Boxer Protocol

   After the allied forces marched into Beijing and crushed the Boxer Insurrection in 1900, the Empress Dowager and the imperial court fled to Xian and summoned Viceroy Li Hongzhang (1823–1901) to be in charge of negotiations with the foreign powers. Meanwhile, motivated by a desire to protect its own commercial interests in China, the United States reiterated its Open Door policy, insisting on the preservation of the territorial and administrative entity of China, a position eventually consented to by Britain, Germany, Japan, and Russia. Therefore after extensive discussions, partition of China was avoided by mutual restraint among the imperial powers, and a protocol was finally signed on September 7, 1901 by Li, acting for the Qing court, and the plenipotentiaries of 11 countries, officially ending the hostilities and providing for reparations to be made to the foreign powers. The indemnity included 450 million taels, the equivalent of $335 million, to be paid over the next 40 years, an amount so outrageously excessive that both the United States and Britain volunteered to rechannel some of the money to finance the education of Chinese students abroad. In addition to formal apologies, the Boxer Protocol also specified the execution of 10 high-ranking Chinese officials and the punishment of 100 others, as well as suspension of civic examinations in 45 cities to penalize the gentry class who sympathized with the rebels. Moreover, the settlement demanded the expansion of the Legation Quarter in Beijing, to be fortified and permanently garrisoned, and the destruction of forts and occupation of railway posts to ensure foreign access to Beijing from the sea. In sum, the defeat of the Boxer uprising was a complete humiliation to the Chinese government, and the Boxer Protocol made an independent China a mere fiction. With mounting nationalistic sentiment, the once mighty Qing Empire was well on its course of final collapse.
    Buck, David. Recent Chinese Studies of the Boxer Movement. New York: M. E. Sharpe, 1987;
    Esherick, Joseph. The Origins of the Boxer Uprising. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987;
    Preston, Diana. The Boxer Rebellion: Chinas War on Foreigners, 1900. London: Robinson, 2002.

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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