Boxer Protocol

Boxer Protocol

Signature page of the Boxer rebellion settlement
Traditional Chinese 1. 辛丑條約
2. 辛丑各國和約
3. 北京議定書
Simplified Chinese 1. 辛丑条约
2. 辛丑各国和约
3. 北京议定书
Literal meaning 1. Xinchou (year 1901) treaty
2. Xinchou (year 1901) all-nation peace treaty
3. Beijing protocol
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The Boxer Protocol was signed on September 7, 1901, between the Qing Empire of China and the Eight-Nation Alliance that had provided military forces (Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) plus Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands after China's defeat in the intervention to put down the Boxer Rebellion at the hands of the Eight-Power Expeditionary Force. It is often regarded as one of the Unequal Treaties.


In Western countries, it was also known as the Treaty of 1901, Peace Agreement between the Great Powers and China. The full name of the protocol is Austria-Hungary, Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Russia, Spain, United States and China—Final Protocol for the Settlement of the Disturbances of 1900, reflecting its nature as a diplomatic protocol rather than a peace treaty at the time of signature.

In China, it was known as the Xinchou Treaty. It was later regarded as one of the "Unequal Treaties".

Negotiations during the Boxer Rebellion

The Qing dynasty was by no means defeated when the Allies took control of Beijing. The Allies had to temper the demands they sent in a message to Xi'an to get the Dowager Empress to agree with them; for instance, China did not have to give up any land. Many of the Dowager Empress's advisers in the Imperial Court insisted that the war be carried on against the foreigners, arguing that China could defeat the foreigners since it was the disloyal and traitorous people within China who allowed Beijing and Tianjin to be captured by the Allies, and the interior of China was impenetrable. The Dowager was practical, and decided that the terms were generous enough for her to acquiesce and stop the war, when she was assured of her continued reign after the war.[1]


The Boxer Protocol was signed on September 7, 1901, in the Spanish Legation in Beijing:[2]

Foreign Powers

Chinese Empire

The Clauses

Signing of the Boxer Protocol. Left, from left to right: F.M Knobel from Netherland (only see his hands); K. Jutaro from Japan; G. S. Raggi from Italy; Joostens from Belgium; C. von Walhborn from Austria-Hungary; B. J. Cologán from Spain; M. von Giers from Russia; A. Mumm for German Empire; E. M. Satow from United Kingdom; W. W. Rockhill from US; P. Beau from France; I-Kuang; Li Hongzhang; Prince Qing

450 million taels of fine silver (~ US$333 million or £67 million at the exchange rates of the time) were to be paid as indemnity over a course of 39 years to the eight nations involved.[3]

The Chinese paid the indemnity in gold on a rising scale with a 4% interest charge until the debt was amortized on December 31, 1940. After 39 years, the amount was almost 1 billion taels (precisely 982,238,150),[3] or ~1,180,000,000 troy ounces (37,000 tonnes) at 1.2 ozt/tael.

The sum was to be distributed as follows: Russia 28.97%, Germany 20.02%, France 15.75%, United Kingdom 11.25%, Japan 7.73%, United States 7.32%, Italy 7.32%, Belgium 1.89%, Austria-Hungary 0.89%, Netherlands 0.17%, Spain 0.03%, Portugal 0.021%, Sweden and Norway 0.014%.[4] Also, additional 16,886,708 taels was paid at local level in 17 provinces. By 1938, 652.37 million taels had been paid. The interest rate (of 4% per annum) was to be paid semi-annually with the first payment being the July 1, 1902.

The Qing government was also to allow the foreign countries to base their troops in Beijing. In addition, the foreign powers had placed the Empress Dowager Cixi on their list of war criminals, although provincial officers such as Li Hongzhang and Yuan Shikai defended her, claiming that she had no control whatsoever over the whole escapade. She was later removed from the list.

Other clauses included:

Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Pinyin Transliterated names from early text using a system that pre-dates Pinyin
黃村 黄村 Huangcun Huang-tsun
郎坊(廊坊) 郎坊(廊坊) Langfang Lang-fang
楊村 杨村 Yangcun Yang-tsun
天津 天津 Tianjin Tien-tsin
軍糧城 军粮城 Junliangcheng Chun-liang-Cheng
塘沽 塘沽 Tanggu Tong-ku
蘆臺 芦台 Lutai Lu-tai
唐山 唐山 Tangshan Tong-shan
灤州 滦州 Luanzhou Lan-chou
昌黎 昌黎 Changli Chang-li
秦皇島 秦皇岛 Qinhuangdao Chin-wang Tao
山海關 山海关 Shanhaiguan Shan-hai Kuan

