the siege in Beijing was what one newspaper called a "carnival of loot," and others called "an orgy of looting" by soldiers, civilians, and missionaries. These characterizations called to mind the sacking of the Summer Palace in 1860. Each nationality in the expeditionary force accused the other of being the worst looters. An American diplomat, Herbert G. Squiers
Herbert G. Squiers
Herbert Goldsmith Squiers was a United States diplomat, serving as Minister to Cuba , and Panama and as well as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army.-Biography:...

, filled several railroad cars with loot. The British Legation held loot auctions every afternoon and proclaimed, "looting on the part of British troops was carried out in the most orderly manner." The Catholic Beitang
Beitang
Beitang , formerly also known as Pei-t'ang and Pehtang , is a subdistrict of Tanggu District, Tianjin, China, located near the mouth of the Hai He....

 or North Cathedral was a "salesroom for stolen property."
The American commander General Adna Chaffee
Adna Chaffee
Adna Romanza Chaffee was a General in the United States Army. Chaffee took part in the American Civil War and Indian Wars, played a key role in the Spanish-American War, and was instrumental in crushing the Boxer Rebellion in China...

 banned looting by American soldiers, but the ban was ineffectual.

The missionaries were the most condemned. Mark Twain
Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens , better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist...

 reflected American outrage against looting and imperialism in his essay, "To the Person Sitting in Darkness". American Board
American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions
The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions was the first American Christian foreign mission agency. It was proposed in 1810 by recent graduates of Williams College and officially chartered in 1812. In 1961 it merged with other societies to form the United Church Board for World...

 Missionary Ament was his target. To provide restitution to missionaries and Chinese Christian families whose property had been destroyed, Ament guided American troops through villages to punish Boxers and confiscate their property. When Mark Twain read of this expedition, he wrote a scathing attack on the "Reverend bandits of the American Board." Ament was one of the most respected and courageous missionaries in China and the controversy between him and Mark Twain was front page news during much of 1901. Ament's counterpart on the distaff side was doughty British missionary Georgina Smith who presided over a neighborhood in Beijing as judge and jury.

It was reported that Japanese troops were astonished by other Alliance troops raping civilians. Thousands of Chinese women committed suicide. The Daily Telegraph journalist Dr. Dillon stated it was to avoid rape by Alliance forces, and he witnessed the mutilated corpses of Chinese women who were raped and killed by the Alliance troops. Japanese officers had brought along Japanese prostitutes to stop their troops from raping Chinese civilians. A foreign journalist, George Lynch, said "there are things that I must not write, and that may not be printed in England, which would seem to show that this Western civilization of ours is merely a veneer over savagery." All of the nationalities engaged in looting. Russian and French behavior was particularly appalling. The French commander dismissed the rapes, attributing them to "gallantry of the French soldier".

The Russian writer Leo Tolstoy
Leo Tolstoy
Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy was a Russian writer who primarily wrote novels and short stories. Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays. His two most famous works, the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, are acknowledged as two of the greatest novels of all time and a pinnacle of realist...

 praised the Boxers. He was harshly critical of the atrocities he heard reports of being committed by the Russians and other western troops. He accused them of engaging in slaughter when he heard reports about the lootings, rapes, and murders, in what he saw as Christian brutality. He accused Nicholas II of Russia and Wilhelm II of Germany of being chiefly responsible.

Reparations

The Qing dynasty was by no means defeated when the Allies took control of Beijing, forcing the Allies to temper their demands, conceding that China would not have to give up any territory. Many of the Dowager Empress's advisers insisted that the war be carried on, arguing that China could have defeated the foreigners since it was disloyal and traitorous people within China who allowed Beijing and Tianjin to be captured by the Allies, and the interior of China was impenetrable. They also recommended that Dong Fuxiang continue fighting. The Dowager was practical, however, and decided that the terms were generous enough for her to acquiesce when she was assured of her continued reign after the war.

On 7 September 1901, the Qing court agreed to sign the "Boxer Protocol
Boxer Protocol
The Boxer Protocol was signed on September 7, 1901 between the Qing Empire of China and the Eight-Nation Alliance that had provided military forces plus Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands after China's defeat in the intervention to put down the Boxer Rebellion at the hands of the...

" also known as Peace Agreement between the Eight-Nation Alliance and China. The protocol ordered the execution of 10 high-ranking officials linked to the outbreak and other officials who were found guilty for the slaughter of foreigners in China. The British signatory of the Protocol was Sir Ernest Satow.
Share of reparations
Country Share %
Russia 30.00
Germany 20.00
France 15.75
Britain 11.25
Japan 7.70
US 7.00


China was fined war reparations
War reparations
War reparations are payments intended to cover damage or injury during a war. Generally, the term war reparations refers to money or goods changing hands, rather than such property transfers as the annexation of land.- History :...

 of 450,000,000 tael
Tael
Tael can refer to any one of several weight measures of the Far East. Most commonly, it refers to the Chinese tael, a part of the Chinese system of weights and currency....

s of fine silver (1 tael = 1.2 troy ounces) for the loss that it caused. The reparation was to be paid within 39 years, and would be 982,238,150 taels with interest (4 percent per year) included. To help meet the payment it was agreed to increase the existing tariff from an actual 3.18 percent to 5 percent, and to tax hitherto duty-free merchandise. The sum of reparation was estimated by the Chinese population (roughly 450 million in 1900), to let each Chinese pay one tael. Chinese custom income and salt tax were enlisted as guarantee of the reparation. China paid 668,661,220 taels of silver from 1901 to 1939, equivalent in 2010 to ~US$61 billion on a purchasing power parity basis (see Tael).
A large portion of the reparations paid to the United States was diverted to pay for the education of Chinese students in U.S. universities under the Boxer Indemnity Scholarship Program. To prepare the students chosen for this program an institute was established to teach the English language and to serve as a preparatory school. When the first of these students returned to China they undertook the teaching of subsequent students; from this institute was born Tsinghua University
Tsinghua University
Tsinghua University , colloquially known in Chinese as Qinghua, is a university in Beijing, China. The school is one of the nine universities of the C9 League. It was established in 1911 under the name "Tsinghua Xuetang" or "Tsinghua College" and was renamed the "Tsinghua School" one year later...

. Some of the reparation due to Britain was later earmarked for a similar program.

The China Inland Mission
China Inland Mission
OMF International is an interdenominational Protestant Christian missionary society, founded in Britain by Hudson Taylor on 25 June 1865.-Overview:...

 lost more members than any other missionary agency:
58 adults and 21 children were killed. However, in 1901, when the allied nations were demanding compensation from the Chinese government, Hudson Taylor
Hudson Taylor
James Hudson Taylor , was a British Protestant Christian missionary to China, and founder of the China Inland Mission . Taylor spent 51 years in China...

 refused to accept payment for loss of property or life in order to demonstrate the meekness and gentleness of Christ to the Chinese.

The French Catholic vicar apostolic, Msgr. Alfons Bermyn wanted foreign troops garrisoned in inner Mongolia, but the Governor refused. Bermyn petitioned the Manchu Enming to send troops to Hetao
Hetao
Hetao is a region in the upper reaches of the Yellow River in Northwestern China. It includes plains and plateaus on both sides of the river....

 where Prince Duan's Mongol troops and General Dong Fuxiang's Muslim troops allegedly threatened Catholics. It turned at that Bermyn had created the incident as a hoax.

The Qing did not capitulate to all the foreign demands. The Manchu Governor Yuxian was executed, but the Imperial court refused to execute the Chinese General Dong Fuxiang, although both had encouraged the killing of foreigners during the rebellion. Instead, Dong Fuxiang lived a life of luxury and power in "exile" in his home province of Gansu. In addition to sparing Dong Fuxiang, the Qing also refused to exile the Boxer supporter Prince Duan to Xinjiang, as the Allies demanded. Instead, he moved to Alashan, west of Ningxia
Ningxia
Ningxia, formerly transliterated as Ningsia, is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. Located in Northwest China, on the Loess Plateau, the Yellow River flows through this vast area of land. The Great Wall of China runs along its northeastern boundary...

