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Boxer Rebellion

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Shaiking
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« on: September 07, 2007, 05:37:26 am »


The en:Opium Wars and en:Boxer Rebellion were violent products of nineteenth-century contact between China and the West. Although British operations in China during the period are well documented, few photographs of the Chinese Boxer troops survive. Originating in the mid-nineteenth century, the en:stereograph was an ancestor of the en:newsreel, affording Americans a window on the remote corners of the globe.

Date November 2, 1899 - September 7, 1901
Location China
Casus
belli Unequal Treaties, discontent of continuing Western and Japanese encroachment in China against the weak Qing Dynasty
Result Alliance victory
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Shaiking
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« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2007, 05:38:03 am »

The Boxer Movement (Traditional Chinese: 義和團運動; Simplified Chinese: 义和团运动; Pinyin: Yìhétuán Yùndòng; literally "The Righteous and Harmonious Society Movement") or Boxer Rebellion (義和團之亂 or 義和團匪亂) was a Chinese rebellion from November 1899 to September 7, 1901, against foreign influence in areas such as trade, politics, religion and technology that occurred in China during the final years of the Manchu rule (Qing Dynasty). The Boxers began as an anti-foreign, anti-imperialist peasant-based movement in northern China. They attacked foreigners, who were building railroads and violating Feng shui, as well as Christians, who were held responsible for the foreign domination of China. In June 1900, the Boxers invaded Beijing and killed 230 non-Chinese. Tens of thousands of Chinese Christians, Catholic and Protestant alike, were killed mostly in Shandong and Shanxi Provinces as part of the uprising. The government of Empress Dowager Cixi was helpless as diplomats, foreign civilians, soldiers and some Chinese Christians retreated to the legation quarter and held out for 55 days as a multinational coalition rushed 20,000 troops to the rescue. The Chinese government was forced to indemnify the victims and make many additional concessions. Subsequent reforms implemented after the crises of 1900 laid the foundation for the end of the Qing Dynasty and the establishment of the modern Chinese Republic.
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Shaiking
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« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2007, 05:39:42 am »



Perspective

In traditional Western histories, the Boxers were condemned as a product of uncivilized, irrational and anti-foreignist among the common people. In Eastern histories, controversy still exists about the significance of the movement. Even today, the Boxers are praised by the government of the PRC as patriotic and anti-imperialists.
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« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2007, 05:40:54 am »



A Boxer rebel. His banner says "欽令 義和團糧臺", "By Imperial Order - Boxer Supply Commissariat".
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Shaiking
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« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2007, 05:42:11 am »

The Uprising

Boxer activity began in Shandong province in March 1898, in response to German occupation of the Jiao Zhou region, the British seizing of Weihai city, and the failure of the Imperial court's Self-Strengthening Movement. One of the first signs of unrest appeared in a small village in Shandong province, where there had been a long dispute over the property rights of a temple between locals and the Roman Catholic authorities. The Catholics claimed that the temple was originally a church abandoned for decades after the Kangxi Emperor banned Christianity in China. The local court ruled in favor of the church, and angered villagers who needed the temple for rituals. After the local authorities turned over the temple to the Catholics, the villagers attacked the church, led by the Boxers.

The exemption from many Chinese laws of missionaries further alienated some Chinese. Marshall Broomhall pointed to the policy pursued by the Catholic Church. In 1899, by the help of the French Minister in Peking they obtained an edict from the Chinese Government granting official rank to each order in the Roman hierarchy. The Catholics, by means of this official status were enabled to more powerfully support their people and oppose Mandarins.

The early months of the movement's growth coincided with the Hundred Days' Reform (June 11–September 21, 1898), during which the Guangxu Emperor of China sought to improve the central administration, before the process was reversed by several court reactionaries. After the Boxers were mauled by loyal Imperial troops in October 1898, they dropped their anti-government slogans and turned their attention to foreign missionaries (such as those of the China Inland Mission) and their converts, whom they saw as agents of foreign imperialist influence.

