Ammunition piled in front of the Forbidden City in Beijing, China. The Qing Dynasty was caught off-guard by the Boxer Rebellion, and did not immediately know how to react. Initially, the Empress Dowager Cixi moved almost reflexively to suppress the rebellion. However, she soon realized that the ordinary people of China might be able to drive the foreigners out of her realm. In Jan 1900, Cixi issued a royal edict in support of the Boxers.