Hoax demands

The French Catholic vicar apostolic, Msgr. Alfons Bermyn, wanted foreign troops garrisoned in Inner Mongolia, but the Governor refused. Bermyn resorted to lies, and falsely petitioned the Manchu Enming to send troops to Hetao where Prince Duan's Mongol troops and General Dong Fuxiang's Muslim troops allegedly threatened Catholics. It turned out that Bermyn had created the incident as a hoax.[7][8] One of the false reports claimed that Dong Fuxiang wiped out Belgian missionaries in Mongolia and was going to massacre Catholics in Taiyuan.[9][10]

Demands rejected by China

The Qing did not capitulate to all the foreign demands. The Manchu Governor Yuxian was executed, but the Imperial court refused to execute the Chinese General Dong Fuxiang, although both were anti-foreign and had been accused of encouraging the killing of foreigners during the rebellion.[11] Instead, General Dong Fuxiang lived a life of luxury and power in "exile" in his home province of Gansu.[12][13]

In addition to sparing Dong Fuxiang, the Qing also refused to exile the Boxer supporter Prince Zaiyi to Xinjiang, as the foreigners demanded. Instead, he moved to Alashan, west of Ningxia, and lived in the residence of the local Mongol prince. He then moved to Ningxia during the Xinhai Revolution when the Muslims took control of Ningxia, and finally, moved to Xinjiang with Sheng Yun.[14] Prince Duan "went no farther than Manchuria for exile, and was heard of there in 1908".[15]

Stipulations subsequently violated by China

In the hunting-park, three miles to the south of Peking, is quartered the Sixth Division, which supplies the Guards for the Imperial Palace, consisting of a battalion of infantry and a squadron of cavalry. With this Division Yuan Shi Kai retains twenty-six modified Krupp guns, which are the best of his artillery arm, and excel any guns possessed by the foreign legations in Peking.

The Manchu Division moves with the Court, and is the pride of the modern army.

By his strategic disposition Yuan Shi Kai completely controls all the approaches to the capital, and holds a force which he may utilize either to protect the Court from threatened attack or to crush the Emperor should he himself desire to assume Imperial power. Contrary to treaty stipulations made at the settlement of the Boxer trouble, the Chinese have been permitted to build a great tower over the Chien Men, or central southern gate, which commands the foreign legations and governs the Forbidden City. In the threatening condition of Chinese affairs it might be assumed that this structure had been undermined by the foreign community, but this has not been done, and if trouble again arise in Peking the fate of the legations will depend upon the success of the first assault which will be necessary to take it. The foreign legations are as much in the power of Yuan Shi Kai's troops in 1907 as they were at the mercy of the Chinese rabble in 1900.

The ultimate purpose of the equipped and disciplined troops is locked in the breast of the Viceroy of Chihli. Yuan Shi Kai's yamen in Tientsin is connected by telegraph and telephone with the Imperial palaces and with the various barracks of his troops. In a field a couple of hundred yards away is the long pole of a wireless telegraph station, from which he can send the message that any day may set all China ablaze.

To-morrow in the East, Douglas Story, pp. 224-226[16]

The Chien Men gate refers to the Zhengyangmen.


On December 28, 1908, the United States remitted $11,961,121.76 of its share of the Indemnity to support the education of Chinese students in the United States and the construction of Tsinghua University in Beijing,[17] thanks to the efforts of its ambassador Liang Cheng.[18]

When China declared war on Germany and Austria in 1917, it suspended the combined German and Austrian share of the Boxer Indemnity, which totaled 20.91 percent. At the Paris Peace Conference, Beijing succeeded in completely revoking the German and Austrian shares of the Boxer Indemnity.[19]

The history surrounding Russia's share of the Boxer Indemnity is the most complex of all the nations involved. On December 2, 1918 the Bolsheviks issued an official decree abolishing Russia's share of the Indemnity (146). Upon the arrival of Lev Karakhan in Beijing during the Fall of 1923, however, it became clear that the Soviet Union expected to retain control over how the Russian share was to be spent. Though Karakhan was initially hesitant to follow the United States' example of directing the funds toward education, he soon insisted in private that the Russian share had to be used for that purpose and during February 1924, presented a proposal stating that the "Soviet portion of the Boxer Indemnity would be allocated to Chinese educational institutions."[20]

On March 14, 1924, Karakhan completed a draft Sino-Soviet agreement stating "The government of the USSR agrees to renounce the Russian portion of the Boxer Indemnity." Copies of these terms were published in the Chinese press, and the ensuing positive public reaction encouraged other countries to match the USSR's terms. On May 21, 1924, the U.S. Congress agreed to remit to China the final $6,137,552.90 of the American share. Ten days later, however, it became apparent that the USSR did not intend to carry through on its earlier promise of full renunciation. When the final Sino-Soviet agreement was announced, it specified that Russia's share would be used to promote education in China and that the Soviet government would retain control over how the money was to be used, an exact parallel to the U.S. remittance of 1908.[21]

