The actual truth has never been written about any war, and this will be no exception. -- George Lynch, journalist
STANDING together as the sun rose fully, the little remaining band, all Europeans, met death stubbornly . . . As one man fell others advanced, and finally, overcome by overwhelming odds, every one of the Europeans remaining was put to the sword in a most atrocious manner." So read a dramatic dispatch in the London Daily Mail of 16 July 1900 from its special correspondent in Shanghai. Under the headline "The Pekin Massacre", it confirmed in gruesome detail what the world already suspected -- that hundreds of foreigners besieged in Peking's diplomatic quarter since 20 June had been murdered.
The news flew around the world, gaining in horrific detail. The New York Times dwelt on the fate of the Russian minister and his wife, plunged into boiling oil. It informed its readers that the besieged "went mad and killed all their women and children with revolvers."
In the event, these reports proved false. They might so easily have been true. The summer of 1900 witnessed a pivotal episode in China's fractured relationship with the West -- the Boxer rising. It was an event that left tens of thousands dead and touched the lives of millions more. It precipitated the end of the ruling