The Boxer Rebellion
“Support the Ch’ing-destroy the foreigner!”(Cohen 56). This was the slogan that was shouted from the mouths of those that were deemed as the Righteous Harmony Society in China between 1898 and 1901. The group’s main goal was to fight for China’s right to keep foreign invaders from taking over Chinese territories for the use of trade. Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan, and Russia all were in agreement that they had specific boundaries within the Chinese land and they referred to it as their selected “sphere of influence.” The United States was in favor of this due to the fact that they had recently acquired the Philippines, and with the close proximity, American businesses could possibly benefit from the Chinese resources and trade.
The group was nicknamed Boxers due to the martial arts and calisthenics they practiced. This group consisted of people who had lost their livelihoods due to imperialism and natural disasters. The boxers consisted local farmers and peasants who were made desperate by disastrous floods and widespread opium addiction and blamed all of their bad misfortune on Christian missionaries, Chinese Christians, and the Europeans colonizing their country. The Boxers believed that they did not need heavy artillery due to the fact that they were protected by the supernatural. The often only carried swords and rifles.
The Empress Tsu Hsi of the Ch’ing Dynasty encouraged the warriors to help protect her land that she feared was being taken away. She stated “The various Powers cast us looks of tiger-like voracity, hustling each other to be first to seize our innermost territories.” (Chan 2003). The cry from their leader caused uproar and fueled the movement to begin. One of the first accounts appeared in a village after a local court ruled in favor of giving a local temple over to the local Roman Catholic authorities for the use as a church. Led by Boxer agitators, the church and all of its inhabitants was...
Cited: Cohen, Paul A. History in Three Keys: The Boxers as Event, Experience, and Myth. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997. Print.
Chan, Diana. The Boxer Rebellion and the Great Game in China. The China Quarterly, 28 Nov. 2003. Web. 23 March 2013.
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