Chinese Revolution: Boxer Rebellion

Note: This topic / exam question now lies outside the Area of Study. It is scheduled for deletion.

Exam task

Section A Question 1/2 – Chinese Revolution


“Using three or four points, explain how the Boxer Rebellion contributed to the development of the Chinese Revolution to 1911.”

Student response

“The Boxer Rebellion was a fundamental catalyst in fostering revolutionary fervor in the Chinese populace, with the uprising imbuing a sense of nationalism in the common man and its failure illustrating the powerlessness of the Manchu Qing dynasty in the face of western imperialism. Hsu comments that “For many Chinese, the humiliation that followed the Boxer Rebellion created a strong determination to get rid of the Qing.” In addition, the war reparations the Qing were required to pay amounted to almost twice the annual revenue of the Qing court, meaning the Chinese economy would be crippled. This in turn meant that taxes were increased, instilling a dissatisfaction in the common Chinese citizen, who was now further burdened by the costly mistakes of its government. The Boxer Rebellion signaled the weakness of the Chinese military, who were reduced to a ceremonial force, with the superior European Armed Forces demonstrating to the Chinese populace the antiquity of their political and social infrastructures and the necessity for modernization to quell the incipient encroachment of China by the West. Leading to the reformist agenda of the Qing monarchy, described by Edwin Moise as having “neither real enthusiasm for the change that had been forced on it, nor great skill”, the rising and unmet expectations by the Chinese of change led to an intensification of revolutionary, anti-Qing sentiment.”

Teacher feedback

The student obviously has a good to very good understanding of the Boxer Rebellion and its revolutionary implications. This response has several structural problems, however. The opening sentence contains good ideas but it is long and slightly rambling. It is better to address the question in a clear and ‘punchy’ manner, e.g. “The Boxer Rebellion increased revolutionary fervour by increasing nationalism and highlighting the weaknesses of the Qing regime”. The response contains good points but they are not clearly indicated or ‘signposted’. The response also contains quotations from historians. This is not necessary for these Question 1/2 responses; the assessors prefer specific information and facts rather than quotations and perspectives. This response contains strong ideas and understanding but is too ambitious. Structure, detailed knowledge and clarity are more important for these paragraph responses that long, wordy sentences or flowery language. This response would likely score in the region of 7/10.

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