12 April 2007

Did you learn about this in school?

I did not. The Eight-Nation Alliance from Wikipedia:

Citing the necessity of protecting their citizens, these eight foreign countries sent troops to quell the rebels. But the true motives behind it were the opportunity of further access to the Chinese market, expansion of their colonies, and exploitation of the Chinese.

Troops of the eight countries (Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) arrived, entered and occupied Beijing on August 14, 1900. Empress Dowager Cixi, the Emperor, and higher officials fled the Imperial Palace for Xi'an, and sent Li Hongzhang for peace talks.

During their occupation of China, they ransacked many houses and committed various atrocities against civilians, including rape and murder.

Troops and participants of the Eight-Nation Alliance were largely responsible for the ransacking and pillaging of many historical artifacts of Chinese nationalist origin, such as those found in the Summer Palace, and instigated the burning of many prominent Chinese buildings.

...

On September 7, 1901, the Qing court was compelled to sign the "Boxer Protocol", also known as Peace Agreement between the Eight-Nation Alliance and China. The protocol ordered the execution of ten high-ranking officials linked to the outbreak, and other officials who were found guilty for the slaughter of Westerners in China.

China was fined war reparations of 450,000,000 tael of fine silver (around 74,062,500 pounds, or 333 million US dollars), for the loss that it caused. The reparation would be paid within 39 years, and would be 982,238,150 taels with interests (4% per year) included. The sum of reparation was estimated by the Chinese population (roughly 450 million in 1900), to let each Chinese pay one tael. Chinese custom income and salt tax were enlisted as guarantee of the reparation. Russia got 30% of the reparation, Germany got 20%; the US share was 7%.

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