Veteran missionary Griffith John noted afterward:

“ It is the height of folly to look at the present movement as anti-missionary. It is anti-missionary as it is anti-everything that is foreign. ..The movement is at first and last an anti-foreign movement, and has for its aim the casting out of every foreigner and all his belongings.
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« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2007, 05:45:01 am »



A pamphlet promoting the Boxers circa 1899

The Imperial Court, now under the firm control of several conservative reactionaries, forced the Empress to issue edicts in defense of the Boxers, drawing heated complaints from foreign diplomats in January, 1900. In June 1900 the Boxers, now joined by elements of the Imperial army, attacked foreign compounds in the cities of Tianjin and Peking. The legations of the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, the United States, Russia and Japan were all located on the Legation Quarter close to the Forbidden City. The legations were hurriedly linked into a fortified compound, that became a refuge for foreign citizens in Peking. The Spanish and Belgian legations were a few streets away, and their staff were able to arrive safely at the compound. The German legation on the other side of the city was stormed before the staff could escape. When the Envoy for the German Empire, Klemens Freiherr von Ketteler, was murdered on June 20 by a Manchu banner man, the foreign powers demanded redress. Cixi declared war on June 21 against all Western powers, but regional governors refused to go along. Shanghai's Chinese elites supported the provincial governors of southeastern China in resisting the imperial declaration of war.

The fortified legation compound remained under siege from Boxer forces from June 20 to August 14. Under the command of the British minister to China, Claude Maxwell MacDonald, the legation staff and security personnel defended the compound with one old muzzle-loaded cannon. It was nicknamed the "International Gun" because the barrel was British, the carriage was Italian, the shells were Russian, and the crew was American.

Foreign media described the fighting going on in Peking as well as alleged torture and murder of captured foreigners. Tens of thousands of Chinese Christians were massacred in north China. Many horrible stories that appeared in world newspapers were based on a deliberate fraud. Nonetheless a wave of anti-Chinese sentiment arose in Europe, America, and Japan.

The poorly armed Boxer rebels were unable to break into the compound, which was relieved by the international army of the Eight-Nation Alliance in July.

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« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2007, 05:47:03 am »



Western and Japanese Navy troops during the Boxer Rebellion. 1900.
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« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2007, 05:48:13 am »

Eight-Nation Alliance

The Eight-Nation Alliance (Simplified Chinese: 八国联军; Traditional Chinese: 八國聯軍; Pinyin: bāgúo liánjūn) was an alliance of 8 nations (Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) which put down the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900. The military contingent from the United States was called the China Relief Expedition.

At the end of the campaign, the imperial government was forced to sign the unequal Boxer Protocol of 1901.

Leading factors

At the end of the 19th century, resentment towards foreigners was on the rise due to continued colonization of China by Europeans, Americans and Japanese, increasing number of Western colonies and concessions in China, extraterritorial legal and trading privileges and influence over China, with Empress Dowager Cixi's passive approval. Social differences and the technology gap encouraged these sentiments. These resentments grew to the extent that destruction and violence against foreign companies, personnel, and even items such as violins, automobiles, phone lines etc. was carried out. Diplomats were assassinated, businesses vandalized and items were set on fire in the streets.

Although the Qing government formally condemned these violent actions, they failed to prosecute the people that carried out the acts, and it is thought that they encouraged them from behind the scenes.

With their commercial interests in China under threat and the necessity to relieve the joint legations under siege in Peking by the Boxers, the eight-nation alliance sent troops to quell the uprising.

« Last Edit: September 07, 2007, 05:49:59 am by Shaiking » Report Spam   Logged
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« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2007, 05:49:25 am »

Events

Troops of the eight countries entered and occupied Beijing on August 14, 1900. Empress Dowager Cixi, the Emperor, and higher officials fled the Imperial Palace for Xi'an, and sent Li Hongzhang for peace talks.

Participants of the Eight-Nation Alliance were responsible for the ransacking and pillaging of many historical artifacts of Chinese origin, such as those found in the Summer Palace, and instigated the burning of many prominent Chinese buildings in an effort to rout the Boxer rebels. "Following the taking of Peking, troops from the international force, except British and American, looted the capital city and even ransacked the Forbidden City, with many Chinese treasures finding their way back to Europe." However, the neutrality of the statement is questionable, since the British Museum has one of the finest Chinese Artifacts Collections in the world.

In fact, the Eight-Nation Alliance is most remembered today in China for the destruction of the Old Summer Palace, once considered the crown jewel of the empire. Priceless artifacts were destroyed in the Palace fire, set by the Alliance soldiers, including a large number of books and scrolls dating as far back as the Tang Dynasty.


Perception by modern Chinese

This event has been largely viewed by the Chinese around the world with shame and as foreign aggression. The events have been made into film a number of times.

Though the reaction of the Boxers against foreign imperialism in China is regarded by some as patriotic, the violence that they caused in committing acts of murder, robbery, vandalism and arson cannot be considered much different from the events of other rebellions in China, if not worse. However, the actions of the Eight-Nation Alliance soldiers, who committed similar acts of looting, murder, and **** after taking over the capital city are considered equally heinous.

