Boxer Rebellion Impacts

9 September 2016

The Boxer Uprising and Rebellion in 1901 further weakened an already destabilised Qing Government and was a key component in governmental change. After the first Opium war with Great Britain from 1839- 1842, China was coming under an increase in pressure from various foreign powers. Following the war, foreigners were given the rights to control trade, collect customs money and run the courts in dozens of Chinese cities, called ‘Treaty Ports’.

China had suffered the violation of the powers, although once it was suddenly made clear that the country was defenceless against modern military organisation and weapons, this encroachment was flung into a scramble for concessions. This scramble intensified the already present Chinese hatred of the foreigner. Hong Kong was given to the British in 1842, Indochina was taken by the French in 1884, and Taiwan was taken by Japan in 1894 following their war success over China. Germany and Russia also started to gain influence throughout China (Salem Press, 1992).

Boxer Rebellion Impacts Essay Example

The Qing government, also known as the Ch’ing government, was heavily manipulated by the West. This led to the distrust and lack of support by the Chinese public – severely weakening the government. The Boxer Uprising and Rebellion during 1901 was a pivotal point in the eventual destruction and downfall of the Qing by Sun Yat-Sen and the formal abdication of the last emperor Puyi in 1912 (Szczepanski, 2013). CONTEXT OF THE REBELLION Throughout the 1890’s many secret societies and militia were formed and worked to solely oppose foreigners inside China.

The most active society was the I-ho Ch’uan or The Righteous and Harmonious Fists. This group in its ceremonies practiced the ancient Chinese art of shadow boxing, thus the West nicknamed the group the ‘Boxers’. The Boxers had always been opposed to foreign control inside China, although more and more, however, the group began to oppose missionaries, especially after Germany started to dominate Shantung in 1898 (Salem Press, 1992). Kuang-hsu, the Chinese Emperor was in a difficult position.

The Boxers wanted to rid China of foreign influence, while the foreign powers implored the government to stand firm against the Boxers. For a period of time in the summer of 1898, it seemed as if tensions and problems would quell. Emperor Kuang-hsu had decided to reform the Chinese government and had introduced ‘One Hundred Days of Reform’. Although this came to a sudden end when the emperor’s aunt, Empress Dowager Cixi and her chief advisor Jung-lu staged a coup, Kuang-hsu was arrested and Cixi became the ruler of China. The Empress Dowager was committed to getting rid of foreign control.

With the support of many officials in North China, the Boxers began to sabotage foreign railroads and settlements. In 1899 attacks on people began. This included the murders of foreign missionaries, numerous massacres of Chinese Christians, the murder of the chancellor to the Japanese legation, the German minister Clemens von Ketteler as well as the destruction of railways, churches and other ‘foreign’ structures (Miffin, 2001). The Empress Dowager believed the Boxers when they claimed that the foreigner’s bullets could not harm them.

The Boxers motto became “Fu-Chieng, mieh –yang”: Support the Ch’ing (Qing), exterminate the foreigners (Salem Press, 1992). On June 21 1900, the Ch’ing government declared war on all the treaty powers in China. She called up the Chinese army and Boxers to defend the country from a foreign invasion that was sure to come. By Late July, a powerful international force of twenty thousand men including Germans, Japanese, Americans, British, Russians, French, Austrians and Italians were deployed in retaliation to the attacks, under the command of Alfred von Waldersee.

Within two weeks of fighting, the force made their way to Peking (Beijing) and defeated the Chinese army and Boxer units utterly defeating the Empress and her government, who eventually signed the Boxer Protocol in 1901. The Boxer Protocol had massive ramifications impacting China socially, politically and economically. ECONOMIC CHANGE In 1899, China suffered a massive trade deficit of 69 million taels and a government budgetary imbalance of approximately 12 million taels. To meet this deficit the court increased taxes and provincial contributions. This burden ultimately fell on the people.

The Boxer Rebellion had a severe blow to the Chinese people and the already crippled Chinese economy. Through its signing, China had a total indemnity of 450 million taels owed to the Allies; this had to be payed within 39 years at 4% interest per annum (Arora, 2011). This is verified through the Boxer Protocol Article VI “…His Majesty the Emperor of China agreed to pay the Powers an indemnity of 450 000 000 of Haikwan taels…. ” (California, 2011). This further weakened the Chinese economy (who were already struggling with debts) and made the Manchu government almost go into bankruptcy.

It is estimated that the entire Qing government income was only about 250 million taels at the time (1900), making the indemnity excluding interest worth almost two entire years of government revenue (Arora, 2011). The Protocol additionally permitted all Allies to be based in Peking (Beijing) and have unrestricted access to China’s goods and resources. Compounded with the large reparations, the Protocol had an extremely harmful effect on the Ch’ing dynasty’s financial conditions and evidently obstructed China’s economic growth.

