Aug 7, 2023
Last time we spoke about the escalating situation in China involving foreigners and the emerging Yihequan Boxers. The incident in Liyuantun had reached a boiling point between the Yihequan and Christian’s backed by foreign actors. As hard as the Qing government tried to intermediate, they simply could not stop the boxer movement from growing. Boxers were gathering en masse in Shandong and Zhili trying to fight back against what they saw as a foreign enemy. Fight they did, but in the end the Qing government was forced to stamp down upon the ring leaders behind the multiple boxing groups until a peace was finally restored in troublesome Shandong. Yet while the Boxers went home as they say, were they truly done? The scramble for China had created a new type of enemy, one not so easily controlled and soon would make themselves heard loud and clear.
#60 Spirit Boxers & the battle at Senluo Temple
Welcome to the Fall and Rise of China Podcast, I am your dutiful host Craig Watson. But, before we start I want to also remind you this podcast is only made possible through the efforts of Kings and Generals over at Youtube. Perhaps you want to learn more about the history of Asia? Kings and Generals have an assortment of episodes on history of asia and much more so go give them a look over on Youtube. So please subscribe to Kings and Generals over at Youtube and to continue helping us produce this content please check out www.patreon.com/kingsandgenerals. If you are still hungry for some more history related content, over on my channel, the Pacific War Channel where I cover the history of China and Japan from the 19th century until the end of the Pacific War.
And so the struggle over the temple at Liyuantun had finally come to an end, peace was restored, or was it? China was still being carved up by the great powers, the christians and missionaries were still running amok and in 1898 Emperor Guangxu began his “one hundred days of reform”. A rising star within the Qing court named Kang Youwei had begun pushing progressive reforms upon the emperor. The self strengthening movement we talked about a long time ago had focused on military matters, but laced governmental and societal reforms. These limitations were showcased horribly with China’s defeat during the First Sino-Japanese War when China was forced yet again to abide by unequal treaties and now the other great powers were literally tearing her apart. The abysmal situation led to the perfect grounds for individuals like Kang Youwei and the Qing politician Liang Qichao to advocate for some rather drastic reforms, many of which the Emperor agreed to. Kang Youwei sought a blend of New Text Confucianism and western inspired modernization, in some ways it was like a Meiji restoration. It should be no surprise Kang Youwei sought such a thing, as he studied in Japan and was an avid reader of western literature. Kang Youwei wrote to the emperor “China is confronted with the gravest danger in her history” and his reply was an unprecedented two and a half audience with the Emperor. According to an eyewitness, a scholar present, the Emperor complained to Kang Youwei that the conservatives in the Qing court were ruining China with inaction. To this Kang Youwei agreed and kept pressuring the emperor the need for radical change. “You, the Emperor, I would ask you to remove yourself from the seclusion in which you live. COme boldly forward”. Well that is just what Emperor Guangxu did.
A stream of imperial edicts called for changes to the examination system to stress practical studies; to reorganize and modernize the military; to establish a bureau for agriculture, industry, commerce; to translate and print more western books; to build a modern education system; to change the absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy, the list could go on and on, but I think you get the picture, think more modern. Between June and September of 1898 he had issued some 40 imperial edicts.
This all resulted in a great divide within the Qing court between the reformers and conservatives. To the conservatives, it was simply heresy to overthrow China’s traditional laws and customs, for some they believed it was all some sort of evil plot concocted by foreign powers as a means of carving up China further. Such was the thinking of Prince Duan, he was basically the leader of the conservatives in the Qing Court and very loyal to Empress Dowager Cixi. He suspected the reforms were a plot designed by foreign advisors like Timothy Richards and Ito Hirobumi. The speed and radical nature of the ideas scared the hell out of the conservatives. Empress Dowager Cixi at first appearance to acquiesce towards her nephews reform program, he had turned 27 and was officially in charge, wink wink as they say. Cixi had temporarily retreated to the Summer palace under the guise she was retiring. However as Guangxu’s reforms began to touch on some lets say, more sensitive topics like the abolition of sinecures, that being positions within the Qing dynasty that provided little work but good salaries, well she did not like that.
