Righteous and Harmonious Fists

China has a rich history when it comes to secret societies, much like Europe, but the difference is that for the Chinese, these societies were organized by people opposing the government while in Europe, the governments were usually formed by people coming from secret societies.

The Boxers, or "The Righteous and Harmonious Fists" (I Ho Ch'uan) could be seen as a religious society, or an intellectual one, but it certainly was not a peaceful one. They originally rebelled against the imperial government in Shantung in 1898. They are considered a religious society because they practiced different rituals and used spells that should of made them impervious to bullets and pain. Surely when they started to fall one by one because of bullets their conceptions about western firepower and eastern spirituality must of demanded some reviewing.

This organization dates back well before 1700 with no clear origins, only myths and legends. They had some degree of influence because in 1747, the Jesuits were expelled from China because they demanded it. Coming back to the late 19th century, bad harvests, plagues, sanctions imposed by the Western powers and Japan after the war of 1894-1895 created discontent among the population, and because humans are humans everywhere, the Chinese turned to extreme measures for securing their future. They turned to tradition and rejected all the things foreign to them. In this extreme form of nationalism they even created three degrees of devils, the first was made up of foreigners, the second was composed of Chinese turned to Christianity and third, anyone who interacted with foreigners in any way.

Their slogan was "oppose the Qing and destroy the foreign", this soon changed to "support the Qing and destroy the foreign" after Empress Dowager Cixi and a number of Chinese officials began to think that they could support this organization to drive off the foreign powers. The end was not that pretty.

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