Battle deaths: 4,000 
Published: 2013-07-31 21:27:11 | Altered: 2014-08-03 23:30:40
The Russian Empire and the Qing Empire had maintained a long peace, starting with the Treaty of Nerchinsk in 1689, but Tsarist forces took advantage of Chinese defeats [in the Boxer Rebellion] to impose the Aigun Treaty of 1858 and the Treaty of Peking of 1860 which ceded territory in Manchuria much of which is held by Russia to the present day (Primorye). The Russians aimed for control over Amur River for navigation, and the all weather ports of Dairen and Port Arthur in the Liaodong peninsula. The rise of Japan as an Asian power provoked Russia’s anxiety, especially in light of expanding Japanese influence in Korea. Following Japan’s victory in the First Sino-Japanese War of 1895, the Triple Intervention of Russia, Germany and France forced Japan to return the territory won in Liaodong, leading to a de facto Sino-Russian alliance.
Local Chinese in Manchuria were incensed at these Russian advances and began to harass Russians and Russian institutions, such as the Chinese Eastern Railway. In June 1900, the Chinese bombarded the town of Blagoveshchensk on the Russian side of the Amur, and in retaliation, the Russians massacred several thousand Chinese and Manchus in that town. The Czar’s government used the pretext of Boxer activity to move some 200,000 troops into the area to crush the Boxers. The Chinese used arson to destroy a bridge carrying a railway and a barracks in 27 July. The Boxers destroyed railways and cut lines for telegraphs and burned the Yantai mines. In battles on the Amur river, Western newspapers reported that the Chinese forces treated Russian civilians leniently and allowed them to escape to Russia, even notifying that they should leave the war zone. By contrast, Russian Cossacks brutally killed civilians who tried to flee in the Chinese villages. In revenge for the attacks on Chinese villages, Boxer troops burned Russian towns and almost annihilated a Russian force at Tieling. Russian forces quickly mastered both Boxers and Chinese Imperial troops. The defending Manchu bannermen were annihilated as they fought to the death, their garrisons falling one at a time against a five-pronged Russian invasion. The Russians looted their villages and property and then burnt them to ashes.
By 21 September, Russian troops took Jilin and Liaodong, and by the end of the month completely occupied Manchuria, where their presence was a major factor leading to the Russo-Japanese War.
The Chinese Honghuzi bandits of Manchuria, who had fought alongside the Boxers in the war, did not stop when the Boxer rebellion was over, and continued guerilla warfare against the Russian occupation up to the Russo-Japanese war when the Russians were defeated by Japan.
Source: Wikipedia, published under the GNU FDL. Retrieved 2014-08-02