The Role and Motivation of the Empress Ci Xi in Encouraging the Boxers.

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The Dowager Empress Ci Xi played an extensive role in supporting the group known as the ‘Boxers’, her role can be linked with her lust for power, this is proven by her actions to take power, such as the palace coup against Guang-Xu in 1898, the execution of 5 reformers that went without trial and her apparent poisoning of Tz-uan discussed by Dennet and Dixon. With this in mind, we can safely say that Ci Xi had no boundaries when it came to preserving her power. The palace coup in 1898 was a result of the ‘hundred days of reform’ led by Guang-Xu, this reform movement was, at first, supported by Ci Xi, but when she realised that this movement could take away her power, she quickly changed her view on the issue, using her influence among other palace representatives according to Anderson, Keese and Low on the 21st September 1898 Ci Xi announced the emperor Guang-Xu was seriously ill and that it was necessary that she took over, in reality however, Guang-Xu was placed under house arrest on a small island in the imperial garden. In order to stop any talk of reform in China Ci Xi arrested and executed 5 reformers as well as the brother of Kang Youwei; the founder of the reform movement. Ci Xi effectively ended the reform movement in China, she did however continue reforms in one area: military, she began building up the army and providing them with more modern day weaponry. This made Ci Xi more confident in her stance against foreigners, and this was evident when she refused demands from Italy to lease the province of Chekiang in March of 1899, this continued into November when Ci Xi announced that she would no longer negotiate with foreigners, instead she would refuse all demands even if it lead to an outbreak of war, this then caught the attention of the Boxers. The Boxers, a group of uneducated peasants despised foreigners and their Christian beliefs, and when Ci Xi announced her new found stance on foreigners, this led to the Boxers slogan “Expel the foreigner,...
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