Officially supported peasant uprising in 1900 in China that attempted to drive all foreigners from the country. Boxer was the English name given to a Chinese secret society that practiced boxing and calisthenic rituals in the belief that it would make its members impervious to bullets. Support for them grew in northern China during the late 19th century, when China's people were suffering from growing economic impoverishment and the country was forced to grant humiliating concessions to Western powers. In June 1900, after Boxers had killed Chinese Christians and Westerners, an international relief force was dispatched to quell the attacks. The empress dowager, Cixi, ordered imperial forces to block its advance; the conflict escalated, hundereds of people were killed, and the matter was not resolved until August, when Beijing was captured and sacked. Hostilities were ended with a protocol (1901) requiring China to pay a large indemnity to 11 countries. Britain and the U.S. later returned much of their reparations, the U.S. using its portion to further Chinese higher education. See also U.S. Open Door policy.
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