the close of the 19th century, the United States cooperated with Britain,
France, Russia, Italy, Germany, Austria, and Japan in order to defeat
the I Ho Ch'uan, a Chinese secret society that had besieged Westerners
and Chinese Christians in Beijing.
The I Ho Ch'uan, (righteous, harmonious fists), also
known as the Boxers, gained power in China due to increasing resentment
against the influence of Western powers, which had increased as a result
of China's losses in the Opium Wars and the first Sino-Japanese War.
The Boxers began to draw attention through their attacks
on foreigners, particularly Christian missionaries. While the Chinese
Royalty officially denounced them, the Dowager Empress Tz'u Hsi secretly
supported their activities.
The attacks came to a head in 1900 with the siege of
Peking (now called Beijing) by 140,000 Boxers that drew the attention
of the US and other powers that wanted to protect their interests in China.
An international relief force of 19,000 was then organized, which included
2,500 U.S. sailors and Marines.
After the relief forces took the city, China was forced
to sign a settlement that required it to pay reparations to the participating
nations for the next 40 years. The US attempted to relieve the payments
by using them to finance scholarships for Chinese students, and by 1924,
the Senate remitted all further payments.