2008年9月4日 星期四

Boxer Rebellion

Before 1900,BMS world mission had already send hundreds of missionaries to China Shanxi province,including Taiyuan,the main city.In 8/1900,an article on the mission's magazine Missionary Herald published a letter from Shanxi,hinted that " terrible cloud that hangs fierce and ominous over China",since there was news emerged that there was a massacre at Taiyuan. Missionary Herald,through letters and telegrams,were able to tell readers and relatives in Britain,what did their loved ones went through during 1900.The suffering and humiliation,and death,endured by the missionaries and their families,was considered "the darkest and most tragic episodes of BMS world mission's history. One of the telegram on 10/1900 Missionary Herald :"Mission houses in Taiyuan burned…. Missionaries fled there… promised safety, immediately massacred, altogether thirty-three Protestants. " 12/1900 Missionary Herald:"tells of their discovery in a cave, where for five days they had been without food, and how, after promise of escort to the coast, they were cast into prison and afterwards murdered inside the city gate… the entire mission staff in the Province of Shanxi has perished. " Missionary Herald reported again:The Shanxi governor Yuxian,with the full support of the Empress Dowager, ordered:"Foreign religions are reckless and oppressive, disrespectful to the gods and oppressive to the people. The righteous people(read Boxer) will burn and kill. " It was very clear that Empress Dowager,the Manchu Dynasty supreme ruler,was giving the orders to both its governor Yuxian,and the Boxer,"it is OK to kill foreign missionaries and christian converts,the Imperial Court will back you up" Missionary Herald further reported that at Taiyuan,the then governor sent in soldiers to round up missionaries,stripped them to the waist,and beheaded them in front of the governor's residence.It was the same at Xinzhou,another city,where 8 missionaries were put into a dungeon for two weeks before they were beheaded at the gate of the city.

* Orthodox Missionaries burnt to death

Russian orthodox church,had set up mission in China at the end of the seventeenth century.A former Buddhist temple near Beijing was converted into a church dedicated to Saint Nicholas, and church vestments and holy objects were sent from the Imperial Court in Russia. When Manchu Emperor Kangxi had discovered that local Roman Catholic missionaries followed orders from the Pope,Emperor Kangxi and his successors began persecutions against Christians.Because of persecution,the then Russian Emperor Peter The Great asked the orthodox church to stay low key,not to upset the Ch'ing dynasty or other missionary. The orthodox church's record has shown:Quote:By June 1900, placards calling for the death of foreigners and Christians covered the walls around Beijing. Armed bands combed the streets of the city, setting fire to homes and "with imperial blessing" killing Chinese Christians and foreigners.Unquoted. On 10/6/1900,about 70 followers of Saint Mitrophan,and his 8 years old son,were all stabbed and burnt to death.

* Jesuit priests beheaded.

The Dragon Empress Dowager ,staged acoup d'etatby putting then young Emperor Guangxu under house arrest,even though the Emperor was her nephew.However,the western powers preferred Emperor Guangxu to stay at the throne,and kept on pressuring Dowager to cease control of the Emperor.Dowager refused,and started plotting with some officials to punish the foreign powers by recruiting the Boxer to kill foreign missionaries and Chinese converts. The Jesuit priests,Father Isore and Father Andlauer,were both killed at a chapel,quote:Then they beheaded them and displayed the heads of the Jesuits on the village gates as a brutal warning of what awaited Christians who did not return to their ancestral religion. Unquoted.

* Boxer uprising ultimately claimed the lives of more than 32,000 Chinese Christians and several hundred foreign missionaries

English Professor Henry Hart's great-grandfather was a larger then life figure.Among many things,he was (1) a spy and advisor for Chiang Kai-shek,the leader of China's Kuomintang, (2) advisor on Mongolian affairs for the Chinese president and self-declared emperor Yuan Shikai,(3) sold 23,000 horses for the Chinese army.Professor Henry Hart's grandmother,enchanted him with tales about how her father had saved her and numerous missionary families during China's Boxer Rebellion.During those times,Boxers blamed “foreign devils” like his great-grandparents for causing northern China's drought and famine, exacerbating economic hardships by building railroads and telegraph lines (because such modern conveniences eliminated jobs), undermining the native textile industry with European imports, infecting and killing Chinese children with Christian prayers and for various other real and imagined infamies. The great-grandfather had left him a journal,into it he wrote a first-person's account,on how, he and some hired Mongols fought off a group of barbaric attacking Boxers with wooden sticks,without firing a single shot from his old Winchester rifle.Later on he led a group of fleeing missionaries for two months through the Gobi Desert and the rest of Mongolia to Siberia. The valuable information kept in the journal included the fact that the Boxer uprising ultimately claimed the lives of more than 32,000 Chinese Christians and several hundred foreign missionaries (historian Nat Brandt called it “the greatest single tragedy in the history of Christian evangelicalism”).

* Without any double,Empress Dowager would be China's most famous woman,for all the wrong reasons.

(1)There is constant accusation that she ordered the death of young Emperor Kwangxu,just a few days before her own death.And Kwangxu was her own nephew. (2)She used the fund that was allocated for the Imperial Navy,instead she spent it on lavish birthday party and palace's gardens,indirectly causing the Imperial Navy's shameful annihilation during the 1st Sino-Japan War. (3)She allegedly order the death of her own son's pregnant concubine,so that the unborn baby can never becoming a future king. (4)She was always power hungry, ruthless and profoundly skilled in court politics,because she did not forget that she started a humble concubine. Many historians believe that Empress Dowager's success in the politics of her country helped put an end to any realistic hope of a modernized imperial China.

* Empress Dowager and her chief eunuch

Li lianying,the NO.1 eunuch in the court of the Manchu Dynasty,was the most powerful,the richest,and the most feared eunuch.Both his servility to his master and his brutality over other officials were unsurpassable. He was the favorite of the Empress,looking after the daily needs of her (he combed her hair everyday).Many court officials had to bribe him in order to forward some documents to the Empress;even Li hong-zhang had to do the same.It was speculated that Li lianying was instrumental in the death of the young emperor Kwangxu,who died mysteriously 3 days before the death of the Empress.

* Failure of the 100 Days Reform

Even though Emperor Kwangxu was a physically and mentally weak person,he started the Hundred Days Reform hoping to turn China into a strong and modern nation.However,with the conservative Empress flexing her powerful political muscle behind,the reform failed in less than 100 days,and the Emperor was put under house arrest in the middle of a lake,and watched constantly by the empress's trusted eunuchs. When hungry peasants from famine area started to form groups with name "Righteous and Harmonious Fists",their initial objectives were to fight the Manchu rulers.One of the slogans was "To end the Manchu's rule,To bring back Ming Dynasty"(Which was the origin of the present day Chinese underground Triad) However,Empress Dowager saw the value in them.She sent her officials to turn this "Righteous and Harmonious Fists" into a mod that begin to kill foreign missionaries and native christians.She wanted to punish those western powers who supported emperor Kwangxu's 100 Days Reform.She could not do it with the Imperial army,she had to find an alternative.Hence the beginning of the Boxer rebellion.

During the siege of the Peking legation which went on for two months,Empress Dowager did not step in to offer protection for foreign diplomats and their families.And the provision of protection to foreign diplomats is a universal law being adopted by human civilization for thousands of years.In the years of 1900,Manchu tribal rulers chose to remain ignorant and barbaric by murdering foreign diplomats and missionaries,then they should not be surprised to see foreign soldiers marching into their palace.