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Boxer Rebellion (义和团之乱)


muyongshi

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muyongshi

Hey I have been running across this topic recently and cannot get a straight answer from anybody what the Chinese view is on this period of history, the boxer's themselves, or the Manchurians or anything!

I know a ton of the history of that era but have been curious as to the Chinese take and teaching on it.

What have you guys heard?

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muyongshi

I'll start with the small bit that I have heard.

I've heard that they don't think the boxer's were that violent and that they only opposed the Foreign influence (该死的老外, 呵呵) and not the Manchurian rule.

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The Party supports the Boxers, and so the history books here generally toe that party line. Below are articles about a recent controversy over the Boxers that led to the shutdown of a well-known newspaper supplement and the dismissal of its editors.

http://www.zonaeuropa.com/20060227_1.htm

Criticisms of Freezing Point

http://www.zonaeuropa.com/20060126_1.htm

'Freezing Point' re-published an article written by Yuan Weishi, a professor in Guangzhou's Sun Yat-sen (Zhongshan) University, in mid-January. Yuan said in the article that the Chinese side should bear some responsibility in the triggering of many issues in Chinese history, even actions such as the burning of the Old Summer Palace by British and French armies in the late Qing Dynasty, during the boxer rebellion.

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trevelyan

The last and only time I was there, the Military Museum in Beijing had a single panel on the rebellion, all of which was devoted to photographing the destruction wrought by the 8 Allied Armies. No explanation for why the armies were in Beijing to start with, the seige of the foreign legations, massacre of the missionaries, etc.

Among the few Chinese I've chatted about with this, none knew the Boxers were originally anti-Qing. They were basically ignorant of the specific timeline, details regarding the escalating violence, and consequently treated the violence by the Chinese as equivalent to the 8 Allied Armies.

a trivia tidbit: future US President Herbert Hoover was involved in the fighting in Tianjin.

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againstwind

They are basically patriots. But their actions were unreasoning, especially their blind antiforeign thoughts were simply foolish. It was their exclusionism that Qing government imposed on for releasing repressed emotions since Opium War.

This is what I learnt from my textbook in high school. Seemingly the authorities have been supported Boxers since 1949.

However, I've heard more and more different opinions since I entered university. Many teachers, especially who teach Chinese literature or Chinese history, intensively criticize the Boxers for their inferior and blind nationalism.

Personally, I think it's hard to say Boxers are bad or not. Because it's not easy for the public to see original historical stuffs (in Chines at least) on that event. What we learnt are just second-hand, third-hand or N-hand information.

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Traditionally there are two Chinese views on the Boxer movement: the South and the North.

While the North has always been supportive of the Boxers (no wonder since the Boxers were basically the rural illiterate superstitious folks from Henan and Shandong), the South has always been highly critical of the movement even during the era when Empress Dowager rendered the Boxers a free hand.

When the Boxers attacked the foreign embassies in Beijing, the governors in the southern provinces, i.e. 張之洞, had been cracking hard on these Boxers.

When the ROC was established, those founders, i.e. Sun Yat Sen, didn't have any sympathy towards these country bumpkins even though they all resented the Allied Army's occupation of Beijing. However, on the other hand, Sun harbored a lot of sympathy towards the Taipings since they were also southerners.

When PRC was established, CCP elevated the status of Boxers because: (1) They came from the correct political class; (2) The Boxers were northerners like most CCP cadres were.

However, lately it seems the tide changes. Those late Qing governors like 張之洞 who cracked down hard on Boxers were accredited for their reform minds despite he had killed many Boxers.

In Chinese communities outside Mainland whose population are mostly southerners and their descendants, Boxers were regarded as villains. In the movie "Once Upon a Time in China II", the White Lotus Sect, which was a sub-group of Boxers, were portrayed with great discontempt.

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(1) They came from the correct political class; (2) The Boxers were northerners like most CCP cadres were.

