Boxer Rebellion Indemnity Scholarship Program

The Boxer Rebellion Indemnity Scholarship Program (zh-cp|c=庚子賠款獎學金|p=Gēngzǐ Péikuǎn Jiǎngxuéjīn) was a scholarship program funded by Boxer Rebellion indemnity money paid to the United States that provided for Chinese students to study in the U.S. It has been called "the most important scheme for educating Chinese students in America and arguably the most consequential and successful in the entire foreign-study movement of twentieth century China."Weili Ye. "Seeking Modernity in China's Name: Chinese Students in the United States". Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001.]


Although there had previously been some higher education opportunities for Chinese in the U.S. associated with Yung Wing's Chinese Educational Mission, this short-lived effort was disbanded in 1881 and there was little subsequent activity.

Following the Boxer Rebellion, the defeated Qing Empire was fined war reparations of 450,000,000 taels of fine silver (around £67.5 million or US$333 million at the time) for the loss that it caused to the Eight-Nation Alliance, of which the U.S. share was 7%. When Liang Cheng, [Liang Cheng himself had come to the U.S. at age 12 as part of the fourth group of Yung Wing's Chinese Educational Mission. He was educated at Phillips Academy and Amherst College.] the Qing representative to the U.S., learned that the terms of the Boxer Protocol awarded the U.S. more than it had originally demanded, he initiated a campaign to pressure the U.S. into returing the difference to China. After several years, the Theodore Roosevelt administration decided in June 1907 to use the difference to create a scholarship program for Chinese students to study in the U.S.Iris Chang. "Thread of the Silkworm". Basic books, 1995.]


The program, set up in 1909, funded the selection, preparatory training, transportation to the U.S., and study for the scholarship beneficiaries. Part of the first remission of money included establishment in 1911 of a preparatory school (肄業館 "Yìyèguǎn") in Peking (Beijing) for the Chinese graduates pursuing further studies at American universities, named Tsinghua College in 1911 and also called the "American Indemnity College" (美國賠款學校 "Měiguó Péikuǎn Xuéxiào"). This school was later expanded to offered four-year undergraduate and post-graduate programs and became Tsinghua University.

A second remission in 1924 provided for the establishment of the China Foundation (中華文化教育基金會 "Zhōnghuá Wénhuà Jiàoyù Jījīnhuì") which would in turn found the China Institute in New York City in 1926. [Yong Ho. [ "China Institute and Columbia University."] Presented at the Columbia’s China Connection Conference at Columbia University. September 2004. Accessed 5 March 2008.]

Approximately 1,300 students were able to study through the program from 1909 to 1929. In 1929, after Tsinghua had become a true university itself, the Boxer Rebellion Indemnity Scholarship Program was opened to all candidates. A total of five groups of scholars were educated in the U.S. before the Japanese invasion of China in 1937.


A number of prominent Chinese and Chinese Americans were beneficiaries of the Boxer Rebellion Indemnity Scholarship Program, including philosopher Hu Shih, Nobel Physics prizewinner Chen Ning Yang, linguist Yuen Ren Chao, and scientist Tsien Hsue-shen. The scholarships served as a model for the Fulbright Program's grants for international educational exchange. [Morris Bishop. "A History of Cornell". Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1962. p.403]


Other references

*Michael H. Hunt. [ "The American Remission of the Boxer Indemnity: A Reappraisal."] "Journal of Asian Studies". 31.3 (May, 1972): 539-559.

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