Enormous amounts of money flowed out of the country, while very limited money was coming in. This lack of income also forced the Chinese to take imbalanced loans with Western countries often with high interest rates. POLITICAL CHANGE With the singing and commencement of the Boxer Protocol, China’s national rights were further violated. The terms of the Protocol interfered with China’s internal administration and interfered heavily with the government’s foreign policies. Also, its national defence force was badly taken aback (Purcell, 1963).

This is further reinforced and corroborated through the Boxer Protocol itself. Article V stipulates that, “China has agreed to prohibit the importation into its territory of arms and ammunition, as well as the materials exclusively used for the manufacture of arms and ammunition”. Article VIII further promotes the idea that China’s defence force and politics was negatively affected through the signing of the Protocol, “The Chinese government has consented to raze the forts of Taku, and those of which impede free communication between Peking and the sea (California, 2011).

Within the court, the Empress Dowager realised the need for reform despite her ultra conservative views. To save the Qing government and the Manchu Dynasty, institutional reform had to be introduced. The Empress now reluctantly, instigated in 1901, opened the way for many of the ‘Hundred Days’ reforms (which she had previously opposed and prematurely ended in 1898) (Salem Press, 1992). Education was modernised alongside with military training although was very difficult due to the Boxer Protocol stipulations regarding military powers.

Chinese officials toured the West, studying the different systems of government. A plan was made for a constitutional monarchy inside China; elections were held in 1909 and 1910 for regional and national parliaments. Although these reforms in the end came too late; a number of republican, nationalist and secret society organisations joined in the Revolutionary Alliance, led by Sun Yat-sen. This coalition managed to topple the Qing Empire on October 10, 1911. SOCIAL CHANGE

The Boxer Protocol, a direct result from the Boxer Rebellion was a further blow to what little integrity the Qing government still possessed. The Chinese people started to greatly doubt the powers of the Qing government due to their swift failure and humiliation in the hands of the Western powers (Arora, 2011). This is reinforced through H. Miffin who states, ‘Mobilisation of the masses of traditional fighters against well-equipped foreign forces was something new to the Boxers’; this was a direct result of the Empress Dowagers ‘success’ in the early termination of the ‘Hundred Days’ reforms.

By preventing this reform, she averted China from receiving and rapidly acquiring modern armaments and institutions required to deal with foreigners on their own terms. The Qing government attempted many times to initiate efforts to try and restabilise the administration of the government although Sun Yat-sen’s movements had won the support in various sections of the Chinese population. The Qing simply lost the respect of the Chinese populous as well as the respect from the foreign powers; China lost considerable support from all parties.

As a result Nationalism became a stronger force among the Chinese people. This unity between the people convinced many Chinese, that revolution, not reform, was the only effective way of saving China. Having failed to repel foreigners in the battlefield as well as politically, the Chinese population concentrated on accusing the Manchu (Qing) government for their inability to defend and protect China. The downfall of the Qing dynasty quickened when revolutionary activities received more social support (Woo, 2007). This sources argument on

Nationalism is further validated by the book, Great Events 1900 vol 1, ‘Many people with skills and education refused and rejected serving a government that was perceived to be so incompetent’. CONCLUSION Overall, a main cause for the collapse of the Qing government in 1911 was greatly owed to foreign interference and intervention surrounding the events and the aftermath of the Boxer Rebellion throughout China. Progressively heavier foreign influence and teachings gave to the eventual rise to the rebellion, which opened a gateway for increased foreign activity inside China (Arora, 2011).

This is further analysed by H. Miffin, ‘The aftermath of the Boxer rebellion and through the incorporation of the Boxer Protocol… established a system of foreign garrisons, reaffirming foreign immunities and privileges inside China’. The Chinese court underwent severe economic, political and social consequences that harshly impacted an already debilitated Qing government forcing the court into making unwanted decisions, subsequently reforming its government and social structure.

The rebellion was a key piece in the failure of the Qing, and paired with the bad leadership of Empress Dowager Cixi, it was the final blow in the government system which had rained successful for the previous 2,000 years. Bibliography Arora, R. (2011, May). Qing Dynasty Collapse – The Boxer Rebellion. California, U. o. (1901). The Boxer Protocol. Beijing, China. Landor, A. H. (1901). China and the Allies vol. 1. New York: Charles Scribners Sons. Miffin, H. (2001). Boxer Rebellion. Retrieved Febuary 2013, from History Study Centre: http://www. historystudycentre. o. uk/search/displayMultiResultReferenceItem. do? Multi=yes&ResultsID=13C9F659100&fromPage=search&ItemNumber=2&QueryName=reference Purcell, V. (1963). The Boxer Uprising – A Background Study. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Salem Press. (1992). 1900 – 1916. In Great Events 1900-1916 vol. 1 (p. 4). Szczepanski, K. (2013). The Boxer Rebellion. Retrieved March 6, 2013, from http://asianhistory. about. com/od/modernchina/a/Timeline-Of-The-Boxer-Rebellion. htm World, C. o. (2000). The Boxer Aftermath. Retrieved March 9, 2013, from

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