In 1898, a massive rebellion against the Christians and the foreigners occurred widely across China. It was caused by the Boxers, an association of peasants who would call themselves ‘The Society of the Righteous and Harmonious Fists,’ and therefore is called ‘The Boxer rebellion.’ The Boxers deserve a bad rap because they were brutal killers who were overdriven by anger to move emotionally and unreasonably.
During the rebellion, more than 230 foreigners were killed by the Boxers. They held massacre regardless of age or gender; they wandered around the streets, slaughtering every foreigner they could find. People had to hide in legations or churches and tremble with fear. Not only that, but they wrecked and burned down many constructions, causing a massive economic loss. Although they were in very harsh situations, there are no legitimate reasons for them to exert such violence. In the pretext of ostracizing external powers and supporting the government, the Boxers were trying to vent their anger by committing crimes against the foreigners and the Christians. In fact, foreigners didn’t even use violence first. Why do all the innocent foreigners have to die when they are just trying to make a living outside their country? And why do all the Christians have to die when they simply want to worship their god? I think this is nothing different from racism.
Furthermore, witless and reckless were they to make all the foreign countries their enemy and destroy buildings. It caused massive economic harm for China since they had to pay for all the damage. In the end, they even failed to achieve any of their nominal purposes and left only a huge loss of life. This is the result of them losing their reason and being swayed only by anger. Their actions would deserve criticism even if they started the rebellion for the right reasons.
And this is not even true—one of the foremost reasons why the Boxers revolt was that they felt angry and intimidated. The increase of foreign legations and the forbidden area largened their victim mentality, and Christianity seemed to be threatening their traditional religions and preventing gods from dropping rain for them. However, these are all their misapprehension and illusion. They didn’t even take time to think if their suspicions were right and began their massacre for that reason. The foreigners and the Christians were actually just a scapegoat of the Boxers’ anxiety and anger. Many people probably would have died without knowing why they should. Even though there were minor incidents that could have made them scared, the reasons they had weren’t enough for their behaviors.
The Boxer Rebellion is just a large-scale crime that has taken advantage of the fact that they are peasants. They don’t deserve the name ‘The Society of the Righteous and Harmonious Fists’ since all they have left was the loss of lives, money, and another form of violence. Ignorance and starvation couldn’t be an excuse for their reckless killing. It would be wise not to look at these people with just compassion, but think about what morality is as a human being.