Multinormativity in Western Arguments Regarding Punishment of the Boxer Uprising

July 11, 2018

Violence against foreigners committed by the Boxers and their patrons in the Chinese state during the summer of 1900 touched off a vigorous debate in the West about what actions should be taken in response. As foreign troops assembled on the coast of China and then proceeded to sack Beijing, and for months thereafter, government officials, diplomats, lawyers, journalists, missionaries, and others from all the interested foreign countries staked out various positions regarding how the Chinese should be punished. The Boxer Protocol of September 1901 that settled the conflict represented the outcome of that lengthy and complex debate among multiple parties.

Timothy L. Schroer, Professor of History at the University of West Georgia, explores the multiple Western arguments concerning punishment of the Chinese. To what extent did international law shape that debate? What competing normative claims were offered? How did those norms relate to each other? To what extent were arguments advanced that were wholly a-normative? The application of the lens of multinormativity affords several insights into that debate. The paper has just been released in our research paper series on SSRN.

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