At this point there are two stories about plots between Guangxu and Cixi. One has it Guangxu acted first, the other has it being Cixi, regardless both did plot against another. Cixi thought the reforms were too drastic so she plotted to restore her regency via a coup d’etat. Now either Guangxu just assumed she was going to do this, or someone leaked the plot to him, but he acted swiftly against her. He asked his two greatest reformer allies, Kang Youmei and Tan Sitong to devise a plan to thwart Cixi. The plan called for arrested Cixi, basically forcing her into house arrest, pretty typical Qing royal family stuff. However the agent of these plans was terribly chosen. Yuan Shikai, someone boy oh boy I have written a lot about on my personal channel, the pacific war channel cough cough check out my warlord series, well he seems to have been working for both sides or was legitimately loyal to Cixi.
Guangxu planned to use Yuan Shikai not just to arrest Cixi, but perhaps also to kill the Manchu General Ronglu who was currently spearheading the coup d’etat for Cixi. Instead of going over to stop or kill him, Yuan Shikai literally just told Ronglu everything about Guangxu’s plot. It’s alleged Yuan Shikai took a train on September 20th of 1898, arriving to Tianjin where he spoke to Ronglu, thus exposing the plot. Ronglu acted swiftly by taking an army into the Forbidden city at dawn on september 21st and placed Emperor Guangxu under house arrest. Eunuchs literally burst into the Emperor’s room and he was imprisoned on an island known as the Ocean Terrace in a lake near the west wall of the Forbidden city. Yuan Shikai was appointed Governor of Shandong Province and went on his merry way. Kang Youwei fled into exile leaving behind some of his closest disciples and allies in Beijing who would become known as “the 6 martyrs or also known as the 6 gentlemen of Wuxu”. These being Tan Sitong, Kang Guangren, Lin Xu, Yang Shenxiu, Yang Rui and Liu Guangdi. Why were they called martyrs you may ask, well Cixi had them beheaded on September 28th at Caishikou in Beijing. It is alleged, she did this primarily because a few of them were planning to infiltrate her residence and assassinate her. They also happened to be the most prominent reformers apart from their leader Kang Youwei who had managed to flee to Japan.
An imperial proclamation was made stating “the Emperor being ill, the empress dowager has resumed the regency”. Rumors began to spread that Guangxu had been murdered or was going to be executed. Sir Claude MacDonald even warned the Qing government that the foreign powers would view Guangxu’s execution “with extreme disfavor” and followed this up by sending a French doctor to see if Guangxu was alive and well. Things looked horrible in Beijing, but it was getting even worse in places like Shandong.
Shandong had been facing fiscal crisis after fiscal crisis, but with the foreign powers carving up China, things really took a turn for the worse at end of the 1890s. The Yellow River was flooding, the second sino-japanese war had hit her hard and the foreigners, particularly Germany were carving chunks out of her and exploiting them. The Qing government was increasing taxes to pay for all the problems and the commoners were being hit hard. In the year of 1898, it looked like Shandong was going to face a prolonged famine. A salt smuggler named Tong Zhenqing began leading a band of 400 bandits carrying small red flags around the border area of Shandong and Jaingsu. They stole grain and cattle, not something out of the norm for the area, but their flags carried slogans stating “smash western learning”. It is alleged the group sought to find the Big Sword Society, but before they did the Qing forces managed to surround them, killing a few and arresting others. Tong’s little insurgency fell, but then in the closeby village of Dangshan another similar force rose up with flags bearing the slogan “couplet about destroying the catholics”. The Qing yet again sent military units to quell the insurrection quickly. Though these little rebel groups were quelled quickly, it seemed such bandits were only getting bolder and bolder.
Empress Dowager Cixi appointed General Ronglu as the new minister of War. He was also in charge of reforming the metropolitan armies to keep the peace and quickly formed the new “Wuwei Corps”. Their official job was to protect Beijing and they were western trained and equipped with modern western weaponry. They would consist of 5 divisions led by some of China’s present and future heavy hitters, Ronglu, Nie Shicheng, Song Qing, Yuan Shikai and Dong Fuxiang. Dong Fuxiang alongside Ma Anliang, Ma Haiyan, Ma Fulu and Ma Fuxiang had been brought over from the northwest leading a force around 10,000 strong. The muslim troops were nicknamed the “kansu braves”. In July of 1898 as they made their way to the capital, Dong Fuxiangs men attacked some churches in Baoding. Indeed Dong Fuxiang unlike his other colleagues was publicly hostile towards foreigners. Westerners would go on to describe his force as the “10,000 islamic rabble. A disorderly rabble of 10,000 men, most of whom were mohammedans. 10,000 mohammedan cutthroats feared by even the chinese”.
