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Millions of Chinese rejoiced on July 1, 1997 when the British handed Hong Kong back to China. The return of Hong Kong completed what the Boxer Rebellion set out to do nearly 100 years ago - get rid of Western imperialism in China. For centuries, China was a closed nation, but in the 1800s, Westerners forced their way in, leaving the Chinese psychologically and spiritually devastated. Resentment built when missionaries tried to convert the heathens into Christians. A nationalistic movement called the Boxers (meaning ìfists of righteous harmonyî), founded on the mutual hatred of foreigners, began to grow. The Boxers practiced martial arts and believed themselves impervious to bullets. Thousands of peasants swelled its ranks. In May, 1900, the movement spread across the countryside, leaving a wake of violence and destruction in its path as it headed toward Peking, now known as Beijing. The failure of the Boxer Rebellion built support for nationalism which eventually led to the revolution of 1911, the rise of Sun Yat-sen and the end of 2,000 years of monarchy. With Western rule over in Hong Kong, is China poised to become the most powerful nation in the 21st century? Examine the motivations behind the bloody uprising and discover why Chinese peasants were willing to take up arms to drive foreigners out of the country.
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