, and lived in Wangyeh Fu, where the local Mongol Prince lived. He then moved to Ningxia during the Xinhai Revolution
Xinhai Revolution
The Xinhai Revolution or Hsinhai Revolution, also known as Revolution of 1911 or the Chinese Revolution, was a revolution that overthrew China's last imperial dynasty, the Qing , and established the Republic of China...

 when the Muslims took control of Ningxia, and finally, moved to Xinjiang with Sheng Yun.

Long-term consequences

The great powers stopped short of finally colonizing China. From the Boxer rebellions, they learned that the best way to govern China was through the Chinese dynasty, instead of direct dealing with the Chinese people (as a saying “The people are afraid of officials, the officials are afraid of foreigners, and the foreigners are afraid of the people" (老百姓怕官,官怕洋鬼子,洋鬼子怕老百姓). Cixi used Boxers to fight foreigners largely because foreigners sympathized with China's rightful monarch, the Guangxu Emperor
Guangxu Emperor
The Guangxu Emperor , born Zaitian of the Aisin-Gioro clan, was the eleventh emperor of the Manchurian Qing Dynasty, and the ninth Qing emperor to rule over China. His reign lasted from 1875 to 1908, but in practice he ruled, under Empress Dowager Cixi's influence, only from 1889 to 1898...

, who Cixi had placed under house arrest after suppressing his efforts to modernize China
Hundred Days' Reform
The Hundred Days' Reform was a failed 104-day national cultural, political and educational reform movement from 11 June to 21 September 1898 in late Qing Dynasty China. It was undertaken by the young Guangxu Emperor and his reform-minded supporters...

. Eventually, as an unwritten agreement, Cixi was allowed to stay in power. The Guangxu Emperor spent the rest of his life under house arrest before being poisoned in 1908, likely under the orders of Cixi.
In October 1900 Russia was busy occupying much of the northeastern province of Manchuria, a move which threatened Anglo-American
Anglo-American relations
British–American relations encompass many complex relations over the span of four centuries, beginning in 1607 with England's first permanent colony in North America called Jamestown, to the present day, between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of...

 hopes of maintaining what remained of China's territorial integrity and an openness to commerce under the Open Door Policy
Open Door Policy
The Open Door Policy is a concept in foreign affairs, which usually refers to the policy in 1899 allowing multiple Imperial powers access to China, with none of them in control of that country. As a theory, the Open Door Policy originates with British commercial practice, as was reflected in...

. This behavior led ultimately to the Russo-Japanese War
Russo-Japanese War
The Russo-Japanese War was "the first great war of the 20th century." It grew out of rival imperial ambitions of the Russian Empire and Japanese Empire over Manchuria and Korea...

, where Russia was defeated at the hands of an increasingly confident Japan.

Among the Imperial powers, Japan gained prestige due to its military aid in suppressing the Boxer Rebellion and was now seen as a power. Its clash with Russia over Liaodong and other provinces in eastern Manchuria, long considered by the Japanese as part of their sphere of influence
Sphere of influence
In the field of international relations, a sphere of influence is a spatial region or conceptual division over which a state or organization has significant cultural, economic, military or political influence....

, led to the Russo-Japanese War when two years of negotiations broke down in February 1904. The Russian Lease of the Liaodong (1898) was confirmed.

Besides the compensation, Empress Dowager Cixi
Empress Dowager Cixi
Empress Dowager Cixi1 , of the Manchu Yehenara clan, was a powerful and charismatic figure who became the de facto ruler of the Manchu Qing Dynasty in China for 47 years from 1861 to her death in 1908....

 reluctantly started some reformations despite her previous view. The imperial examination
Imperial examination
The Imperial examination was an examination system in Imperial China designed to select the best administrative officials for the state's bureaucracy. This system had a huge influence on both society and culture in Imperial China and was directly responsible for the creation of a class of...

 system for government service was eliminated; as a result, the classical system of education
Chinese classic texts
Chinese classic texts, or Chinese canonical texts, today often refer to the pre-Qin Chinese texts, especially the Neo-Confucian titles of Four Books and Five Classics , a selection of short books and chapters from the voluminous collection called the Thirteen Classics. All of these pre-Qin texts...

 was replaced with a European liberal system
Liberal arts
The term liberal arts refers to those subjects which in classical antiquity were considered essential for a free citizen to study. Grammar, Rhetoric and Logic were the core liberal arts. In medieval times these subjects were extended to include mathematics, geometry, music and astronomy...

 that led to a university degree. After the death of Empress Dowager Cixi and the Guangxu Emperor
Guangxu Emperor
The Guangxu Emperor , born Zaitian of the Aisin-Gioro clan, was the eleventh emperor of the Manchurian Qing Dynasty, and the ninth Qing emperor to rule over China. His reign lasted from 1875 to 1908, but in practice he ruled, under Empress Dowager Cixi's influence, only from 1889 to 1898...

 (on the same day, mysteriously) in 1908, the regent (Guangxu Emperor's brother) launched reformation. However, these efforts seemed to be too late. The revolutionaries within Han Chinese could not wait. The imperial government's humiliating failure to defend China against the foreign powers contributed to the growth of nationalist resentment against the "foreigner" Qing dynasty (who were descendants of the Manchu conquerors of China). Consequently, the Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

, weakened by the war and the 1911 revolution, led by Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen was a Chinese doctor, revolutionary and political leader. As the foremost pioneer of Nationalist China, Sun is frequently referred to as the "Father of the Nation" , a view agreed upon by both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China...

, became the last dynasty in Chinese history.

The effect on China was a weakening of the dynasty as well as a weakened national defense. The structure was temporarily sustained by the Europeans. Behind the international conflict, it further internally deepened the ideological differences between northern-Chinese anti-foreign royalists and southern-Chinese anti-Qing revolutionists. This scenario in the last Chinese dynasty gradually escalated to a chaotic warlord era
Warlord era
The Chinese Warlord Era was the period in the history of the Republic of China, from 1916 to 1928, when the country was divided among military cliques, a division that continued until the fall of the Nationalist government in the mainland China regions of Sichuan, Shanxi, Qinghai, Ningxia,...

 in which the most powerful northern warlords were hostile towards the first Chinese republic in the south until the 1930s when the Chinese communists and Japanese imperialists became the greatest threats to the republic and the northern warlords respectively. Before the ultimate defeat of the Boxer Rebellion, all anti-Qing movements in the previous century such as the Taiping Rebellion
Taiping Rebellion
The Taiping Rebellion was a widespread civil war in southern China from 1850 to 1864, led by heterodox Christian convert Hong Xiuquan, who, having received visions, maintained that he was the younger brother of Jesus Christ, against the ruling Manchu-led Qing Dynasty...

 were successfully suppressed by the Qing and her foreign collaborators.

Historian Walter LaFeber
Walter LaFeber
Walter LaFeber was a Marie Underhill Noll Professor of History and a Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow in the Department of History at Cornell University...

 has argued that President William McKinley
William McKinley
William McKinley, Jr. was the 25th President of the United States . He is best known for winning fiercely fought elections, while supporting the gold standard and high tariffs; he succeeded in forging a Republican coalition that for the most part dominated national politics until the 1930s...

's decision to send 5,000 American troops to quell the rebellion marks "the origins of modern presidential war powers":


McKinley took a historic step in creating a new, twentieth-century presidential power. He dispatched the five thousand troops without consulting Congress, let alone obtaining a declaration of war, to fight the Boxers who were supported by the Chinese government ... Presidents had previously used such force against non-governmental groups that threatened U.S. interests and citizens. It was now used, however, against recognized governments, and without obeying the Constitution's provisions about who was to declare war
War Powers Clause
Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the United States Constitution, sometimes referred to as the War Powers Clause, vests in the Congress the power to declare war, in the following wording:...

.


Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. concurred, writing that:


The intervention in China marked the start of a crucial shift in the presidential employment of armed force overseas. In the nineteenth century, military force committed without congressional authorization had been typically used against nongovernmental organizations. Now it was beginning to be used against sovereign states, and, in the case of Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

, with less consultation than ever.

Boxers

The Boxers themselves used modern weaponry, such as Krupp artillery and rifles. Their dislike of foreigners only extended to everything unrelated to weaponry. The Boxers attacked both the Qing Imperial Army under General Nie, and the foreign Allied Powers. They used sabotage tactics like razing railroads and telegraph lines in order to deny the Alliance forces any means of transport and communication. Dong Fuxiang, a Chinese Muslim general (see below) who supported the Boxers, was a sworn brother to Li Laizhong, another Boxer supporter and xenophobe, who commanded Boxers from Shanxi
Shanxi
' is a province in Northern China. Its one-character abbreviation is "晋" , after the state of Jin that existed here during the Spring and Autumn Period....

.

The Imperial Army

Equipment and tactics

Following the defeat of Beiyang army during the humiliating First Sino-Japanese War, the Chinese government invested heavily in modernizing the imperial army, which was equipped with modern Mauser
Mauser
Mauser was a German arms manufacturer of a line of bolt-action rifles and pistols from the 1870s to 1995. Mauser designs were built for the German armed forces...

 repeater rifles and Krupp
Krupp
The Krupp family , a prominent 400-year-old German dynasty from Essen, have become famous for their steel production and for their manufacture of ammunition and armaments. The family business, known as Friedrich Krupp AG Hoesch-Krupp, was the largest company in Europe at the beginning of the 20th...

 Artillery. Mining, engineering, flooding, and simultaneous multiple attacks were employed by Chinese troops. The Chinese also employed pincer movements, ambushes, and sniper tactics with some success against the foreigners. Two brand new German destroyers were deployed along the Dagu Forts recently completed by German engineers. Yet, neither the European-style modern weapons nor the new forts could compensate for the lack of training of the soldiers and the backwardness of the Chinese military tactics of the officers. It was the inability to integrate the new Western style weapons and lack of training effectively that prevented the capture of the besieged European consulate in Beijing, and the repulsion of the foreign invading armies.

During the war, Imperial Chinese forces deployed a weapon called "electric mine
Naval mine
A naval mine is a self-contained explosive device placed in water to destroy surface ships or submarines. Unlike depth charges, mines are deposited and left to wait until they are triggered by the approach of, or contact with, an enemy vessel...

s" on June 15, at the river Beihe
Beihe
Beihe is a township-level division situated in Baoding, Hebei, China....

 (Peiho) before the Battle of Dagu Forts (1900), to prevent the Eight-Nation Alliance
Eight-Nation Alliance
The Eight-Nation Alliance was an alliance of Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States whose military forces intervened in China to suppress the anti-foreign Boxers and relieve the siege of the diplomatic legations in Beijing .- Events :The...

 from sending ships to attack. This was reported by American military intelligence in the United States. War Dept. by the United States. Adjutant-General's Office. Military Information Division.

Leaders

Zaiyi was not just an ordinary prince, he was a member of the imperial Aisin Gioro
Aisin Gioro
Aisin Gioro was the family name of the Manchu emperors of the Qing Dynasty. The House of Aisin Gioro ruled China until the Xinhai Revolution of 1911, which established a republican government in its place. The word aisin means gold in the Manchu language, and "gioro" is the name of the place in...

 clan, a blood relative of the imperial family (foreigners called him a "Blood Royal"), therefore, his son was his line for the throne. He became the effective leader of the Boxers, and he was extremely anti foreign like his friend Dong Fuxiang, and wanted to expel them from China. The Manchu General Ronglu
Ronglu
Ronglu was a Manchu statesman and general during the late Qing dynasty. Born into the powerful Guwalgiya clan of the Plain White Banner in the Eight Banners, he was cousin to Yehenara Lan, who later became Empress Dowager Cixi...

, on the other hand, was not a blood relative of the Imperial Aisin Gioro Clan, only being related by marriage to the Imperial Family, and he tried to sabotage Zaiyi and Dong Fuxiang. Prince Qing, a Prince, was considered pro foreign and led his bannermen accordingly to attack Prince Duan's forces.

Muslim Kansu Braves

A unit of 10,000 Hui
Hui people
The Hui people are an ethnic group in China, defined as Chinese speaking people descended from foreign Muslims. They are typically distinguished by their practice of Islam, however some also practice other religions, and many are direct descendants of Silk Road travelers.In modern People's...

 Muslims from Gansu
Gansu
' is a province located in the northwest of the People's Republic of China.It lies between the Tibetan and Huangtu plateaus, and borders Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, and Ningxia to the north, Xinjiang and Qinghai to the west, Sichuan to the south, and Shaanxi to the east...

 province under the command of the Chinese Muslim General Dong Fuxiang
Dong Fuxiang
Dong Fuxiang , a Chinese, was born Gansu, China. He commanded an army of Chinese Muslim soldiers, which included the later Ma clique generals Ma Anliang and Ma Fuxiang. According to the Western calendar, his birth date is in 1839.- Religion :Conflicting accounts are given about his religion and...

 had been stationed with the rest of the imperial army at Beijing since 1898. They were known as the "Kansu (Gansu) Braves". Dong was extremely anti-foreign, and gave full support to Cixi and the Boxers. General Dong committed his Muslim troops to join the Boxers to attack the Eight-Nation Alliance. They were put into the rear division, and attacked the legations relentlessly. Foreigners referred to them as the "10,000 Islamic rabble". Casualties suffered by the Alliance at the hands of the Muslim troops were high enough that the United States Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

, which was tasked with guarding U.S. embassies, as it is today, was involved. A Japanese chancellor, Sugiyama Akira, and several other foreigners, were shot to death by the Muslim warriors.

Dong refused to use foreign uniforms and musical instruments for his band, instead, his Muslim troops wore Chinese military uniform and played Chinese instruments. However, he armed his troops with modern foreign weapons like Krupp Artillery and Mauser rifles. The Muslim troops had threatened the foreign Legations after the Hundred Days Reform ended in September 1898. The Islamic troops were organized into eight battalions of infantry, two squadrons of cavalry, two brigades of artillery, and one company of engineers. In contrast to the Manchu and other Chinese soldiers who used arrows and bows, the Kansu cavalry had the newest carbine rifles. The Muslims were mostly cavalry, wearing black turbans, waving scarlet and black banners, with Mauser rifles.

The Boxers were ordered by the Imperial court to take commands from Dong Fuxiang and the Muslim Gansu troops. General Dong and Manchu Prince Duan were linked through Prince Duan's father, Prince Dun, who reached an agreement with Dong in 1869. Dong Fuxiang's 5,000 troops, including Muslim General Ma Fuxiang
Ma Fuxiang
Ma Fuxiang . Ma, a Dongxiang muslim leader, had a military and political career which spanned the Qing dynasty through the early Republic of China and illustrated the power of family, the role of religious affiliations, and the interaction of Inner Asian China and the national government of...

, posted in southern Beijing at Hunting Park, attacked and defeated the Eight Nation Alliance led by the British Admiral Seymour at the Battle of Langfang
Battle of Langfang
The Seymour Expedition, also known as the First Intervention, was an attempt by a multi-national military force to march to Beijing and protect the diplomatic legations and foreign nationals in the city from attacks by Boxers in 1900...

 on June 18. The Chinese won a major victory, and forced Seymour to retreat back to Tianjin by June 26, and Seymour's Alliance army suffered heavy casualties. As the allied European army retreated from Langfang, they were constantly fired upon by cavalry, and artillery bombarded their positions. It was reported that the Chinese artillery was superior to the European artillery, since the Europeans did not bother to bring along much for the campaign, thinking they could easily sweep through Chinese resistance. The Europeans could not locate the Chinese artillery, which was raining shells upon their positions. General Ronglu
Ronglu
Ronglu was a Manchu statesman and general during the late Qing dynasty. Born into the powerful Guwalgiya clan of the Plain White Banner in the Eight Banners, he was cousin to Yehenara Lan, who later became Empress Dowager Cixi...