Antiforeign riots sprang up, particularly in Beijing around the foreign legation quarter. The situation became so serious, foreign diplomats began summoning forces from nearby foreign fleets to help defend the foreign community in Beijing. This only increased the tension bringing about further incidents in late september and early october of 1898. Soldiers from the brand new United States marine corps were called over to help the foreign community in Beijing. By late october rumors began to circulate the kansu army were going to kill all the foreigners in Beijing! On October 23rd it was said “troops are to act tomorrow when all foreigners in Peking are to be wiped out and the olden age return for China”. Dong Fuxiang’s men were causing such chaos, Empress Dowager Cixi ordered the Kansu army to be transferred over to Nanyuan. Dong Fuxiang forces went over there only to cause violence towards railway workers near the Marco Polo Bridge nearly killing two british engineer. As described to us by Minister MacDonald’s cable to London on October 28th of 1898 "A serious menace to the safety of Europeans is the presence of some 10,000 soldiers, who have come from the Province of Kansu, and are to be quartered in the hunting park, two miles south of Peking. A party of these soldiers made a savage assault on four Europeans, who were last Sunday visiting the railway line at Lukou Chiao. The foreign Ministers will meet this morning to protest against these outrages. I shall see the Yamcm to-day, and propose to demand that the force of soldiers shall be removed to another province, and that the offenders shall be rigorously dealt with." On the 29th he telegraphed again: "The Foreign Representatives met yesterday, and drafted a note to the Yamfin demanding that the Kansu troops should be withdrawn at once. The troops in question have not been paid for some months, and are in a semi-mutinous state. They have declared their intention to drive all Europeans out of the north of China, and have cut the telegraph wires and destroyed portions of the railway line between Lukouchiao and Paoting Fu. Some disturbances have been caused by them on the railway to Tien-tsin, but the line has not been touched, and traffic has not been interrupted. In the city here all is quiet. The presence of these troops in the immediate vicinity of Peking undoubtedly constitutes a serious danger to all Europeans. The Yamfin gave me a promise that the force should be removed, but have not yet carried it into effect." The great powers had enough of the Kansu issue and demanded Dong Fuxiang’s force be removed from the Beijing area completely, and the Qing acquiesced. Then in early 1899 the violence shifted from the Beijing area to the foreign concessions.
In February, Russian troops killed 47 and injured 51 Chinese over a tax dispute in the Liaodong peninsula. The following month, the Germans launched a punitive expedition into southeastern shandong. In april the British killed several Chinese during some disputes around Hong Kong. And Italy again trying to join the scramble for China, began demanding rights to Sanmenwan island off the coast of Zhejiang. Italy went as far as to dispatch some warships to threaten the Qing, but Shandong troops put up a defense of the islands, haha Italy get rekt again. On May 28th, Robert Hart wrote back to London from Beijing
“I have been worried—I can't tell you how much!—by the troubles of China. British doings at Kowloon have been very aggravating: Russian demand for Peking-railway has been a thunderbolt: German action and military movements in Shantung have outraged the people: and everywhere there is a feeling of uneasiness spreading.... [There are lots of rowdies among every thousand men and the proof that their own Govt, is weak, as shown by the inroads of foreigners, will encourage their natural rowdyism, while, instead of seeing superior civilization in the foreigner, they will regard him as simply another rowdy and chip in for their share of what disorder can wring from weakness. Some Chinese say that revolt and disorder are fast coming on—that the rioters will wipe out every foreigner they come across—that, regardless of consequences every province will follow suit and such anarchy and bloodshed follow that for years and years industry and commerce will all disappear: how will that suit the west?”
After the Juye incident, the number of churches and converts in Shandong increased and with it more conflicts flared up. In late 1898 to early 1899 anti-christian incidents spread like wildfire from east to western shandong. Our old friend George Stenz got embroiled in a new incident in the market town of Jietouzhuang in november of 1898. Stenz had allegedly called in German troops to stop some charges placed upon his converts and this led to a mob rising up against him. Simultaneously in the nearby villages along the Rizhao-Juzhou border, American Presbyterians were attacked. Apparently both incidents may have been linked to an emerging rumor that the Empress Dowager was calling for an expulsion of the foreigners and their christian converts. This rumor was false, in fact she had made edicts to protect missionaries. But such rumors simply represented the feelings of the time and attacks upon Christians increased in places like Juzhou, Yishui and Lanshan throughout November and december.