In January 2006, Freezing Point, a weekly supplement to the China Youth Daily newspaper, was closed partly due to its running of an essay by Yuan Weishi, a history professor at Zhongshan University, who criticized the way in which the Boxer Rebellion and 19th century history about foreign interaction with China is now portrayed in Chinese textbooks and taught at school.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2007, 05:50:53 am by Shaiking » Report Spam   Logged
Shaiking
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« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2007, 05:51:59 am »



Contingent of Japanese marines who served under the British commander Seymour.

Reinforcements

Foreign navies started building up their presence along the northern China coast from the end of April 1900. On May 31, before the sieges had started and upon the request of foreign embassies in Beijing, 435 Navy troops from eight countries were dispatched by train from Takou to the capital (75 French, 75 Russian, 75 British, 60 American, 50 German, 40 Italian, 30 Japanese, 30 Austrian). These troops joined the legations and were able to contribute to their defense.

« Last Edit: September 07, 2007, 05:54:52 am by Shaiking » Report Spam   Logged
Shaiking
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« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2007, 05:57:26 am »



First intervention (Seymour column)

As the situation worsened, a second International force of 2,000 marines under the command of the British Vice Admiral Edward Seymour, the largest contingent being British, was dispatched from Takou to Beijing on June 10. The troops were transported by train from Takou to Tianjin (Tien-Tsin) with the agreement of the Chinese government, but the railway between Tianjin and Beijing had been severed. Seymour however resolved to move forward and repair the railway, or progress on foot as necessary, keeping in mind that the distance between Tianjin and Beijing was only 120 kilometers.

After Tianjin however, 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 June 18 regarding attacks on foreign legations. Seymour decided to continue advancing, this time along the Pei-Ho river, towards Tong-Tcheou, 25 kilometers from Beijing. They had to abandon on the 19th due to stiff resistance, and started to retreat southward along the river. The wounded were so numerous that they had to be carried in junks along the river, pulled along with ropes by healthy combatants on the banks. The column managed to take-over the Chinese camps of Hsi-Kou, in which they were surrounded until June 25 when finally a regiment composed essentially of Russian troops from Port-Arthur arrived. They completed their retreat back to Tianjin on June 26, with the loss of 350 men.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2007, 05:57:58 am by Shaiking » Report Spam   Logged
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« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2007, 05:58:46 am »



Admiral Seymour returning to Tianjin with his wounded men, on June 26.
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Shaiking
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« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2007, 05:59:50 am »

Forces of the Eight-Nation Alliance
(1900 Boxer Rebellion)
Countries Warships
(units) Marines
(men) Army
(men)
Japan 18 540 20,300
Russia 10 750 12,400
United Kingdom 8 2,020 10,000
France 5 390 3,130
United States 2 295 3,125
Germany 5 600 300
Italy 2 80 
Austria 1 75 
Total 51 4,750 49,255
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« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2007, 06:01:55 am »

Second intervention

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 dramatically. On June 17, they took the Taku Forts commanding the approaches to Tianjin, and from there brought more and more troops on shore.

The international force, with British Lt-General Alfred Gaselee acting as the commanding officer, called the Eight-Nation Alliance, eventually numbered 54,000, with the main contingent being composed of Japanese soldiers: Japanese (20,840), Russian (13,150), British (12,020), French (3,520), American (3,420), German (900), Italian (80), Austro-Hungarian (75), and anti-Boxer Chinese troops.. The international force finally captured Tianjin on July 14 under the command of the Japanese colonel Kuriya, after one day of fighting.

Notable exploits during the campaign were the seizure of the Taku Forts commanding the approaches to Tianjin, and the boarding and capture of four Chinese destroyers by Roger Keyes. The march from Tianjin to Beijing of about 120km consisted of about 20,000 allied troops. On August 4 there were approximately 70,000 Imperial troops with anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 Boxers along the way. They only encountered minor resistance and the battle was engaged in Yangcun, about 30 km outside Tianjin, where the 14th Infantry Regiment of the U.S. and British troops led the assault. However, the weather was a major obstacle, extremely humid with temperatures sometimes reaching 110°F (43Celsius).

The International force reached and occupied Beijing on August 14. The United States was able to play a secondary, but significant role in suppressing the Boxer Rebellion largely due to the presence of American ships and troops deployed in the Philippines since the U.S conquest of the Spanish American and Philippine-American War. In the United States military, the suppression of the Boxer Rebellion was known as the China Relief Expedition.

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« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2007, 06:03:06 am »



The capture of the southern gate of Tianjin. British troops were positioned on the left, Japanese troops at the centre, French troops on the right.
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