What was the Boxer Rebellion
Boxer Rebellion was an uprising that took place in China against the foreign influence in the country. The increased interference of the imperialist powers in the internal matters of the country, their control over trade and the conversion of Chinese into Christianity are said to be the main reasons for this uprising that took place in Imperial China. The rebellion took place during the period of rule of the Qing dynasty which had weakened owing to foreign influence. The term, ‘Boxer Rebellion’, was used because the revolutionaries called themselves the ‘society of righteous and harmonious fists’ and in the Western countries they were referred to as the ‘Boxers’. Boxer rebellion is considered to be one of the incidents in the history of China that led to lot of bloodshed.
The rebellion began in the year 1898 and lasted for a period of three years before the natives were suppressed by the International forces in 1901. The resentment among the people in China began to rise when the imperialist powers began to exercise their power in matters other than trade. The treaties that they came up with were unequal and the weak administration under the Qing dynasty could not act to protect the interests of China. The missionaries from the west too were spreading Christianity at a rapid pace, threatening the culture of China. Thus, all these reasons summed up in the form of a rebellion against all the powers that threatened the interests of the Chinese.
The boxers consisted of peasants and the working class of China who had been deprived of their rights and livelihood due to the influence of the western powers. The western influence had led to change in policies of the Government making life miserable for the lower strata of the society. Also, the influence of opium had led to addiction among the Chinese and people in China blamed this kind of mindset to the conversion done by Christian missionaries. Boxers specialized in martial arts and other forms of self defense, which they believed would prove helpful in overpowering the powers of the west.
However, Boxer rebels were not well equipped to handle the advanced weapons of the alliance formed by international forces. Though in the initial stage many foreign nationals, missionaries and Chinese Christians were killed by the rebels, once the international troops landed in China, the scenario changed completely. The foreigners who were under siege at the Legation Quarter for 55 days were freed and the capital city of Beijing was taken over by the forces.