The Boxer Rebellion was a peasant uprising that attempted
to drive all foreigners from China and to destroy the Manchu Ch'ing dynasty.
The Boxers were a secret society known as the I-ho ch'uan (Righteous and Harmonious Fists). Its members practiced certain boxing rituals in the belief that this gave them supernatural powers and made them invulnerable to bullets.
After Japan defeated China in 1895, Japan and the Western Powers began to control more and more of the Chinese economy. In reaction the Boxer movement attracted popular support. As early as 1899, Boxers were killing Chinese Christians.
In 1900 the Dowager Empress persuaded the Boxers to drop their opposition to the Ch'ing dynasty and unite with it to destroy the foreigners. All over northern China Missionaries and other foreigners were killed, and in Peking the Boxer besieged foreign diplomats who took refuge in the foreign legations.
In 1900 an international force landed at Tientsin and fought its way to Peking. In August the siege was raised, the city looted, and the imperial palaces were sacked. The court fled to Sian, and representatives of the Dowager Empress had to sue for peace. The terms of the agreement signed in 1901 were the harshest imposed on China by Western powers.