, who was supervising Dong Fuxiang's attack on the Legations, forced Dong to pull back from completing the siege and destroying the legations, thereby saving the foreigners and making diplomatic concessions. Six thousand of the Muslim troops under Dong Fuxiang and 20,000 Boxers repulsed a relief column, driving them to Huang Cun. The Muslims made camp outside the temples of Heaven and Agriculture.

The German Kaiser
Kaiser
Kaiser is the German title meaning "Emperor", with Kaiserin being the female equivalent, "Empress". Like the Russian Czar it is directly derived from the Latin Emperors' title of Caesar, which in turn is derived from the personal name of a branch of the gens Julia, to which Gaius Julius Caesar,...

 Wilhelm II was so alarmed by the Chinese Muslim troops that he requested the Caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

 Abdul Hamid II
Abdul Hamid II
His Imperial Majesty, The Sultan Abdülhamid II, Emperor of the Ottomans, Caliph of the Faithful was the 34th sultan of the Ottoman Empire...

 of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 to find a way to stop the Muslim troops from fighting. He agreed to the Kaiser's demands and sent Enver Pasha to China in 1901, but the rebellion was over by that time.
The Muslim Kansu Braves escorted the imperial family to Xi'an when they decided to flee. One of the officers, Ma Fuxiang
Ma Fuxiang
Ma Fuxiang . Ma, a Dongxiang muslim leader, had a military and political career which spanned the Qing dynasty through the early Republic of China and illustrated the power of family, the role of religious affiliations, and the interaction of Inner Asian China and the national government of...

, was rewarded by the Emperor, being appointed governor of Altay
Altay Prefecture
Altay Prefecture is located in northern Xinjiang, China. It has an area of 118,015 km² and a population of 561,667 . It is a part of Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture...

 for his service. His brother, Ma Fulu
Ma Fulu
Ma Fulu , a Hui, was the son of General Ma Qianling, and the brother of Ma Fucai, Ma Fushou, and Ma Fuxiang. He joined the martial arts hall and attended military school. In 1895, he served under general Dong Fuxiang, leading loyalist Chinese Muslims to crush a revolt by rebel Chinese Muslims and...

 and four of his cousins died in combat during the attack on the legations. Ma Fuxing
Ma Fuxing
Ma Fuxing was a Hui born in Yunnan, in Qing dynasty China. He was an ex-convict. During Yang Zengxin's reign in Xinjiang, Ma was appointed as a military commander, and then Titai of Kashgar....

 also served under Ma Fulu to guard the Qing Imperial court during the fighting. The imperial government refused to punish General Dong when the foreigners demanded his execution. Upon General Dong's death in 1908, all honors which had been stripped from him were restored and he was given a full military burial.

General Dong Fuxiang took part in a number of battles, including Cai Cun (Ts'ai Ts'un) 24 July, Hexiwu (Ho Hsi Wu) 25 July,
Anping (An P'ing)26 July, and Matou (Ma T'ou) 27 July.

Another General, Ma Yugun, who commanded a separate unit, was believed to be the son of the Muslim General Ma Rulong
Ma Rulong
Ma Rulung was a Chinese Muslim who originally rebelled against the Qing dynasty along with Du Wenxiu in the Panthay Rebellion. He later defected to the Qing side. After officially surrendering in 1862 his forces effectively occupied the capital of Yunnan. He then helped the Qing forces crush his...

 by the Europeans. Ma Yugun fought with some success against Japan in the First Sino-Japanese War
First Sino-Japanese War
The First Sino-Japanese War was fought between Qing Dynasty China and Meiji Japan, primarily over control of Korea...

 and in the Boxer Rebellion at the Battle of Yangcun
Battle of Yangcun
The Battle of Yangcun was a battle during the march of Eight-Nation Alliance forces from Tianjin to Beijing during the Boxer Rebellion. The Alliance was victorious over the Chinese forces.-Background:...

 and Battle of Tientsin
Battle of Tientsin
The Battle of Tientsin, or the Relief of Tientsin, occurred on July 13–14, 1900 during the Boxer Rebellion in Northern China. A multinational military force, representing the Eight-Nation Alliance, came to the rescue of a besieged population of foreign nationals within the city of Tientsin by...

. Ma Yugun was under General Song Qing's command as deputy commander.

Han troops

The Han Chinese Imperial army forces were led by Generals Nie Shicheng, Ma Yukun, and Song Qing. Some of the Chinese Imperial army forces fought the Boxers and the Alliance forces at the same time. General Nie's army was one of these. The Boxers and General Nie's army both beat the Alliance army under Seymour.

Manchu Bannermen

Several Manchu princes such as Prince Qing declined to join the attack on the legations and even ordered their own Manchu Bannermen to attack the Boxers and the Muslim Kansu braves. Other Manchu banners, especially the Three modernized divisions, joined the Kansu Braves and Boxers in attacking the foreigners. They were totally smashed at the end of the war and left only the Muslim Kansu Braves to guard the Imperial court. Among the Manchu dead was the father of the writer Lao She
Lao She
Shu Qingchun , better known by his pen name Lao She was a notable Chinese writer. A novelist and dramatist, he was one of the most significant figures of 20th century Chinese literature, and is perhaps best known for his novel Rickshaw Boy and the play Teahouse . He was of Manchu ethnicity...

. Prince Duan commanded his own Manchu Bannermen division, Hushenying
Hushenying
The Hushenying were a unit of 10,000 Manchu Bannermen under the command of Zaiyi during the Boxer Rebellion.-Summary:Hushenying can be translated as "Tiger and Divine Corps", "Tiger Spirit Division", or "Tiger Spirit Battalion"....

, "Marksmen for the Tiger Hunt," also known as the "Tiger Spirit Division" (虎神营). It had 10,000 troops in it. It was one of the three modernized Manchu Banner Divisions. The Russians invaded Manchuria during the fighting. The defending Manchu bannermen were annihilated as they fought to the death, their garrisons falling one at a time against a five pronged Russian invasion. The Russians looted their villages and property and then burnt them to ashes.

Controversies and changing views of the Boxers

From the beginning, views differed as to whether the Boxers are better seen as anti-imperialist or as futile opponents of inevitable change. The historian Joseph Esherick comments that "confusion about the Boxer Uprising is not simply a matter of popular misconceptions," for "there is no major incident in China's modern history on which the range of professional interpretation is so great."

Dr. Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen was a Chinese doctor, revolutionary and political leader. As the foremost pioneer of Nationalist China, Sun is frequently referred to as the "Father of the Nation" , a view agreed upon by both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China...

, the founding father of the Republic of China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

 and of the Nationalist
Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

 Party at first believed that the Boxer Movement was stirred up by the Qing government’s rumors, which “caused confusion among the populace,” and led to his “scathing criticism” of the Boxers’ “anti-foreignism and obscurantism.” He concluded that the "anti-foreignism sponsored by the Manchus reached its pinnacle in the Boxer Upheavals of 1900." In 1918, however, Sun praised the Boxers for fighting against foreign imperialism. He said the Boxers were courageous and fearless, fighting to the death against the Alliance armies, Dr. Sun specifically cited the Battle of Yangcun
Battle of Yangcun
The Battle of Yangcun was a battle during the march of Eight-Nation Alliance forces from Tianjin to Beijing during the Boxer Rebellion. The Alliance was victorious over the Chinese forces.-Background:...

.

Views of the Boxers among 20th century Chinese intellectuals and scholars remain complex, and contentious. The failures of the Boxer Rebellion initially humiliated educated Chinese nationalists, who disdained them for their superstition and aggression. Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen was a Chinese doctor, revolutionary and political leader. As the foremost pioneer of Nationalist China, Sun is frequently referred to as the "Father of the Nation" , a view agreed upon by both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China...

