Task #6 Summary Report:
Explain what happened to China in the 19th Century that helped create the social and political environment for the Boxer Rebellion
The opium wars between the western world and the Chinese empire was the spark to ignite the fury of the Chinese people. After the Asian forces lost the second war, the westerners made the Chinese sign a humiliating treaty, allowing opium to continue to flow into china, as well as surrendering the island of Hong Kong to the British Empire. Also seaports were opened to foreign powers (called treaty ports) in which there were concession areas which were actually ruled by foreigners. This meant that these were areas where the Chinese were foreigners in their own land. The ruling emperors and empresses of China had always been sacred to the nation, so much so that an unapproved look upon the emperor/ess’s face would invite death upon the person gazing. So when the westerners came to China and causually “invaded” the Forbidden City, they looked upon the Empress Dowager’s face openly and at their will. This breach in the sacred code of the Chinese infuriated them to say the least. It seemed to the civilians as if their whole culture was falling apart. The construction of railroads was perhaps one of the most damaging occurrences to the civilians of China. The stretch of railway lines interrupted the flow of Feng shui, which invited disasters by blocking natural pathways of the weather controlling “dragons”. Also if a civilians ancestral burying ground was on the other side of the railway, their luck would diminish and their soul could not be connected to their ancestors. Because the gateway to the Chinese empire was now forced open, a large force of Christian missionaries invaded china, with the goal of converting the whole of China to the Christian religion. It is believed that the missionaries caused more trouble in the name of their faith than all the foreign soldiers, miners and traders combined. The...
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