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Word Count: 779
When China was defeated by Japan in 1895 European powers responded with a policy they called carving up the Chinese melon Following the partitioning of Africa among European powers they turned their sights to what they saw as a terminally weak Chinese government European powers and America began to scramble for what was called spheres of interest These spheres of interest involved holding leases for all railway and commercial privileges in various regions The Russians got Port Arthur the British got the New Territories around Hong Kong the Germans got a leasehold in Shantung and the Americans got nothing Concentrating largely on the Philipines and Guam the Americans had missed the Chinese boat and so insisted on an open door policy in China in which commercial opportunities were equally available to all European powers and the political and territorial integrity of China remained untouched The Boxers The imperial court responded to this foreign threat by giving aid to various secret societies Traditionally secret societies had been formed in opposition to imperial government as such they were certainly a threat to the Ching government However anti-foreign sentiment had risen so greatly in China that the Empress Dowager believed that the secret societies could be the vanguard in a military expulsion of Europeans This policy reached its climax in 1900 with the Boxer Rebellion The Boxers or The Righteous and Harmonious Fists were a religious society that had originally rebelled against the imperial government in Shantung in 1898 They practiced an animistic magic of rituals and spells which they believed made them impervious to bullets and pain The Boxers believed that the expulsion of foreign devils would magically renew Chinese society and begin a new golden age Much of their discontent however was focussed on the economic scarcity of the 1890s They were a passionate and confident group full of contempt for authority and violent emotions In reality the Boxer rebellion could hardly be classified as either
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