George Stenz was kidnapped by a mob and the German forces hurried to his rescue, demanding reparations for his kidnapping. Another incident occurred prompting Berlin to order two units to dispatch from Qingdao who went on a punitive expedition seeing 39 houses burnt down in Lanshan. Another unit was led personally by Stenz to the city of Rizhao where the Germans demanded a payment settlement for all the incidents before they all returned to Qingdao in late may. All of these actions were quite an escalation. While the foreign powers definitely were using gunboat diplomacy in the 1890’s, typically when they tried to influence anything they would do so indirectly, through the Qing for example. But now more and more they were physically barging into the country and using force themselves.
On April 11th of 1899, Yuxian received the governorship of Shandong and his immediate problem to fix was controlling the foreigners and their christian allies. Yuxian has often been perceived to be conservative and anti-foreign. He was a Manchu of the yellow banner and we spoke about how he quelled the Big Sword Society years prior. He had a reputation as being tough and efficient. When he took the job he immediately went to work trying to please the Germans so they would back off, but instead they kept using brute force to quell more and more incidents. Some anti foreign protests broke out in early July and the Germans sent troops who killed 13 and injured 8 Chinese. Simultaneously the Germans began practicing amphibious assaults near Dengzhou, prompting Yuxian to believe they intended to seize more territory. Yuxian tried to protest in his own ways, he began demanding the Germans show evidence of incidents and take responsibility for damage they did. Yuxian sent word to the Zongli Yamen demanded he instruct the Chinese minister in Berlin to ask the German commanders in Qingdao be replaced.
Now while Yuxian was battling it out with the Germans, a series of anti-christian incidents heated up around Rizhao. The cause of these as told to us by Yuxian “the gentry and people everywhere are outraged at the German’s unprovoked murder and arson”. News of foreign encroachment and rumors spread from town to town across shandong. Then in Jining and incident took place as a result of Christians abusing locals by taxing and fining banquets and such. This led to the rise of a new group of boxers who fought back. The Daotai of southern shandong Peng Yu-sun wrote this of the incident.
“These [factors] are the source of the rise of the Red Boxers (Hong-quan) and other boxing groups. The Big Sword Society has long existed in Caozhou. Because they disliked the name as infelicitous, they changed it to Red Boxer, United in Righteousness [here written with the characters Ho'], Charm Boxing (Jue-zi) or Red School (Hong-men). The names multiplied, and they studied [boxing] techniques. Their methods include promising the gods not to covet children or wealth. They swallow charms and chant spells to be able to resist guns and swords. The main charms with which they dazzle people are very common, wild, and heterodox. They say they are protecting themselves and their families, but secretly they certainly seek to feud with the Christians. They spread the practices everywhere, the same in every village. Because it is simple and easy to learn, it can rouse the common people as surely as beating a drum.”
Two boxer leaders emerged, Shao Shixuan and Chen Zhaoju. Shao Shixuan was from Feng county of Jiangsu and had ties to the Big Swords. Chen Zhaoju was a discharged soldier from of all places Juye, a man simply looking to make a living and down on his luck as it were. Now the incident actually began with groups calling themselves the Big Sword Society counter harassing the Christians in Jining. The German missionaries began to send word to Beijing and Yuxian’s attention was demanded. Yuxian began to demand evidence of the ongoings in Jining and even pointed out the CHristians had been abusing the local population. But then by July, the Red Boxers emerged under Shao and Chen and they were countered by Qing militias. Yuxian personally toured the area and reported back to Beijing his belief that the Christians had forced the boxers to defend themselves. To Yuxiang, as long as the boxers confined themselves to self defense, acting to only counterweight the Christians abuses, he was fully willing to tolerate them. He wrote this to a colleague in September “"In my area we have already checked accurately.All peaceful [boxing] for self-defense we do not prohibit. But if they kidnap for ransom and loot, then we send troops to seek them out and arrest them." And so he reported back to Beijing that he had arrested some wrong doers, executed the Red Boxer leader Chen Zhaoju and such. Thus when the boxers got out of hand Yuxiang seemed willing to put down the hammer so to speak. However Yuxiang was between a rock and a hard place. He was trying to keep the foreigners accountable for their actions while simultaneously doing the same with the boxers, but this was obviously impossible in practice. As the boxers got more and more bold, Yuxiang urged them to disperse, advised them to instead join militia’s, to just keep out of severe trouble. The Big Swords even reemerged around Caozhou harassing Christians along the border with Zhili, Yuxiang was quite lenient against them.
