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Commemorative medal of the 1860 China Expedition
Second empire - Médaille de l'expédition de chine - recto.jpg
Commemorative medal of the 1860 China Expedition (obverse)
Awarded by  France
Type Campaign medal
Campaign Anglo-French expedition to China
Clasps none
Established 23 January 1861
Total awarded 8000
Related Médaille commémorative de l'expédition de Chine (1901)
Medaille commemorative de l'expedition de Chine ribbon.svg
Ribbon of the Commemorative medal of the 1860 China Expedition

The Commemorative medal of the 1860 China Expedition (French language: Médaille commémorative de l'expédition de Chine de 1860) was a military award of the Second French Empire to reward soldiers and sailors who participated in the Anglo-French expedition to China, during the Second Opium War. It was created by imperial decree on 23 January 1861, by Napoleon III.[1]


The British Empire had been engaged in an ongoing conflict with the Qing Dynasty since 1856 over legalizing the opium trade, expanding coolie trade, opening all of China to British merchants, and exempting foreign imports from internal transit duties. Following the United Kingdom general election, 1857 the new parliament decided to seek redress from China based on the report about the Arrow Incident submitted by Harry Parkes, British Consul to Guangzhou. The French Empire, the United States, and the Russian Empire received requests from Britain to form an alliance. France joined the British action against China, prompted by the execution of a French missionary, Father August Chapdelaine ("Father Chapdelaine Incident"), by Chinese local authorities in Guangxi province.[2] The conflict concluded with the 1858 Treaty of Tianjin finally ratified by the emperor's brother, Yixin, the Prince Gong, in the Convention of Peking on 18 October 1860.


French medal of the China Campaign ("Médaille de la Campagne de Chine"), 1861. Musée de la Légion d'Honneur.

The medal is suspended from a yellow ribbon, in the center, the name of the city of Beijing written in Chinese characters,woven in blue. It is a round medal 30 mm in diameter made of silver. The design was engraved by Albert Désiré Barre. On the obverse the legend NAPOLEON III EMPEREUR surrounding the crowned effigy of the Emperor, framed by a laurel wreath. On the reverse is the inscription EXPÉDITION DE CHINE 1860 surrounding the names of battles Ta-Kou, Cang-Kia-Wan, Pa-Li-Kiao, Pe-King, surrounded by a laurel wreath.[3]

See also


  1. "Médaille commémorative de l'Expédition de Chine" (in French). Fondation Napoléon. 2008. Retrieved 2011-01-02. 
  2. A History of Christian Missions in China p.273 by Kenneth Scott Latourette: "A casus belli was found in an unfortunate incident which had occurred before the Arrow affair, the judicial murder of a French priest, Auguste Chapdelaine" [1]
  3. Champenois, Marc (January 2004). "Médaille commémorative de l'expédition de chine" (in French). France Phaleristique. Retrieved 2011-01-02. 

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