In 1900, Chinaís glory days were behind her. China was a nation in decline. In 1900, China was heavily controlled by foreign nations who tended to dominate the ports such as Shanghai. China was ruled by the Qing family, though the family is better known as the Manchuís.
The Nineteenth Century has seen a marked involvement in China by European powers. Wars - the so-called "Opium Wars" - between China and Britain and France lead to defeats for China. She also had to hand over to Britain the strategically important port of Hong Kong. In 1894-95, Japan attacked China. This also lead to defeat and Japan took from China Korea, Formosa (Taiwan) and Port Arthur.
One consequence of these wars, was that China lost effective control of her lucrative sea ports. 50 of Chinaís most prosperous ports were deemed "treaty ports" which meant that they were open to foreign trade and residence. European nations also divided up China into spheres of influence and in these spheres the European nation involved all but ran it. The wishes of the Chinese were ignored. This, understandably, created a great deal of resentment amongst the Chinese.
The Manchu dynasty took the blame for this situation. Their position was unaffected by the European Ďtake-overí of China. There were rebellions against the rule of the Manchuís. The most infamous - the Taiping Rebellion - lasted from 1850 to 1864. In this time 600 cities were ruined and as many as 20 million people were killed. Vast areas of fertile land were destroyed - land China could not afford to lose. The Manchuís only restored their power with the help of European nations. Though this was successful, it made the Manchuís even more hated by the Chinese people.
The Manchu family could not allow this hatred to continue. In 1898, the emperor Guangxu introduced a batch of reforms during the so-called Hundred Days of Reform. These introducednew schools and colleges to boost the educational system in China corrupt officials were removed