I think it's probably mainly (1). Is (2) really true? Mao's from Hunan, a southern province. Who's from the north?

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muyongshi

Don't forget the whole time gap here...location isn't everything. There was an entirely different government in between there and that of course skews their present view of the past as well. So I don't think it really has too much to do with where Chairman Mao is from.

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studentyoung
When the ROC was established, those founders, i.e. Sun Yat Sen, didn't have any sympathy towards these country bumpkins even though they all resented the Allied Army's occupation of Beijing.
孙中山将义和团的反帝斗争精神视为中国的“民情”、“民气”、“民族思想”。义和团那种浴血奋战、视死如归的英雄气概和斗争精神表明,帝国主义列强若想瓜分中国,就必然会遭到中国人民的坚决反抗,不将中国人“屠戮过半”,就不会有“安枕之时”[18]。“象庚子年发生的义和团,他们的始意是要排除欧美势力的,因为要排除欧美的势力,所以和八国联军打仗”。“义和团的勇气始初是锐不可挡的”。在杨村一战中,义和团虽然遭到帝国主义八国联军的血腥枪杀,“血肉横飞”,“伤亡枕籍”,“还是前仆后继,其勇锐之气殊不可当,真是令人惊奇佩服。所以,经过那次血战之后,外国人才知道中国还有民族思想,这种民族是不可消灭的”[19]。对义和团的历史功绩予以高度的评价。
  在孙中山的中文著述中,绝少出现污蔑义和团的字眼。有的论者过去往往根据孙中山《致港督卜力书》中提到的清政府将“妖言惑众,煽乱危邦”的“酿祸奸民”“褒以忠义”[24]和孙中山在《支那问题真理》中3处称义和团运动为“拳匪之乱”,而断言在对待义和团的态度上,孙中山与康梁维新派并无二致,都是持敌对态度的。近年来,有的论者对此提出异议,认为《致港督卜力书》是由陈少白等起草,经何启修改译成英文后递交的。孙中山当时不在香港,并未参与其事,只是同意领衔签名而已,不应由他来负文中攻击义和团的责任。至于《支那问题真理》中3处称义和团运动为“拳匪之乱”,则是译者的失误,应译为“义和团运动”较为合适。[25]笔者认为,孙中山虽然轻视义和团,他所领导的惠州起义也明确表明“并非义和团团党”,揭起“保洋灭满”的旗帜,以“驱除满洲政府,独立民权政体”作为斗争的目标,[26]自诩为“举动文明,毫无排外”的革命[27]。与“扶清灭洋”的义和团,在斗争的宗旨、斗争的方法和手段上,截然不同。但两者之间并没有直接的冲突,孙中山也没有对义和团持敌对的态度。《致港督卜力书》虽有攻击义和团的词句,但其出发点则是为了揭露清政府。在孙中山的著作中,仅出现1处“拳匪之变”的字样,但也不应视为污蔑义和团的[28]。在宫崎寅藏的著作中,曾有1处记叙孙中山称义和团运动为“拳匪之乱”[29],这在很大程度上也属作者的记录问题。孙中山更多地称义和团运动为“拳乱”、“拳变”,但他对上述译作中出现的攻击和污蔑义和团的词句并未作过辩正,说明他对此是予以默认的。事实上,当时萦绕在孙中山脑际的主要问题,是怎样在国际上孤立满清政府,在国内唤起汉族人民的民族主义情绪,推翻满清政府的封建统治。至于怎样称呼义和团,他并无多大的兴趣。

http://cache.baidu.com/c?word=%CB%EF%3B%D6%D0%C9%BD%2C%D2%E5%BA%CD%3B%CD%C5%3B%B5%C4%3B%CC%AC%B6%C8&url=http%3A//www%2Erenwu%2Enet/web/Article/ShowArticle%2Easp%3FArticleID%3D33255&p=882a9147a48709e60be2947f42408f&user=baidu

Is (2) really true? Mao's from Hunan, a southern province. Who's from the north?