 "[praised] the Boxers for their spirit of resistance" but called the Boxers "'bandits', as many educated Chinese of his generation did." Students of the era shared an ambivalent attitude to the Boxers, stating that while the uprising originated from the "ignorant and stubborn people of the interior areas", the beliefs were "brave and righteous", and could "be transformed into a moving force for independence". Foreigners, such as Mark Twain
Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens , better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist...

, were sympathetic towards the Boxers. Twain said that "the Boxer is a patriot. He loves his country better than he does the countries of other people. I wish him success." After the fall of the Qing dynasty, nationalist Chinese too became sympathetic to the Boxers. Chen Duxiu
Chen Duxiu
Chen Duxiu played many different roles in Chinese history. He was a leading figure in the anti-imperial Xinhai Revolution and the May Fourth Movement for Science and Democracy. Along with Li Dazhao, Chen was a co-founder of the Chinese Communist Party in 1921. He was its first General Secretary....

 forgave the "barbarism of the Boxer... given the crime foreigners committed in China", and contended that it was those "subservient to the foreigners" that truly "deserved our resentment".

In the People's Republic of China, orthodox textbooks used to analyze the Boxer movement as an anti-imperialist, patriotic peasant movement whose failure was due to the lack of leadership from the modern working class. In recent decades, however, large-scale projects of village interviews and explorations of archival sources have led historians to take a more nuanced view. Some non-Chinese scholars, such as Joseph Esherick, have seen the movement as anti-imperialist; while others view this interpretation as anachronistic in that the Chinese nation had not been formed and the Boxers were more concerned with regional issues. Paul Cohen's recent history includes a survey of "the Boxers as myth," showing how their memory was used in changing ways in 20th-century China from the New Culture Movement
New Culture Movement
The New Culture Movement of the mid 1910s and 1920s sprang from the disillusionment with traditional Chinese culture following the failure of the Chinese Republic, founded in 1912 to address China’s problems. Scholars like Chen Duxiu, Cai Yuanpei, Li Dazhao, Lu Xun, Zhou Zuoren, and Hu Shi, had...

 to the Cultural Revolution
Cultural Revolution
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, commonly known as the Cultural Revolution , was a socio-political movement that took place in the People's Republic of China from 1966 through 1976...

.

In recent years the Boxers have been debated in the People's Republic, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. The philosopher Tang Junyi
Tang Junyi
Tang Junyi was a Chinese philosopher, who was one of the leading exponents of New Confucianism. He was influenced by Plato and Hegel as well as by earlier Confucian thought....

 viewed the Boxer Uprising as a religious war between the Chinese
Chinese religion
Chinese religion may refer to:*Religion in China*Religion in Republic of China*Chinese folk religion*East Asian religions...

 and Christianity. In 1998, the critical scholar Wang Yi argued that the Boxers had features in common with the Cultural Revolution
Cultural Revolution
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, commonly known as the Cultural Revolution , was a socio-political movement that took place in the People's Republic of China from 1966 through 1976...

. Both events had the external goal of “liquidating all harmful pests” and the domestic goal of “eliminating bad elements of all descriptions” and this relation was rooted in “cultural obscurantism.” Wang traced the changes in attitudes towards the Boxers from the condemnation of the May Fourth Movement to the approval expressed by Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

 during the Cultural Revolution. In 2006 Yuan Weishi, a professor of philosophy at Zhongshan University in Guangzhou, criticized the official government-issued middle schools history textbooks. Yuan wrote that the Boxers by their "criminal actions brought unspeakable suffering to the nation and its people! These are all facts that everybody knows, and it is a national shame that the Chinese people cannot forget." For many years, history text books had been lacking in neutrality in presenting the Boxer Rebellion as a "magnificent feat of patriotism", and not presenting the view that the majority of the Boxer rebels were both violent and xenophobic. These views were criticized and some labeled Yuan Weishi "Hanjian" (漢奸, betrayer of the Han)

Terminology of the Boxers: "rebellion" or "uprising"?

The first reports coming from China in 1898 referred to the village activists as “Yihequan,” (Wade-Giles: I Ho Ch'uan). The first known use of the term "Boxer" was September 1899 in a letter from missionary Grace Newton in Shangdong. It appears from context that "Boxer" was a known term by that time, possibly coined by by the Shandong missionaries Arthur H. Smith and Henry Porter. Smith says in his book of 1902 that the name
I Ho Ch'uan... literally denotes the 'Fists' (Ch'uan) of Righteousness (or Public) (I) Harmony (Ho), in apparent allusion to the strength of united force which was to be put forth. As the Chinese phrase 'fists and feet' signifies boxing and wrestling, there appeared to be no more suitable term for the adherents of the sect than 'Boxers,' a designation first used by one or two missionary correspondents of foreign journals in China, and later universally accepted on account of the difficulty of coining a better one.

On June 6, 1900 the Times of London used the term “rebellion” in quotation marks, presumably to indicate their view that the rising was in fact instigated by the Empress Dowager. The historian Lanxin Xiang refers to the “so called ‘Boxer Rebellion,’” and explains that “while peasant rebellion was nothing new in Chinese history, a war against the world’s most powerful states was.” The name “Boxer Rebellion,” concludes Joseph Esherick, another recent historian, is truly a “misnomer,” for the Boxers “never rebelled against the Manchu rulers of China and their Qing dynasty” and the “most common Boxer slogan, throughout the history of the movement, was “support the Qing, destroy the Foreign.” He adds that only after the movement was suppressed by the Allied Intervention did both the foreign powers and influential Chinese officials realize that the Qing would have to remain as government of China in order to maintain order and collect taxes to pay the indemnity. Therefore in order to save face for the Empress Dowager and the Manchu court, the argument was made that the Boxers were rebels and that support from the court came only from a few Manchu princes. Esherick concludes that the origin of the term “rebellion” was “purely political and opportunistic,” but it has shown a remarkable staying power, particularly in popular accounts.

Other recent Western works refer to the "Boxer Movement," "Boxer War," or Yihetuan Movement.

Chinese studies use
义和团运动 (Yihetuan yundong), that is, "Yihetuan Movement."

In fiction

  • Liu E
    Liu E
    Liu E , courtesy name/"zì": "Tieyun" , was a Chinese scholar, entrepreneur, and writer.-Government and politics:...

    ,The Travels of Lao Ts'an (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1952), also available in an abridged version which omits some scenes of the Boxers: The travels of Lao Can, translated by Yang Xianyi, Gladys Yang (Beijing: Panda Books, 1983; 176p.)
  • G. A. Henty
    G. A. Henty
    George Alfred Henty , was a prolific English novelist and a special correspondent. He is best known for his historical adventure stories that were popular in the late 19th century. His works include Out on the Pampas , The Young Buglers , With Clive in India and Wulf the Saxon .-Biography:G.A...

    , With the Allies to Pekin, a Tale of the Relief of the Legations (New York: Scribners, 1903; London: Blackie, 1904). Juvenile fiction by a widely read author, depicting the Boxers as "a mob of ruffians." The London edition is available online in an Open Library Edition
  • China Under the Empress Dowager by Bland and Backhouse (1911), including The Diary of His Excellency Ching Shan: Being a Chinese Account of the Boxer Rebellion.
  • A falsified diary, Diary of his Excellency Ching-Shan: Being a Chinese Account of the Boxer Troubles, including text written by Edmund Backhouse
    Sir Edmund Backhouse, 2nd Baronet
    Sir Edmund Trelawny Backhouse, 2nd Baronet was a British oriental scholar and linguist whose work exerted a powerful influence on the Western view of the last decades of the Qing Dynasty. Since his death, however, it has been established that some of his sources were forged, though it is not clear...

    , who said he recovered the document from a burnt building. It is suspected that Backhouse falsified the document, as well as other stories, because he was prone to tell tales dubious in nature, including claims of nightly visits to the Empress Cixi.
  • The rebellion is mentioned in the Herge
    Hergé
    Georges Prosper Remi , better known by the pen name Hergé, was a Belgian comics writer and artist. His best known and most substantial work is the 23 completed comic books in The Adventures of Tintin series, which he wrote and illustrated from 1929 until his death in 1983, although he was also...

