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Daily History

June 20 1900 Boxer Rebellion begins in China

On June 20th 1900, in response to widespread foreign encroachment upon China‘s national affairs, Chinese nationalists launched the so-called Boxer Rebellion in Peking. Calling themselves I Ho Ch’uan, or “the Righteous and Harmonious Fists,” the nationalists occupied Peking, killed several Westerners, including German ambassador Baron von Ketteler, and besieged the foreign legations in the diplomatic quarter of the city.

By the end of the 19th century, the Western powers and Japan had forced China’s ruling Qing dynasty to accept wide foreign control over the country’s economic affairs. In the Opium Wars, popular rebellions, and the Sino-Japanese War, China had fought to resist the foreigners, but it lacked a modernised military and suffered millions of casualties.

In 1898, Tzu’u Hzi, the dowager empress and an anti-imperialist, began supporting the I Ho Ch’uan, who were known as the “Boxers” by the British because of their martial arts fighting style. The Boxers soon grew powerful, and in late 1899 regular attacks on foreigners and Chinese Christians began.

On June 20, 1900, the Boxers, now more than 100,000 strong and led by the court of Tzu’u Hzi, besieged the foreigners in Peking’s diplomatic quarter, burned Christian churches in the city, and destroyed the Peking-Tientsin railway line.

As the Western powers and Japan organised a multinational force to crush the rebellion, the siege of the Peking legations stretched into weeks, and the diplomats, their families, and guards suffered through hunger and degrading conditions as they fought to keep the Boxers at bay.

On August 14, the international force, featuring British, Russian, American, Japanese, French, and German troops, relieved Peking after fighting its way through much of northern China.

Due to mutual jealousies between the powers, it was agreed that China would not be partitioned further, and in September 1901, the Peking Protocol was signed, formally ending the Boxer Rebellion. By the terms of agreement, the foreign nations received extremely favourable commercial treaties with China, foreign troops were permanently stationed in Peking, and China was forced to pay $333 million dollars as penalty for its rebellion. China was effectively a subject nation.

This Day In History

About Craig Hill

Social Justice Campaigner, Writer, Teacher and Business Consultant. Lived in China and USA. Dealing with disability. My articles have been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and many other international publications. Please consider donating, to support our social justice campaign, by clicking on the "Donations Page" button in the top menu.


9 thoughts on “June 20 1900 Boxer Rebellion begins in China

  1. Reblogged this on A Man Called Su.

    Posted by sujinyan | June 20, 2012, 14:47
  2. A lesson to learn. In times of peace, prepare for war. China was weak and unprepared. The result was that it was in many ways bullied by stronger nations. The boxer rebellion is almost similar to modern day terrorism. But that doesn’t make opium trade right either…

    And with a civilization as long as china, it isn’t going to forget this humiliation 100 years ago. If one wants to know the reason behind china’s militaristic government and general distrust to the West, just read about the Opium War.

    Two wrongs don’t make a right. But that is where the world is heading right now.

    ~ e

    Posted by The Cloud Chronicler | June 20, 2012, 21:03
    • That’s the truth of the matter. Dig into a country’s past, and usually an answer will present itself as to why it behaves as it does today. The only problem is sometimes we don’t dig deeply enough, and sometimes we dig too much! All things in moderation I suppose.

      Posted by cordovart | June 22, 2012, 11:42
    • One should also remember China’s 5,000 year history changed dramatically in 1949, and the Cultural Revolution and other “initiatives” probably account for a lot of today’s problems.

      Posted by Craig Hill | June 22, 2012, 12:28
  3. The movie “Sand Pebbles” featuring Steve McQueen captured the bloody and tragic war as a U.S. Navy
    patrol boat sails up the Yangtze River (I think it was the Yangtze) to rescue a missionary and his young daughter, Katherine Ross. It was written by one of the members of the crew, I believe, and was a big seller many years ago. A good movie worth finding on NetFlix or other source.

    Posted by jackandmarilynerickson | June 21, 2012, 10:37
  4. Reblogged this on China Daily Mail.

    Posted by China Daily Mail | June 24, 2012, 21:18


  1. Pingback: BOXERS NIL, BULLETS WON | FORESTALL - July 5, 2012

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