The China Campaign Medal was established by paragraph (c) of War Department General Orders Number 5 dated January 12, 1905.
The China Campaign medal was awarded for qualifying service between the inclusive dates of June 20, 1900, and May 27, 1901.
The China Campaign Medal was awarded for military service ashore in China with the China Relief Expedition between June 20, 1900, and May 27, 1901.
Order of Precedence
The China Campaign Medal was worn after the Philippine Congressional Medal and before the Army of Cuban Pacification Medal.
The only device authorized for the China Campaign Medal was the Silver Citation Star, a five-pointed star three-sixteenths of an inch in diameter. If authorized for gallantry in action during the Boxer Rebellion, the Silver Citation Star could be worn on the ribbon of the China Campaign Medal. A total of 47 Silver Citation Stars were retroactively awarded to 40 recipients for gallantry in action during the Boxer Rebellion.
The China Campaign Medal was designed by Francis D. Millet (1846-1912).
China Campaign Medal No. 1 was issued to Major General Charles F. Humphrey on June 9, 1908.
DESCRIPTION AND SYMBOLISM
In the center of a bronze medallion one and a quarter inches in diameter, a Chinese five-toed dragon in the full face position, encircled by the words CHINA RELIEF EXPEDITION 1900 - 1901, the words being separated from the dates by bullets.
According to Millet, the Imperial Chinese dragon was often represented in a circle; so, this favorite Chinese design was chosen to symbolize the location and identity of the opponent in this campaign. The Chinese illustrate the Imperial dragon with the Pearl of Immorality not far from its opened mouth. Millet deleted the Pearl of Immortality in this representation thus alluding to victory over the Boxers. Another reason he selected the dragon rather than a building, according to a letter he wrote to General Humphrey, was that "having already an architectural form, so to speak, on the Spanish Medal, I thought it would not look well to have a second architectural form in the line of medals you and others will wear."
The reverse shows an eagle with wings displayed, alight upon a trophy consisting of a canno;, six rifles and four standards; an Indian shield; a quiver of arrows and three spears; a Cuban machete, and a Sulu kris. The whole is enclosed by a circle composed of the words, UNITED STATES ARMY in the upper half, and thirteen stars in the lower half.
The standards represent the five great wars of the United States as of 1905: the Revolution; the War of 1812; the Mexican War; the Spanish-American War; and the Philippine Insurrection. The weapons suggest the armed resistance offered by the defeated opponents in those wars. The eagle is the American bald eagle and represents the United States, and the thirteen stars allude the original colonies and symbolize unity. The six rifles, four standards, and three spears total thirteen, which is consistent with the thirteen stars at the bottom of the medal
The ribbon to the China Campaign Medal is yellow with blue edges. The yellow was selected by Millet because it was one of the colors of the Imperial Manchu dynasty; the blue edges were employed "to distinguish the ribbon from all others."
This medal was first produced by the Philadelphia Mint, and initial strikes were serially numbered on the rim with the No. prefix. The Mint also produced strikes that could be purchased by out-of-service veterans that were numbered with the M.No. prefix. Later strikes were produced by contract manufacturers and were numbered without prefix.