     Tintin
    The Adventures of Tintin
    The Adventures of Tintin is a series of classic comic books created by Belgian artist , who wrote under the pen name of Hergé...

     story "The Blue Lotus
    The Blue Lotus
    The Blue Lotus , first published in 1936, is one of The Adventures of Tintin, a series of classic comic-strip albums written and illustrated by Hergé featuring young reporter Tintin as a hero. It is a sequel to Cigars of the Pharaoh, with Tintin continuing his struggle against a major gang of drug...

    " by Tintin's Chinese friend Chang Chong-Chen
    Chang Chong-Chen
    Chang Chong-Chen is a fictional character in The Adventures of Tintin, the series of classic Belgian comic books written and illustrated by Hergé...

     when they first meet after Tintin saves the boy from drowning. It is a pivotal and poignant moment relating to the views Chinese and European people had of each other at the time. The boy asks Tintin why he saved him from drowning as, according to Chang's uncle who fought in the Rebellion, all white people were wicked.
  • The novel Moment In Peking
    Moment in Peking
    Moment in Peking is an historical novel originally written in English by the Chinese American author Lin Yutang. The novel covers the turbulent events in China from 1900 to 1938, including the Boxer Uprising, the Republican Revolution of 1911, the Warlord Era, the rise of nationalism and...

     (1939), by Lin Yutang
    Lin Yutang
    Lin Yutang was a Chinese writer and inventor. His informal but polished style in both Chinese and English made him one of the most influential writers of his generation, and his compilations and translations of classic Chinese texts into English were bestsellers in the West.-Youth:Lin was born in...

    , opens during the Boxer Rebellion, and provides a child's-eye view of the turmoil through the eyes of the protagonist.
  • Pearl S. Buck
    Pearl S. Buck
    Pearl Sydenstricker Buck also known by her Chinese name Sai Zhenzhu , was an American writer who spent most of her time until 1934 in China. Her novel The Good Earth was the best-selling fiction book in the U.S. in 1931 and 1932, and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932...

    , Imperial Woman
    Imperial Woman
    Imperial Woman is a novel by Pearl S. Buck first published in 1956.Imperial Woman is a fictionalized biography of Ci-xi , who was a concubine of the Xianfeng Emperor and on his death became the de facto head of the Qing Dynasty until her death in 1908 .The story of Tzu Hsi is the story of the last...

     (1956).
  • The Douglas Reeman
    Douglas Reeman
    Douglas Edward Reeman, born at Thames Ditton, is a British author who has written many historical fiction books on the Royal Navy, mainly set during either World War II or the Napoleonic Wars....

     novel The First to Land (New York, 1984), part of the Bluewood saga, depicts an officer of Royal Marines
    Royal Marines
    The Corps of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, commonly just referred to as the Royal Marines , are the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service...

     during the siege of Peking.
  • Parts I and II of C. Y. Lee
    C. Y. Lee (author)
    Chin Yang Lee is a Chinese American author best known for his 1957 novel The Flower Drum Song, which inspired the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Flower Drum Song and writer for his 2006 film "10,000 Apologies" with May Wang.-Biography:...

    's China Saga (1987) involve events leading up to and during the Boxer Rebellion, revolving around a character named Fong Tai.
  • The novel Fenwick Travers and the Years of Empire (Novato, CA: 1993), by Raymond M. Saunders, depicts American antihero Fenwick Travers
    Fenwick Travers
    Fenwick "Fenny" Travers is a fictional character and antihero created by Raymond M. Saunders. The character was inspired by the character of Harry Paget Flashman in a series of historical novels written by George Macdonald Fraser, but the character of Travers did not become as successful as his...

     taking an active role in the Boxer rebellion.
  • The Diamond Age
    The Diamond Age
    The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer is a postcyberpunk novel by Neal Stephenson. It is to some extent a science fiction bildungsroman, focused on a young girl named Nell, and set in a future world in which nanotechnology affects all aspects of life. The novel deals with themes of...

     or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer (New York, 1996), by Neal Stephenson
    Neal Stephenson
    Neal Town Stephenson is an American writer known for his works of speculative fiction.Difficult to categorize, his novels have been variously referred to as science fiction, historical fiction, cyberpunk, and postcyberpunk...

    , includes a quasi-historical re-telling of the Boxer Rebellion as an integral component of the novel
  • The novel The Palace of Heavenly Pleasure
    The Palace of Heavenly Pleasure
    The Palace of Heavenly Pleasure, written by Adam Williams was published by Hodder and Stoughton. The story is based in China, 1899. Through shifting protagonists, we are shown various points of the story's development.-Storyline:...

     (2003), by Adam Williams, describes the experiences of a small group of foreign missionaries, traders and railway engineers in a fictional town in northern China shortly before and during the Boxer Rebellion.
  • The Last Empress
    The Last Empress (novel)
    The Last Empress is a historical novel by Anchee Min that provides a sympathetic account of the life of Empress Dowager Cixi , from her rise to power as Empress Tzu-Hsi, until her death at 72 years of age...

     (Boston, 2007), by Anchee Min
    Anchee Min
    Anchee Min is a Chinese-American painter, photographer, musician, and author who lives in San Francisco and Shanghai...

    , describes the long reign of the Empress Dowager Cixi
    Empress Dowager Cixi
    Empress Dowager Cixi1 , of the Manchu Yehenara clan, was a powerful and charismatic figure who became the de facto ruler of the Manchu Qing Dynasty in China for 47 years from 1861 to her death in 1908....

     in which the siege of the legations is one of the climactic events in the novel.
  • The Peter Watt novel The Stone Dragon (2007), tells the story of a Chinese-Australian importation magnate who travels to Peking to attempt to rescue his daughter, who has been taken captive by the Boxer rebels
  • The French comics "Tombelaine" is the story of a French "Marine" during the rebellion and the Beijing siege (with Chinese antiques trafic).

Film, stage, and television

  • The horror play La Dernière torture (The Ultimate Torture), written by André de Lorde
    André de Lorde
    André de Latour, comte de Lorde was a French playwright, the main author of the Grand Guignol plays from 1901-1926. His evening career was as a dramatist of terror; during daytimes he worked as a librarian in the Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal. He wrote 150 plays, all of them devoted mainly to the...

     and Eugène Morel
    Eugène Morel
    Eugène Morel was a French librarian, writer and literary critic. One of the founders of the Association of French Librarians, Morel contributed greatly to the development of French libraries and librarianship in the 19th and early 20th centuries.-Biography :Morel graduated as a lawyer from the...

     in 1904 for the Grand Guignol
    Grand Guignol
    Le Théâtre du Grand-Guignol — known as the Grand Guignol — was a theatre in the Pigalle area of Paris . From its opening in 1897 until its closing in 1962 it specialized in naturalistic horror shows...

     theater (just four years following the events depicted), is set during the Boxer Rebellion, in the French area of the fortified legation compound, specifically on 22 July 1900, the 32nd day of the Boxers' siege of the compound.
  • The 1963 film 55 Days at Peking
    55 Days at Peking
    55 Days at Peking is a 1963 historical epic film starring Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner, and David Niven, made by Samuel Bronston Productions, and released by Allied Artists. The movie was produced by Samuel Bronston and directed by Nicholas Ray, Andrew Marton , and Guy Green...

     was a dramatization of the Boxer rebellion. Shot in Spain, it needed thousands of Chinese extras, and the company sent scouts throughout Spain to hire as many as they could find.
  • In 1975 Hong Kong's Shaw Brothers studio produced the film Boxer Rebellion (八國聯軍, Pa kuo lien chun) under director Chang Cheh
    Chang Cheh
    Chang Cheh was Shaw Brothers Studio's best known and most prolific film director, with such films as the Five Venoms, the Brave Archer , the The One-Armed Swordsman, and other classics of wuxia and kung fu film.-Career:Referred to as "The Godfather of Hong Kong cinema", Chang Cheh directed over 100...

     with one of the highest budgets to tell a sweeping story of disillusionment and revenge. It depicted followers of the Boxer clan being duped into believing they were impervious to attacks by firearms. The film starred Alexander Fu Sheng
    Alexander Fu Sheng
    Alexander Fu Sheng was a major Hong Kong martial arts film star in the 1970s.-Biography:...

