On this day in 1901, the Boxer Protocol was signed, thus ending the Boxer Rebellion. The rebellion began in 1900, led by a secret Chinese group called the Society of the Righteous and Harmonious Fists (Yihequan). The organisation protested encroaching foreign imperialism with the spread of Western and Japanese influence in the country. These individuals targeted foreigners, symbols of foreign influence like churches and railroad stations, and Chinese people who adopted Western Christianity. The rebels, who were mostly peasants from poor provinces with a large European influence, were termed ‘Boxers’ due to their rigorous practice of martial arts, which they believed would make them impervious to bullets. By June the Boxers, who had the support of the conservative government and Qing dynasty, were besieging the foreign legation district of Peking (now Beijing), where foreigners and Chinese Christians had taken refuge. The Qing empress, sympathetic to the Boxer cause, blocked a small international contingent sent to combat the rebels, and declared war on foreign nations with ties to China, sending the imperial army to join the siege of the legation quarter. While some elements in the Chinese leadership favored conciliation, foreign nations were forced to respond to this declaration, and assembled an international force comprising 20,000 troops from Japan, Russia, Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The Eight-Nation Alliance captured Peking in August 1900, thus successfully subduing the rebellion, which officially ended with the Boxer Protocol in September 1901. This ‘unequal treaty’ ordered the execution of Boxer rebels and some government officials, stationed foreign troops in Peking, forbade China from importing arms for two years, and forced China to pay over $330 million in reparations. The Boxer Rebellion, and the humiliating stipulations of the protocol, severely weakened the Qing dynasty, paving the way for the uprising in 1911 which led to China becoming a republic.
上次提到傅滿洲及“黃禍Yellow Peril”，不免聯想到義和團Boxer Rebellion與八國聯軍Eight-Nation Alliance。前一陣身邊人在讀一本德國人寫的關於義和團的小說《黃色風暴(Gelber Wind oder Der Aufstand der Boxer)》,是作者在寫了兩本非洲殖民題材的小說後的新作，可惜全是德文且超厚(640頁)，不然倒真是很想也拿來讀讀看。因為想到了小時聽說的曾祖母當年加入過“紅燈照”的典故，泛黃照片上一抹結痂的血紅。