Peking Protocol (北京議定書)

The Peking Protocol is a final protocol signed in Beijing City on September 7, 1901, concerning the follow-ups of battles between the powerful countries (Great Powers) and Qing/Boxers in the Boxers Uprising. The formal name in diplomatic documents of Japan is the final protocol concerning the North China Incident. In China it is called the Xinchou Treaty or the Xinchou Peace Agreement after the name of the year (Xinchu). It is generally called the "Boxer Protocol" in Europe and America.

Peace negotiations begun in October, 1900, and the Qing dynasty and each of the Great Powers concluded a treaty, respectively, according to the contents, part of which had already been implemented. The protocol as the final confirmation of execution of terms was signed under the presence of plenipotentiaries from the both sides.

Great Powers

German Empire: Shwarzenstein
Austria- the Hungarian Empire; Warborn
Belgium: Joostens
Spain: Cologan
The United States: Rockhill
France: Beau
The Great Britain:Ernest Satow
The Empire of Japan: Jutaro KOMURA

The Qing Dynasty

President of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Yi-kuang (Prince Qing)
Governor General and Superintendent of trade for the northern ports: Li

Contents (partly abbreviated)

A visit of condolence to the late German envoy extraordinary and that to the late Secretary of Japan, both of whom were murdered by the Boxers, shall be made (Prince Aixin Jueluo Zaitan to Germany and Na'Tung, Vice-President of the Ministry of Revenue to Japan), sufficient reparations shall be paid and Guangxu Emperor himself shall express his regrets. A monument of the German minister shall be constructed.

Kakyo (Imperial examinations) shall be prohibited for five years in cities where foreigners were murdered.

The Qing Dynasty shall not import arms and ammunition and materials for arms and ammunition.

The Qing Dynasty shall pay the Powers an indemnity of 450 million taels in silver as war reparations. These reparations with a 4% interest charge per annual shall be paid in installments in thirty-nine years.

An area where the legation of each country is located shall be reserved for its use only. This area shall be under the police powers of each legation. In these areas Chinese shall not allowed to reside so that the legation can be defended.

Gun batteries in Taku and all the gun batteries from the coast to Beijing which block free transportation shall be removed.

The Qing Dynasty shall recognize rights of the Powers to occupy various places along the route in order to maintain free transportation. These places shall be the following; Huang-tsun, Lang-fang, Yang-tsun, Tien-tsin, Chun-liang-Cheng, Tong-ku, Lu-tai, Tong- shan, Lan-chou, Chang-li, Chin-wang Tao, Shan-hai Kuan.

The Qing government shall issue to all district cities the following Imperial edicts.

Membership in any anti-foreign society shall be prohibited. Those who break the prohibitions shall be given a capital punishment.

Local governors and their subordinates shall be responsible for order in their own region. Government officials who fail to suppress reoccurred anti-foreign troubles or violation of the treaty or punish criminals shall be discharged. Moreover, these officials shall not be able to receive reemployment and special dispensation after it.

The Qing government shall hereafter review revisions of commerce and navigation treaties which the Powers consider useful and amendments of the contents of commerce clauses to improve commercial relationship.

The Office of General Affairs shall be abolished and, instead, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs shall be newly established. In that case the Ministry of Foreign Affairs shall be ranked over the six other Ministries.

Big Compensations and Troops Stationed by the Powers

This protocol was approved under the conferences between the Powers with no rejection of the Qing Dynasty accepted; the Dynasty (the Dowager Empress/Li Hongzhang) could not help but accept the protocol. Among all, giving away police powers in areas nearby legations to the Powers and allowing the Powers to station their troops in various places from the coast to Beijing and so on meant no other than the denial of Qin rights in its territory and appearances of districts under the rule of the Powers.

This situation was virtually maintained till the end of World War II. In the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, which triggered the Sino-Japanese war, a question "why Japan stationed a troop for granted in such a deep place of China" is sometimes heard: That was only because Japan used its rights based on the Peking Protocol in the same way other seven Powers posted troops in various places.

On the other hand, it may be said that the Powers were afraid of reoccurrences of the Boxers Uprising. The protocol included not only the ban of police powers and stationing troops in the Qing dynasty but also the ban of organizing anti-foreign societies and strict orders of regulating anti-foreign societies to local officials, punishments for violating these rules and so on. It may be said that the ban of kakyo examinations in cities where foreigners were murdered was a warning policy unique to China.

Aftermath of Reparations of 450 Million Taels

The amount of the reparations of 450 million taels specified in the Peking Protocol (850 million taels in total with the interest) was a really astronomical demand to the Qing Dynasty whose annual budget was less than 100 million taels. In addition, it was provided that the sources of reparation payment were specified in the form of confiscating income-assuring items such as maritime customs.

In later years the Qing Dynasty implemented the payment, however, the enormous outlay limited the measures of subsequent reforms (the Hundred Days of Reform) and, in addition, more investiment on arms buildup in order to prevent invasion, led to the increased power of Yuan ShiKai, the commander of the Beiyang army. Moreover, China depended on the Powers and loans from foreign capital banks to perform reforms only to strengthen dependency on foreign countries. Increased taxes were imposed on the people and made them suffer from more poverty, leading to their increased dissatisfaction with the Qing dynasty. Even after the Qing dynasty perished, the reparations were succeeded by the Republic of China because it was considered to be a nation that succeeded the Qing dynasty, and that was one of reasons that the central government had weak foundations.

The Powers, seeing the Qing dynasty and the Republic of China suffering from reparations and fearing criticisms from the international community and the reduction of their interests in China, often eased the reparations before and after World War I. In particular in the early twentieth century the United States, which was coming closer to China, diverted the reparations to the support of Chinese students in the U.S. and the establishment of universities. One of these universities is the present Tsinghua University in Beijing.

After all 650 million taels were paid to the Powers by 1938, with which the compensation ended.

What the Peking Protocol Left

The Peking Protocol was really a symbol of the invasion of China by the Powers by depriving the state rights and financial power of the Qing Dynasty at that time. Because of the contents of the protocol the Qing dynasty and even the Republic of China that succeeded it had been suffered.

On the other hand, the contents gave a sense of great disgrace to young people studying in Japan and elsewhere and trying to take in modern-time nationalism, which became one of reasons that triggered anti-Qing/revolution movements. It could be positioned in one of big currents from the beginning of the Sino-Japanese War, through failure in the Hundred Days of Reform to the overthrow of the Qing dynasty by the Chinese revolution.