Now Yuxiang at this point was dealing with the Red Boxers predominately found in southern shandong, but another group known as the “spirit boxers”emerged in the northwest. They were operating outside the German sphere of influence, this was the realm of the French, Italian and some American missionaries. The Spirit Boxers were significantly different from their southern comrades, as they had distinct invulnerability rituals involving being possessed by gods. By early 1899 they were taking on a anti-christian nature and then they suddenly adopted the name “Boxers united in righteousness, the Yihequan. They recruited and trained openly in villages and extremely visible organization. Their rituals and gods derived from popular literature and opera, they became extremely popular and fast. These were the “true” boxers that would become known to the world.
The Spirit Boxers began with no anti-christian dimension, their original slogan for example was “Xiao-jing fu-mu, he-mu jia-xiang / respect your parents, live in harmony with your neighbors”. They were interested in helping local communities, often providing healing services. They were distinct in the fact they did everything out in the open, unlike other groups like the Big Swords who kept their invulnerability techniques secretive. They did not take fees, unlike the Big Swords, thus they often are seen as the “poor cousins” to the Big Swords. Their form of invulnerability involved spirit possession, which is a large reason they came into conflict with Christians. Henry Porter noted this about them in the Chiping area "they added a new element which has caused the rapid spreading of the assemblies. The emissaries who went about to stir up the interest of people pretended to be possessed of a demon. They add a kind of spiritism to their gymnastics. They suppose that their trainer is a medicine [man]. The fellows, mostly young men, practice under him and fancy themselves under the influence of a spirit. In this condition they pretend that nothing can harm or injure them."
Now at some point in late 1898, the Spirit Boxers transformers. The Christian abuse in their area led them to join forces with the Big Sword Society. They began to spread throughout the region, people all over sought to learn from the Yihequan. This of course coincided with poverty, natural disasters, famine, all the usual suspects, people needed food and hope. A boxer leader emerged named Zhu Hongdeng. He was born in southern Shandong to a poor landless family. He sold peanuts and often was forced to beg to make ends meet. He learnt spirit boxing in Changqing and went from village to village teaching it. He was one of the main leaders who influenced the spirit boxers early on to take on invulnerability techniques.
Now in 1899 Yuxiang was still acting as a moderate between the foreigners and boxers. As long as the boxers did not go too overboard he turned a blind eye. His policy towards the Christian-Boxer conflict was to stay as even handed as possible. But in the late spring of 1899 the magistrate of Chiping seemed to be openly supporting the Boxers, according to one account ‘Magistrate Yu even went to watch the opera and praised the Spirit Boxers! At that time the spirit boxers were at their height. They went to every village. Magistrate Yu even gave awards to the Spirit Boxers!”. In the Chiping area it looked like Qing officials were beginning to tilt against the Christians and were becoming more and more ineffective at quelling violence. As the Boxers spread through Shandong and across the border into Zhili, more and more conflicts with Christians flared up.
In May of 1899 the county of Pingyuan began to see complaints from Christians about the Boxers. A local boxer leader named Zhang Ze from the village of Beidi was quite a hot head as they say. He ruled his village with an iron first and he was openly harassing the Christians. Now Yuxiang at this point did not see much of a difference between the Red Boxers of the south and the Spirit Boxers of the northwest, so when reports came to him of incidents he thought it was easily solvable stuff. The Christians pressed their missionary allies who complained to the Zongli Yamen, but no real efforts came about to quell the problems. Then a Christian Chinese leader in Pingyuan county was robbed by some boxers including Zhang Ze. The man died apparently of frustration and stress, and his son accused the boxers of killing him. The local magistrate investigated the situation, but found no wounds on the 80 year old man, so he took no real action other than asking Zhang Ze and the other boxers to return the stolen property. The Zongli Yamen began harassing Yuxiang, who proceeded to harass the local magistrate, but the conflict was not thoroughly looked at. In fact the local magistrate was down playing the entire thing and failing to even mention the boxer element to it all. The conflict got bigger, the Christians kept complaining, but nothing was being done.
