20 th -CENTURY BEIJING In 1900 a group of Chinese peasants known as the Boxers decided to end foreign interference in China. They went to Beijing, surrounded its embassies and killed many people. The siege lasted 55 days, ending only when a force of 20,000 foreign troops came to the rescue. The Qing then

had to pay a huge fine and give more rights to foreigners. From empire to republic

Despite reforms, the Qing remained weak. In 1908 they grew weaker when Cixi died and was replaced by Puyi, a three-year-old boy. Meanwhile, reformers led by Dr Sun Yat-sen were plotting to end the empire. Sun’s chance came in 1911 when revolts broke out. He took over and, in 1912, set up a republican government in Beijing, with himself as president.

⌂ These Boxers were captured by American cavalry troops during the rebellion. The troops are just visible in the background.

Republican failures Sun Yat-sen was unable to restore order in China, so he gave up the presidency. Rival warlords began to fight in the north, and Beijing fell into decay. Republican rule also failed to end foreign influence. After the First World War (1914–18), areas of German land in China were given to Japan. This led to protests in Beijing on May 4, 1919. Communist ideas began to spread, and then, in 1921, the Chinese Communist Party was founded.

The reign of the child-emperor Puyi came to an end in 1911, but he lived in the Forbidden City until 1924. ⌂


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