    , Chi Kuan Chun, Wang Lung-Wei and Richard Harrison
    Richard Harrison (actor)
    Richard Harrison is an American B-movie actor and occasionally a writer/director/producer.Harrison was very prolific and worked with most of the better-known names in European B-movies during the 1960s and 1970s, branching out to exploitation films shot all over the world in the early 1970s...

    .
  • In 1981, Hong Kong's Shaw Brothers released Legendary Weapons of China
    Legendary Weapons of China
    Legendary Weapons of China is a 1982 martial arts fantasy film directed by Lau Kar-Leung. It takes place during the late Qing Dynasty when Empress Dowager Cixi dispatches her agents to various factions of the Boxer Rebellion in order find supernatural martial artists that are invulnerable to...

     under director Lau Kar Leung, this one more of a comedy starring Hsiao Ho (Hsiao Hou) as a disillusioned boxer of the Magic Clan who is sent to assassinate the former leader of a powerful boxer clan who refuses to dupe his students into believing they are impervious to firearms. " Empress Dowager Cixi
    Empress Dowager Cixi
    Empress Dowager Cixi1 , of the Manchu Yehenara clan, was a powerful and charismatic figure who became the de facto ruler of the Manchu Qing Dynasty in China for 47 years from 1861 to her death in 1908....

     dispatches her agents to various factions of the Boxer Rebellion in order find supernatural martial artists that are invulnerable to western bullets. When one of the leaders of these groups disbands his forces, assassins from the remaining factions are sent out to kill him for his apparent treason."
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Fool for Love" (2001) Spike recounts his killing of a Slayer at the Boxer Rebellion, and the following Angel
    Angel (TV series)
    Angel is an American television series, a spin-off of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The series was created by Buffys creator, Joss Whedon, in collaboration with David Greenwalt, and first aired on October 5, 1999...

     episode "Darla"
    Darla (Angel episode)
    "Darla" is episode 7 of season 2 in the television show Angel. Written and directed by Tim Minear, it was originally broadcast on November 14, 2000 on the WB television network. In this episode, Angel tries to rescue Darla from the clutches of Wolfram & Hart and Lindsey's affections, as she...

     shows the same events from Darla's point of view.
  • The 2003 movie, Shanghai Knights
    Shanghai Knights
    Shanghai Knights is a 2003 action-comedy film. It is the sequel to Shanghai Noon. It was directed by David Dobkin and written by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar.-Plot:...

    , staring Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson, shows that the Boxers still exist, working for Lord Rathbone, who wants to assassinate many members of the British Royal Family.
  • Besieged!, a play written by Iowa's Kirkwood Community College
    Kirkwood Community College
    Kirkwood Community College is a two-year Liberal Arts college serving seven counties in Iowa. Kirkwood's main campus is in Cedar Rapids, with additional campuses in Marion, Iowa City, Belle Plaine, Monticello, Tipton, Vinton, Washington and Williamsburg....

     staff member, Pamela Edwards, was performed by the theatre department in 2010. It covers President and Mrs. Herbert Hoover
    Herbert Hoover
    Herbert Clark Hoover was the 31st President of the United States . Hoover was originally a professional mining engineer and author. As the United States Secretary of Commerce in the 1920s under Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge, he promoted partnerships between government and business...

    's early years of marriage spent in China during the Boxer Rebellion.
  • In the Dad's Army
    Dad's Army
    Dad's Army is a British sitcom about the Home Guard during the Second World War. It was written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft and broadcast on BBC television between 1968 and 1977. The series ran for 9 series and 80 episodes in total, plus a radio series, a feature film and a stage show...

     episode Museum Piece
    Museum Piece
    Museum Piece is the second episode in the first series of the British comedy series Dad's Army, originally transmitted on Wednesday 7 August 1968.-Cast:...

     Jones
    Lance-Corporal Jack Jones
    Lance Corporal Jack Jones is a fictional Home Guard platoon lance-corporal, veteran of the British Empire and butcher portrayed by Clive Dunn in the BBC television sitcom Dad's Army...

     and Walker find a rocket-artillery launcher used against the Boxers (to which Jones replies "the poor creatures!"). Back at the Church Hall Jones and Walker show the weapon to the rest of the Platoon but Mainwaring
    Captain George Mainwaring
    Captain George Mainwaring is the bank manager and Home Guard platoon commander portrayed by Arthur Lowe on the BBC television sitcom Dad's Army, set in the fictional seaside town of Walmington-on-Sea during the Second World War...

     says they'll take it back to the museum as it's too antiquated, claiming something like "warfare has progressed a bit since the rocket".
  • In Torchwood: Miracle Day episode, "The Blood Line
    The Blood Line
    "The Blood Line" is the tenth and final episode of the fourth series of British science fiction television series Torchwood, and was first broadcast in the United States on Starz on 9 September 2011.-Plot summary:...

    ", Jack Harkness
    Jack Harkness
    Captain Jack Harkness is a fictional character played by John Barrowman in Doctor Who and its spin-off series, Torchwood. He first appeared in the 2005 Doctor Who episode "The Empty Child" and reappeared in the remaining episodes of the 2005 series as a companion of the ninth incarnation of the...

     tells Gwen Cooper
    Gwen Cooper
    Gwen Cooper is a fictional character in the BBC television programme Torchwood, a spin-off to the long-running show Doctor Who, portrayed by Welsh actress Eve Myles. The series' lead female character, Gwen has featured in every episode of the sci-fi programme to date as well as two crossover...

     and Oswald Danes that he was in China for the Boxer Rebellion.

In art

The rebellion was covered in the foreign illustrated press by artists and photographers. Paintings and prints were also published including Japanese wood-blocks.

See also

  • Battle of Peking
    Battle of Peking
    The Battle of Peking, or the Relief of Peking, was the battle on 14–15 August 1900 in which a multi-national force relieved the siege of foreign legations in Peking during the Boxer Rebellion...

  • China Relief Expedition Campaigns
  • Opium War
    First Opium War
    The First Anglo-Chinese War , known popularly as the First Opium War or simply the Opium War, was fought between the United Kingdom and the Qing Dynasty of China over their conflicting viewpoints on diplomatic relations, trade, and the administration of justice...

  • HMAS Protector (1884)
    HMAS Protector (1884)
    HMCS/HMAS Protector was a large flat-iron gunboat commissioned and purchased by the South Australian government in 1884, for the purpose of defending the local coastline against possible attacks in the aftermath of the ‘Russian scare', of 1870s...

  • Righteous Harmony Society
  • US Army 9th Infantry Regiment (United States) "Manchus"
  • US Army 14th Infantry Regiment (United States) "Golden Dragons"
  • US Army 15th Infantry Regiment (United States)
  • US Army 6th Cavalry Regiment (United States)
  • US Army China Campaign Medal
    China Campaign Medal
    The China Campaign Medal is a decoration of the United States Army which was created by order of the United States War Department on January 12, 1905...

  • US Navy China Relief Expedition Medal
    China Relief Expedition Medal
    The China Relief Expedition Medal was a decoration of the United States military which was issued to members of both the United States Navy and the United States Marines for service in the China Relief Expedition between 1900 and 1901 during the Boxer Rebellion. The medal was authorized by General...

  • Xishiku Cathedral
    Xishiku Cathedral
    The Xishiku Cathedral , commonly referred to as the Beitang is a historic Catholic church in the Xicheng District, Beijing, China...

     (Chinese:西什库天主堂)
  • List of 1900-1930 publications on Boxer Rebellion
  • Imperial Decree on events leading to the signing of Boxer Protocol
    Imperial Decree on events leading to the signing of Boxer Protocol
    The Imperial Decree on events leading to the signing of Boxer Protocol is a royal decree issued by the Qing Dynasty in the name of Guangxu Emperor, as an official imperial statement on historical events such as Boxer Rebellion, Eight-Nation Alliance and Battle of Peking and Siege of the...