Deng Xiaoping ‘s from Sichuan, also a southern province. Zhou Enlai’s from Zhejiang. Eight out of ten in the top ten Generals (十大元帅) are from southern provinces: Zhu De’s from Sichuan; Peng Dehuai’s from Hunan; Liu Bocheng’s from Sichuan; He long’s Hunan; Chen Yi’s from Sichuan; Luo longheng’s from Hunan; Nie Rongjin’s from Sichuan, Ye Jianying’s from Guangdong (Ye is my favorite among them).

Thanks!

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muyongshi

Now is maybe what Ian_Lee means is the south like Guangdong, Hong Kong, and the like because there was much more political turmoil in some senses in those areas?

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Almost all the CCP leaders are from the south. Hu Jingtao. Jiang Zemin. Deng Xiaoping. Mao Zedong. The support for the Boxers is much more due to ideology than regional preference.

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muyongshi

That would be my take on it too. However there is regional questions too as it relates to where the foreigners actually were. Most of them were in port cities and not farther inland. I did say most.

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Where was the CCP base?

Yenan -- Shaanxi Province. Isn't that a northern province? Where comes the million-strong PLA that defeated the KMT army? Where did the 8th route Army conduct guerrilla warfare?

The leaders of CCP were not northerners but those who fought on the battlefield were mostly northerners.

Who ever said Sun Yat Sun was antagonistic towards the Boxers? Sun just pitied them. But Sun had labelled the Boxers as "Boxer Bandits" -- of course leftist historians would want to make Sun look like politically correct by claiming that it was 陈少白who used the term. But 陈少白 was widely known to be very close to Sun (陈少白 was the first one to shed blood for the founding of ROC), without Sun's consent 陈少白 would not write on behalf of Sun.

No matter how much PRC historians want to portray the Boxers as patriots, in essence they were just illiterate superstitious fools being exploited by Empress Dowager for political ends.

And if those Boxers were real patriots, they should turn their weapons toward those corrupt Manchu officials first like the Taipings had.

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muyongshi:

Read the history of Boxer Movement please.

When Empress Dowager and her ignorant Manchu court Mandarins engaged in killing foreigners indiscriminately, the governors of the southern provinces, mostly ethnic Han, proclaimed neutrality (meaning that whatsoever happened between Beijing and the 8 intervening countries were none of their business) and cracked down hard on the spillover of these northern rural bumpkins.

Foreigners in other port cities like Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuhan,...etc were guaranteed safety by these Han governors. Hardly any foreigner was hurted outside of Shandong and Hebei provinces during the chaos.

In fact,

義和團運動爆發後,湖廣總督張之洞主張嚴加鎮壓。八國聯軍進逼京津,與兩江總督劉坤一、兩廣總督李鴻章聯絡東南各省督撫,同外國駐上海領事訂立《東南互保章程》九條。

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muyongshi
Read the history of Boxer Movement please.

I have read it and studied it from many different points of view and my main point for this thread is to get what the Chinese think about it. Hence why I haven't inserted to much into topics because I am trying to get at another angle.

When Empress Dowager and her ignorant Manchu court Mandarins engaged in killing foreigners indiscriminately, the governors of the southern provinces, mostly ethnic Han, proclaimed neutrality (meaning that whatsoever happened between Beijing and the 8 intervening countries were none of their business) and cracked down hard on the spillover of these northern rural bumpkins.

Foreigners in other port cities like Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuhan,...etc were guaranteed safety by these Han governors. Hardly any foreigner was hurted outside of Shandong and Hebei provinces during the chaos.

That whole thing is only half truth. Many, many other foreigners were caught in the middle of this and just as many were killed outside as inside. This my friends is what is called politics. The governments may have declared neutrality and "protection" but a lot of those type of groups (whether were specifically the boxer's or not) was involved in this in the south. Some covertly supported by government officials others not but all with the same mindset. Kill the foreigners and get rid of those that support them (doesn't help that many of those groups were brain washed).

