“The Boxer Rebellion was a turning point in China’s modern history.” Examine the nature of the Boxer Rebellion. To what extent do you agree with this judgment of the Rebellion?
The Boxer Rebellion was the siege of the western legations, when the Boxers surrounded the diplomatic residences of the Western powers in Beijing. They were a semi-religious peasant group, who wanted to support the Qing, but were opposed to foreign influence in all forms and wanted to drive the foreigners, their works and their Christian religion out of China. It was largely a turning point as its effects led to calls for revolution even though the Manchus had made attempts at reforms. Turning point can be defined as a significant event that shaped the future, and the nature of the Boxer Rebellion refers to its motivations, leadership and consequences. This essay will examine the economic, political and social aspects that occurred within the years of 1898 to 1900.
Economically, the rebellion had occurred because of the poverty and sufferings of the peasants. The food supply for people in rural areas had become difficult because of a widespread drought in Shansi and Chihli. They prayed for rain and attempted to deal with the epidemic by witchcraft. It was natural for them to shift the blame for the drought on the imported Christianity, and they claimed that rain would come when the foreigners were gone. However, the Boxers had to find a living and thus then began to leave their villages to go to the cities and many peasants joined them in the hopes of getting job. Unemployment had come about because of competition from Western forms of transport and the imports of foreign cloth, the effects of decades of opium imports and the costs of foreign indemnities had all taken a terrible toll on the economy.
The amount of 450 million taels over 39 years at 4% had to be paid through an incease of tariff to 5%. The indemnities had cost China seven million a year in foreign currency, which...
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