  • 1900 National Upheaval
    1900 National Upheaval
    1900 National Upheaval is a book published in 1923, written by Li Xishen , a Qing Dynasty author. The book gives a detailed account of major events around the time of the Boxer Rebellion, and is widely quoted by Chinese historian Hou Yijiat and Professor Yuan Weishi...


Further reading

In addition to the specialized studies below, there are useful accounts in most of the general surveys of modern China. Among the texts with fuller coverage are Jonathan Spence, In Search of Modern China (New York: Norton, 1990; revised edition 1999) which puts the movement in the context of developing Chinese nationalism and Immanuel Hsu, The Rise of Modern China (New York: Oxford University Press, various editions), which is especially strong on the international diplomacy. Diana Preston's book (below) is the most recent popular history. Peter Fleming, Fifty Five Days at Peking (below) tells the exciting story of the Boxer summer from the point of view of the foreigners. The newer scholarly studies begin the task of presenting various points of view of Chinese at the time.

General accounts and analysis

  • Robert A. Bickers and R. G. Tiedemann, eds., The Boxers, China, and the World. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007. ISBN 9780742553941. A collection of articles from fresh viewpoints which "explores the causes of the Boxer Uprising and the ... the Boxer War," reportage in the world press, looting, and the "impact on the foreign imagination."
  • David D. Buck, "Recent Studies of the Boxer Movement," Chinese Studies in History 20 (1987). Introduction to a special issue of the journal devoted to translations of recent research on the Boxers in the People's Republic.
  • Cohen, Paul A. (1997). History in Three Keys: The Boxers as Event, Experience, and Myth Columbia University Press. online edition. Influential study which views Boxer "history" as event, as experience, and as myth or memory. Includes both a brief narrative of the Boxer movement and how it was viewed and reinterpreted over the course of the twentieth century.
  • Esherick, Joseph W. (1987). The Origins of the Boxer Uprising University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-06459-3. A key work in revising scholarly views of the Boxers by using anthropological views of the Boxers as motivated by religion and new research from the People's Republic of China, including oral histories.
  • Elliott, Jane E. Some Did It for Civilisation, Some Did It for Their Country: A Revised View of the Boxer War. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 2002. ISBN 9622019730. Challenges earlier views that China was militarily incompetent and lacked moern patriotism. David D. Buck, "Review," The China Quarterly 173 (2003): 234-237. (http://www.jstor.org/stable/20058979) calls this a strong "revisionist" account but will require more evidence. Illustrated history emphasizing the military intervention.
  • *O'Connor,Richard. The Spirit Soldiers: A historical narrative of the Boxer Rebellion Putnam's, NY.1973. Relies on now outdated English sources to produce a lively narrative.
  • Preston, Diana (2000). The Boxer Rebellion. Berkley Books, New York. ISBN 0-425-18084-0. online edition; British title: Besieged in Peking: The Story of the 1900 Boxer Rising (London: Constable, 1999) A well balanced popular history using recent English language scholarship.
  • Purcell, Victor (1963). The Boxer Uprising: A background study. online edition The first Western scholar to use extensive Chinese sources, but the conclusion that the Boxers were a continuation of earlier Secret Societies is no longer accepted.
  • Xiang, Lanxin (2003). The Origins of the Boxer War: A Multinational Study. Psychology Press. ISBN 0700715630. Detailed Examination of the sources and the international diplomacy of the war set off by the Boxer siege of the Legations arguing that the war was not inevitable, but grew out of the court's (ungrounded) fear of foreign intervention.

Missionary experience and personal accounts

  • Brandt, Nat (1994). Massacre in Shansi. Syracuse University Press
    Syracuse University Press
    Syracuse University Press, founded in 1943, is a university press that is part of Syracuse University. The areas of focus for the Press include Middle East Studies, Native American Studies, Peace and Conflict Resolution, Irish Studies and Jewish Studies, among others. The Press has an international...

    . ISBN 0-8156-0282-0. The story of the Oberlin missionaries at Taigu, Shanxi.. A contemporary account.
  • Price, Eva Jane. China Journal, 1889-1900: An American Missionary Family During the Boxer Rebellion, (1989). ISBN 0-684-19851-8. Review: Susanna Ashton, "Compound Walls: Eva Jane Price's Letters from a Chinese Mission, 1890-1900." Frontiers 1996 17(3): 80-94. ISSN: 0160-9009. The journal of the events leading up to the deaths of the Price family.
  • Sharf, Frederic A., and Peter Harrington (2000). China 1900: The Eyewitnesses Speak. London: Greenhill. ISBN 1-85367-410-9. Excerpts from German, British, Japanese, and American soldiers, diplomats, and journalists.
  • Sharf, Frederic A., and Peter Harrington (2000). China 1900: The Artists' Perspective. London: Greenhill. ISBN 1-85367-409-5
  • Thompson, Larry Clinton. William Scott Ament and the Boxer Rebellion: Heroism, Hubris, and the "Ideal Missionary". Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2009. Well balanced biography of a missionary of the ABCFM who was controversial for his tactics in gathering reparations for Chinese and western victims of the Boxers.

The allied intervention, the Boxer War, and the aftermath

  • Lynn E. Bodin and Christopher Warner. The Boxer Rebellion. London: Osprey, Men-at-Arms Series 95, 1979. ISBN 0850453356 (pbk.) Illustrated history of the military campaign.
  • Fleming, Peter. The Siege at Peking. New York: Dorset Press. 1990 (originally published 1959). ISBN 0-88029-462-0. A classic narrative of the summer of 1900 from the foreign point of view.
  • James L. Hevia, "Leaving a Brand on China: Missionary Discourse in the Wake of the Boxer Movement," Modern China 18.3 (1992): 304-332.
  • James Hevia. English Lessons: The Pedagogy of Imperialism in Nineteenth-Century China. Durham; Hong Kong: Duke University Press; Hong Kong University Press, 2003. ISBN 0822331519
  • Michael H. Hunt, "The American Remission of the Boxer Indemnity: A Reappraisal," Journal of Asian Studies 31 (Spring 1972): 539-559.
  • Michael H. Hunt, "The Forgotten Occupation: Peking, 1900-1901," Pacific Historical Review 48.4 (November 1979): 501-529.

Accounts and sources from the time

We can now search the online archives of many newspapers, magazines, and journals from the time which give us vivid and detailed accounts. These must be used with care to sort out the genuine on the spot insights from claims which are not reliable. Among the books which can be accessed through Google Books and other indexes are:

. A contemporary account.


  • Isaac Taylor Headland, Chinese Heroes; Being a Record of Persecutions Endured by Native Christians in the Boxer Uprising (New York,Cincinnati: Eaton & Mains; Jennings & Pye, 1902). ISBN 02029920


  • Pierre Loti
    Pierre Loti
    Pierre Loti was a French novelist and naval officer.-Biography:Loti's education began in his birthplace, Rochefort, Charente-Maritime. At the age of seventeen he entered the naval school in Brest and studied at Le Borda. He gradually rose in his profession, attaining the rank of captain in 1906...

    , The Last Days of Pekin (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1902: tr. of Les Derniers Jours De Pékin (Paris: Lévy, 1900). Google Book
    Google book
    Google book may refer to:* Google Book Search, a Web-based search engine for paper books* The Google Book, a 1913 children's story...

    : http://books.google.com/books?id=mq7tpe7qUAgC&source=gbs_navlinks_s.


  • Putnam Weale, Bertram Lenox, (1907). Indiscreet Letters from Peking: Being the Notes of an Eyewitness, Which Set Forth in Some Detail, From Day to Day, The Real Story of the Siege and Sack of a Distressed Capital in 1900- The Year of Great Tribulation. Dodd, Mead. A vivid account by a British journalist who probably did not see all that he claimed to.


External links

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