A Chinese historical view of the Boxer Rebellion (1976)

Although Western historians and conservative Chinese historians have been critical of the Boxers, an alternative view in China sees the Boxers as patriotic defenders of China. This account appeared in China in 1976:

“The world-shaking Yi Ho Tuan Movement [Boxers] is the glory and pride of the Chinese people. It laid a cornerstone for the great victory of their revolution fifty years later. It gave the invaders a taste of the people’s heavy fist and shattered their fond dream of partitioning China. Earlier, they had arrogantly boasted that with 10,000 soldiers carrying modern arms they could subjugate all China.

Clamour for partition had filled the air. But after the Yi Ho Tuan mounted the political stage, this claptrap was no longer heard – not because the imperialists had changed in their aggressive nature and their desire to carve up China, but because the mighty Chinese people had taught them a bitter lesson through the Yi Ho Tuan…

To the Chinese people the Yi Ho Tuan Movement brought a better understanding of imperialism, strengthening them in attacks against its rule in China. The imperialist powers liked to pose as guardians of civilisation. The crimes of their soldiery on Chinese soil bared this lie, unmasking their real savagery for all to see.

Further, the Yi Ho Tuan Movement exposed the treasonous character of the Qing government. It both weakened the feudal ruling power and precipitated the subsequent growth of the revolutionary movement.

These great and historic merits of the Yi Ho Tuan can never be obliterated. Yet the Yi Ho Tuan Movement has long been abused and slandered by the imperialists and all reactionary forces. In its own day, the imperialists labelled it a manifestation of the ‘hostility of the yellow race towards the white race’ and of ‘Chinese hatred for European culture and civilisation’. Imperialist lackeys dubbed it ‘irrational’. And 50 years later… a US Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, slandered it as an anti-foreign disturbance…

Not in vain did the Yi Ho Tuan heroes shed their blood. Their patriotism and dauntless courage will inspire the Chinese people forever. In the annals of the Chinese nation, the anti-imperialist and anti-feudal exploits of the Yi Ho Tuan will always be a lustrous chapter.”