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Essay/Term paper: Rebellion in china around 1900

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Humanities

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Around 1900, after many

years of succumbing to the superior military of the West, the

Chinese stood up for their country. China was a weak,

backwards, country, exploited by the West. They felt that

they could counter the foreign domination, but reforms were

useless because they needed the West to help with the

reforms. But something sparked their confidence, and they

believed themselves to be able to conquer any foreign

power. This spark was the Society of Harmonious Fists,

commonly known as "Boxers." Combined with unhappy

people, and new weapons technology, the Chinese rebelled

against the foreign powers. The first reason of this

confidence was the Boxer Society, which formed in North

China after the Sino-Japanese war, but wasn't well known

until 1898 in Shantung. This organization was actually a cult,

following strange and absurd practices of defense. It had no

central leaders, and the practices varied in different

locations. Their goal was to rid China of the foreign menace.

The boxers were different from most other rebels of their

time. They would conduct public physical exercises that

were supposed to make a magical shield to protect one

against foreign bullets and shells. These looked similar to a

boxers training exercises so the westerners nicknamed the

members of the Society of Harmonious Fists "Boxers."

Rather then using foreign weapons, they relied on magical

spirits and swords, knives, staves, and polearms to drive the

foreign devils from their precious home country. The

membership of this group consisted of mostly the criminals,

poor, and illiterate of China who wore a simple uniform

consisting of a red armband, sash, or waistcloth. These

people truly believed that magic would protect them, and

help remove the foreigners from China. That gave them

enough confidence to try to destroy the foreigners.

Missionaries were killed, railroads were destroyed, and

churches were burned all in the name of independence from

foreign rule. Another key aspect in the rebellions against the

west was a series of natural disasters that swept China

during the last decade of the nineteenth century. Famine

struck, droughts prevented the planting of crops, and to top

it all, the Yellow river flooded, causing the destruction of

1,500 villages and 2,500 square miles of countryside. These

disaster lead to unhappiness of the people. In order to keep

them from turning on the government, the Dowager

Empress, Tsu Hsi, encouraged the peasants to rebel against

the foreigners. Some of these angry people joined the

Boxers, and others rebelled alone, but they had the Empress

behind them, giving them encouragement, and making them

feel ready to take on the demons from the West. The third

reason that the Chinese felt ready to face the West, was a

new weapons technology. This was the machine gun, which

had both physical and symbolic power. It could physically

kill many more people then a regular rifle, because of its

ability to spray bullets and fire more then one round per

pulling of the trigger. Symbolically, it represented a method

which the west had used to subdue the Chinese, and now

the Chinese were going to use it against the west. This

inspired confidence and made the people ready to fight,

knowing that they could fight machine gun with machine gun.

The Chinese were tired of being looked down at by the

west. The people were unhappy, armed, or bullet proof, and

the Queen encouraged them to fight the west. With all this

support how could one not feel ready to fight the West? 

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