In Gangzi Lizhuang a southern part of Pingyuan county a boxer leader named Li Changshui who was quarreling with a Christian leader named Li Jinbang. They had a minor land dispute and Li Changshui began looting Li Jinbang with some boxer allies. The local magistrate ordered Qing forces to crack down who stormed the area arresting some boxers, but Li Changshui fled. The magistrate reported to Yuxiang and others all was well again. However Li Changshui had fled to Chiping where he asked for help from Zhu Hongdeng. Both men returned to Gangzi Lizhuang with a force of hundreds of boxers. The Boxers forced the local christians to feed them, took some hostage for ransom to get some arrested boxers out of jail. The magistrate came to investigate to find Zhu Hongdeng dressed in red pants, a red cap, with red flags carrying the slogan “Tian-xia Yihetuan, xing qing mie-yang / Under heaven, the boxers united in righteousness; revive the Qing and destroy the foreign”. The magistrate’s soldiers charged into the village, and the Boxers attacked their flag bearers. Upon seeing this, rumor has it the magistrate said to his chief runner “which is faster, a horse or sedan chair?” Before fleeing the scene. The Boxers had thus defeated a rather tiny Qing force, literally less than 20 guys.
Everyone began harassing the magistrate to summon a adequate force before Zhu Hongdeng got emboldened enough to start a rebellion. On October 12th the magistrate requested forces and by the 16th they arrived led by the prefect of Jinan Lu Changyi and officer Yuan Shidun, a cousin of Yuan Shikai. Lu Changyi quickly seized command and went to Gangzi Lizhuang only to find out Zhu Hongdeng and the boxers had left. They had fled northwest to the Senluo Temple which was on the eastern bank of the Majia river. The temple was built over a dike and had a commanding view with its high walls. On the morning of October 18th, around 1500 boxers had gathered around the temple. Yuan Shidun dispatched 500 infantry with 20 cavalry towards them. His scouts went ahead and reported back that the Boxers had these large red flags reading “revive the Qing, destroy the foreign”. A boxer messenger came to greet the scouts, and apparently a miscommunication led to some gunfire from the Qing. The Boxers were armed with swords, spears, a handful of primitive hunting rifles and some antique cannons and they erupted against the Qing. The Qing forces carried only single short rifles and after firing their first volley, could not reload quickly enough as the Boxers charged upon them. A few Qing soldiers were killed, more wounded as they fled for their lives.
The Qing soldiers were shocked by the ferocity of the Boxers, they charged without fear of death or pain. The Qing rallied for a counter attack and this time caused casualties upon the boxers, roughly 27 killed. Zhu Hongdeng and the boxers fled as the Qing arrested and executed many. While this could appear to the naked eye a minor skirmish, it was a watershed moment for the Boxer movement. The boxers had been brought to the forefront of Qing attention, they received a ton of publicity. Zhu Hongdeng, though defeated in the end, paraded around Chiping stating they had won a great victory. The slogan “Revive the Qing, destroy the foreign” was an incredible new development, why? Because the one thing the boxers always lacked was good leadership, they were pretty much directionless this entire time. Zhu Hongdeng would be arrested like countless other Boxer leaders, but a slogan “revive the Qing, destroy the foreign”, this was something people could rally to and it was a sense of direction. The slogan spread like wildfire amongst many differing boxer groups. Also they were using the term yihetuan instead of Yihequan, tuan meaning militia, Quan referred to boxers. They were now “the militia united in righteousness” they had evolved into a more legitimate force. As Dan Carlin once said in his podcast about the events leading up to WW1, the pin had been taken out of the hand grenade.
I would like to take this time to remind you all that this podcast is only made possible through the efforts of Kings and Generals over at Youtube. Please go subscribe to Kings and Generals over at Youtube and to continue helping us produce this content please check out www.patreon.com/kingsandgenerals. If you are still hungry after that, give my personal channel a look over at The Pacific War Channel at Youtube, it would mean a lot to me.
The Yihequan had become the Yihetuan. The conflicts against the foreigners reached its zenith and now the Boxers were going to lead a violent movement that would yet again bring China into a war, not with one or two nations, but 8.