On March 3, 1925, Great Britain completed arrangements to use its share of the Boxer Indemnity to support railway construction in China. On April 12, France asked that its indemnity be used to reopen a defunct Sino-French Bank. Italy signed an agreement on October 1 to spend its share on the construction of steel bridges. The Netherlands' share paid for harbor and land reclamation, and the Belgian funds were earmarked to be spent on railway material in Belgium. Finally, Japan's indemnity was transferred to develop aviation in China under Japanese oversight[22]

Once these countries' approximately 40 percent of the Boxer Indemnity was added to Germany's and Austria's combined 20.91 percent, the United States' 7.32 percent, and the Soviet Union's 28.97 percent share, the Beijing government had accounted for over 98 percent of the entire Boxer Indemnity. Hence, by 1927, Beijing had almost completely revoked Boxer Indemnity payments abroad and had succeeded in redirecting the payments for use within China.[23]

See also


  1. Preston, Diana (2000). The Boxer Rebellion: the dramatic story of China's war on foreigners that shook the world in the summer of 1900. USA: Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 312. ISBN 9780802713612. Retrieved March 4, 2011.
  2. 1 2 Cologan y Gonzalez-Massieu, Jorge (2008). "El papel de Espana en la Revolucion de los Boxers de 1900: Un capitulo olvidado en la historia de las relaciones diplomaticas". Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia (in Spanish). La Academia. 205 (3): 493. OCLC 423747062.
  3. 1 2 Spence, Jonathan D. (1991). The Search for Modern China (1st Norton pbk. ed.). New York: Norton. ISBN 0393307808.
  4. Ji, Zhaojin (March 2003). A History of Modern Shanghai Banking. M.E. Sharpe. p. 75. ISBN 9780765610027. OL 8054799M.
  5. Sondhaus, Lawrence (2001). Naval warfare, 1815-1914. London: Routledge. ISBN 9780415214773.
  6. Pamphlets on the Chinese-Japanese War, 1939–1945. [Published 1937] Sino-Japanese Conflict, 1937—45. Digitized May 30, 2007. No ISBN.
  7. Ann Heylen (2004). Chronique du Toumet-Ortos: looking through the lens of Joseph Van Oost, missionary in Inner Mongolia (1915–1921). Leuven, Belgium: Leuven University Press. p. 203. ISBN 90-5867-418-5. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
  8. Patrick Taveirne (2004). Han-Mongol encounters and missionary endeavors: a history of Scheut in Ordos (Hetao) 1874–1911. Leuven, Belgium: Leuven University Press. p. 539. ISBN 90-5867-365-0. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
  9. Edwards, E. H. (1903). Fire and sword in Shansi: the story of the martyrdom of foreigners and Chinese Christians. New York: Revell. p. 167. OL 13518958M.
  10. Hart, Robert; Campbell, James Duncan (1975). Fairbank, John King; Bruner, Katherine Frost; Matheson, Elizabeth MacLeod, eds. The I. G. in Peking: Letters of Robert Hart, Chinese Maritime Customs, 1868-1907. Harvard University Press. p. 1271. ISBN 0674443209. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  11. Stephen G. Haw (2007). Beijing: a concise history. Routledge. p. 98. ISBN 0-415-39906-8. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
  12. Hastings, James; Selbie, John Alexander; Gray, Louis Herbert, eds. (1915). Encyclopædia of religion and ethics. 8. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark. p. 894. OCLC 3065458.
  13. M. Th. Houtsma, A. J. Wensinck (1993). E.J. Brill's first encyclopaedia of Islam 1913–1936. Stanford BRILL. p. 850. ISBN 90-04-09796-1. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
  14. Teichman, Eric (1921). Travels Of A Consular Officer In North-West China. Cambridge: CUP Archive. p. 188. OCLC 2585746. OL 14046010M.
  15. Clements, Paul Henry (1915). The Boxer Rebellion: A Political and Diplomatic Review. Columbia University. p. 201. OL 24661390M.
  16. Story, Douglas (1907). To-morrow in the East. London: Chapman & Hall, ltd. pp. 224–226. OCLC 2394691. OL 29968M. Retrieved 10 Dec 2014.
  17. Elleman, Bruce A. (1998). Diplomacy and deception : the secret history of Sino-Soviet diplomatic relations, 1917-1927. Armonk (N.Y.): M.E. Sharpe. p. 144. ISBN 0765601435.
  18. "Liang Cheng, The "Diplomatic Hero"". Cultural China. Shanghai News and Press Bureau. Retrieved November 22, 2015.
  19. Elleman 1998, p. 145
  20. Elleman 1998, p. 147
  21. Elleman 1998, p. 148
  22. Elleman 1998, p. 154
  23. Elleman 1998, p. 155

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