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China

Peking Photo Herbert Hoover learned a lot about technology and management in Australia. He would put this knowledge to good use in China. In China he would also manage various mine resources, plus deal with major economic problems, and a rebellion. Herbert Hoover's dual role would be as the Chinese government's resident chief engineer of the Bureau of Mines for Chihli and Jehol provinces, and Bewick Moreing's representative in China.

At the very time Herbert Hoover went to China, a nationalist reaction to the previous plunder and forced territorial concessions by Europeans threatened to endanger both foreign interests and native development of natural resources. He was constantly frustrated in his dealings with the Chinese government, and before very much could be accomplished, the Empress Dowager of China had the young Emperor thrown into prison. The insurrection known as the Boxer Rebellion broke out. The Boxers (Society of Righteous Harmonious Fists) believed they possessed supernatural Boxer Rebellion Photo powers that protected them from harm. They planned to totally destroy every foreign thing in China. This included railways, telegraphs, houses and people. They were also out to exterminate any Chinese associated with foreigners or Christianity.

The Hoovers along with hundreds of foreign families were trapped in Tientsin, protected only by a few soldiers from several foreign countries. The Hoovers were in the thick of the city's defense. Herbert directed the building of barricades and he joined the fire fighters. He directed the provision of food and water to six hundred anti-Boxer Chinese who had taken refuge in the compound. This would be a portent of what was to come for Herbert Hoover. The rebellion had begun in June Chinwantao Photo 1900, and by August with the arrival of relief forces, Lou and Herbert Hoover were able to leave for England on a German mail boat.

After the rebellion was put down, Herbert Hoover returned to China to manage his firm's interests there, and managed to turn a losing business into a prospering one. Within a year he was offered a junior partnership in the Bewick Moreing company. He said, "I was then 27 years old and delighted to get out of China into a larger engineering world." (Memoirs pg. 65).


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Last updated: June 20, 2001