And what is this excerpt from?

If you are telling me this is what is taught in China that is fine and I am interested to know but what you are telling me is that the in reality the boxer movement was a lot smaller scale than it actually was.

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muyongshi
And if those Boxers were real patriots, they should turn their weapons toward those corrupt Manchu officials first like the Taipings had.

And actually an underlying movement of the rebellion WAS to get rid of the Manchurians. That is one that is documented but it is not taught to the Chinese because that would encourage rebellion against government and we all know why they don't want that.

The Manchurians encouraged the fight against the foreign "powers" at the same time fighting the boxers (on a small scale) to gain favor with those same powers. The boxer's hated everyone that wasn't in adherence with their way of doing things so they willing fought the government and the foreigners.

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HashiriKata
The Manchurians encouraged the fight against the foreign "powers" at the same time fighting the boxers (on a small scale) to gain favor with those same powers. The boxer's hated everyone that wasn't in adherence with their way of doing things so they willing fought the government and the foreigners.
It's a typical scene when the foreign powers are involved. Whereever they go, they set up things so that the local fight among themselves to make it easier for them to subjugate, rob and exploit (Just look at most recent world's conflicts as examples). I therefore don't think "foreign sources" of information are any better or more neutral.
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muyongshi

Oh, I agree with you which is why I so badly want to hear these other perspectives on it because the truth always lies in between.

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muyongshi:

Let me translate what I excerpted:

義和團運動爆發後,湖廣總督張之洞主張嚴加鎮壓。八國聯軍進逼京津,與兩江總督劉坤一、兩廣總督李鴻章聯絡東南各省督撫,同外國駐上海領事訂立《東南互保章程》九條。

After the outbreak of the Boxer Movement, the governor of Hubei & Hunan, Zhang esq, advocated serious crackdown. When the 8-countries Allied Army advanced towards Beijing and Tiantsin, Zhang liasioned with the governor of Jiangsu-Jiangxi, Liu esq, and the governor of Guangdong-Guangxi, Li esq, as well as the other governors of southeastern provinces, and jointly signed with the Foreign Counsulates in Shanghai on the "Convention of mutual-protection of Southeast (provinces)".

Here are the details of the 東南互保章程 (signed in Shanghai in 1900) :

一、上海租借歸各國共同保護,長江及蘇杭內地各歸各督撫保護,互不相擾,以保全中外商民人民產業為主。

二、上海租借共同保護章程,以另立條約。

三、長江及蘇杭內地各國商民教士產業,均歸南洋大臣劉、兩湖總督張,允許認真時切保護,並移知各省督撫及嚴飭各該該文武官員一律認真保證。現以出示禁止謠言,嚴拿匪徒。

四、長江內地中國兵力以足使地方安靜,各岸口已有的各國兵輪者仍照常停泊,惟須約束人等水手不可登岸。

五、各國以後如不待中國督撫商允,竟多派兵輪駛入長江等處,以致百姓懷疑、借端啟釁,毀洋商教士的人命產業,事後中國不認賠償。

六、吳淞吉長江各砲台,各國兵輪不可近台停泊,水手不可在砲台附近地方操練,彼此免至誤犯。

七、上海製造局火藥局一帶,各國允兵不可游戈駐泊,及派洋教兵巡府前往,以其各不相干擾。此軍火專為防剿長江內地土匪,保護中外商民之用,設有督巡提用,各國無庸驚疑。

八、內地如有各國洋教士及遊歷洋人,偶遇偏僻未經設防地方,切勿冒險前往。

九、凡租借內一切設法防護知識,均需安靜辦理,切勿倉皇,以搖人心。

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muyongshi:

By the way, 東南互保章程 is quite a well-known watershed event (the first time regional authorities en masse defied the central command) during the Boxer Movement in Chinese History. If you want to know it in detail and its influence on the subsequent events, there are 34,000+ entries in the Google search.

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