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The Boxer Rebellion was the Dowager Empress’s method of not committing Royal troops to remove the foreign presence.
The ‘boxers’ were the common Chinese people (peasants, laborers, unemployed, mentally challenged, beggers, led by the criminal underground) to attack the Western foreigners so the Empress did not have to commit herself and claim that she was out of control of the people. They were called ‘boxers’ by the westerners because they did Kung Fu and the Westerners thought it was boxing.
The Boxer Rebellion was not against the Chinese government, it was against the Western occupation of Peking and other parts of China. The Dowager Empress conformed exactly to the tenets of Sun Tzu’s ART OF WAR by not committing your main forces and to use your ‘people’ first. Sun Tzu advocated a step-by-step procedure for processing hostilities. The Dowager had ‘plausible deniability’ in her role for encouraging the boxers to kill the Western devils.Source(s): Please see the excellent movie about the 1900 Boxer Rebellion: 55 DAYS AT PEKING
The Boxer Rebellion, more properly called the Boxer Uprising, or the Righteous Harmony Society Movement (義和團運動) in Chinese, was a violent anti-foreign, anti-Christian movement by the “Righteous Fists of Harmony,” Yihe tuan义和团 or Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists in China (known as “Boxers” in English), between 1898 and 1901. In response to imperialist expansion, growth of cosmopolitan influences, and missionary evangelism, and against the backdrop of state fiscal crisis and natural disasters, local organizations began to emerge in Shandong in 1898. At first, they were relentlessly suppressed by the Manchu-led Qing Dynasty of China. Later, the Qing Dynasty tried to expel western influence from China. Under the slogan “Support the Qing, destroy the foreign”, Boxers across North China attacked mission compounds. They killed missionaries and Chinese Christians.
In June 1900, Boxer fighters, lightly armed or unarmed, gathered in Beijing to besiege the foreign embassies. On June 21, the conservative faction of the Imperial Court induced the Empress Dowager, who ruled in the emperor’s name, to declare war on the foreign powers that had diplomatic representation in Beijing. Diplomats, foreign civilians, soldiers and some Chinese Christians retreated to the Legation Quarter where they held out for fifty-five days until the Eight-Nation Alliance brought 20,000 troops to their rescue.
The Boxer Protocol of September 7, 1901 ended the uprising and provided for severe punishments, including an indemnity of 67 million pounds.
The Qing Dynasty was greatly weakened, and was eventually overthrown by the 1911 revolution, which led to the establishment of the Chinese Republic.