China War Medal (1900)

Era: 1900 - Boxer Rebellion

Approved in 1901, the China War Medal 1900 was a campaign medal awarded to British and Imperial personnel who fought in China during 10th June, to 31st December, 1900.  The troubles in China during this period are better known as the Boxer Rebellion.

The uprising took place against a background of severe drought and economic disruption in response to growth of foreign spheres of influence. Grievances ranged from political invasion ranging back to the Opium Wars.

The Boxers formed a Chinese secret society known as the I-ho-tuan ‘League of United Patriots’ or known as ‘Fists of Righteous Harmony Society’.  One of the founders of the Boxer’s anti-foreign and anti-Christian movement was Yu Hsien, called the "butcher of Shansi" by Westerners.  He was made governor of the Province and had all intentions to of evicting all foreigners.

On the 9th June, 1900, a Royal Edict was issued which not only made the murder of foreigners ‘free sport’ but actually decreed that they should be murdered.  So British and Imperial troops were sent in warships to the Chinese ports to protect their national interests and restore order.

After numerous battles against the Boxers on 14th January, 1901, a peace protocol was signed in Pekin and ratified by the Emperor on the 17th January.

Issued in silver to combatants and in bronze to native, namely Indian, bearer’s drivers and servants, it could be issued without a clasp.


Materials:      The majority of the British medals and clasps are made of solid silver, though some were issue in bronze versions, mainly to Indian non-combatants.  The majority of the British campaign awards are circular, usually 36mm in diameter.

Ribbons:         Medals are worn suspended from their own specific ribbons. These were first made of silk but cotton was increasingly used as the nineteenth century developed.  Their own colours often have a symbolic significance: the equal stripes of the ‘1939 to 1945 Star,’ for example, are dark blue to represent the service of the Royal and Merchant Navies, red, to represent that of the Armies and light blue to represent that of Air Forces.

Ribbon width can vary slightly though it is generally 32mm wide.

Ribbon – 32mm wide, with crimson centre stripe and yellow edges.

China War Medal 1900 ribbon
China War Medal 1900 ribbon

Suspension – Straight (plain)

Type – Campaign medal.

Eligibility –British and Imperial forces.

Awarded for – Campaign service.

Campaign – Boxer Rebellion 10th June to 31st December, 1900.

Established – 1901

Designer – Obverse of the medal G. W. de Saulles, reverse by William Wyon R.A.

Naming – Indented in thin block capitals, though same Naval medals were issued unnamed.

Clasps – Three awarded.

Description – The obverse of the medal has the crowned and veiled head of Queen Victoria and wording ‘VICTORIA REGINA ET IMPERATRIX.’  The reverse is the same as the China Medal with the addition of the date ‘1900’ under the word ‘CHINA.’  It shows a collection of War trophies with an oval shield, with the Royal Arms in the centre, all positioned under a palm tree.  Above is the legend ‘ARMS EXPOSCERE PACEM’

Clasps are usually referred to as ‘bars’.  They are single-faced metal bars carried on a ribbon attached to the medal, indicating the recipient’s service in a particular campaign or battle.  The clasps carry side flanges to enable them to be attached to the medal and riveted to each other, so that new ones can be attached as earned.  Usually the first earned Clasp is closest to the medal, so that the latest earned should be at the top, although they can be found in the wrong order. 

Taku Forts

Awarded for the actions on 17th June, 1900 to naval personnel of the British contingent of the international fleet involved in the attack of the Taku forts along the Peiho River.

Defence of Legations

Awarded to 80 Royal Marines and several 'odd' men of the British Legation Guard, who aided the defence of the Legation Quarter in Peking for 55 days between 20th June and 14th August 1900.

Relief of Pekin

Awarded to British and Indian army personnel and to men of the Royal Navy involved in the relief of the Legations in Peking as part of the international relief force during 10th June to 14th August, 1900.


This guide will help you through all the parts and descriptions of military medals


Major LL Gordon, 'British Battles & Medals

Some of the material on this page was also partially derived from <>

Which are released under the terms of the


Search for a name in our archive

Please enter a surname

Small Medium Large Landscape Portrait