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DaMo

The advocates and motives of the Opium Wars

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DaMo

http://east_west_dialogue.tripod.com/dialogue/id9.html

``In view of the inordinate lengths to which the corruption of morals have advanced, I almost think it necessary that Chinese missionaries should be sent us to teach the aim and practice of natural theology.''

--Gottfried Leibniz

link.first.opium.war.jpg

... The British were well aware of the destructive nature of opium, but argued that opium sales were necessary because it was the only item which they could sell to the Chinese. Payment for tea, which the British imported, had created a drain of silver from England to China. ...

Far More Evil than Mere Greed

The Governor-General of the East India Company stated in 1817, ``Were it possible to prevent the use of the drug altogether, except for medicine, we would gladly do it, in compassion for mankind.''

This explanation sounds like the famous bandit, Willie Sutton, who, when asked, ``Why do you rob banks?'' responded, ``Because that's where the money is.'' However, the true motive for Britain's Opium Wars was far more evil than mere greed. ...

Adam Smith, An apologist for the British East India Company

... Adam Smith, in his Wealth of Nations, followed this belief, that human behavior was best ordered by each man following his hedonistic desires to their lawful conclusion. He argued that opium was a legitimate product, the same as any other commodity, that the objective laws of the ``invisible hand'' must be allowed to determine all economic activity, and anything which stood in the way, such as national governments, were an obstacle which must be removed. ...

Karl Marx Defends British Opium War

... Reflecting the racism which dominated England, where the majority of the population enthusiastically supported the first Opium War (there were popular demonstrations against the second Opium War), Marx defends the British-forced addiction of China:

``It would seem as though history had first to make this whole people drunk before it could rouse them out of their hereditary stupidity.'' ...

Henry Carey Refutes the British System

... He demonstrated that the British system violated the requirements for successful human survival, and, that opium production was a lawful result of the destructive nature of the British System. ...

Free Trade Destroys Indian Cloth Manufacturing

Carey describes how in 1813, British ``free trade'' removed tariffs on cloth imported into India, ``but with the restriction on the export of machinery and artisans maintained in full force.'' Within twenty years, Indian cloth manufacturing was completely wiped out. ...

The British East India Company's Opium Monopoly

... The opium juice was processed into a form suitable for smoking, and formed into three pound cakes, which were then wrapped in poppy pedals. Forty of these cakes were loaded into chests, each stamped with the symbol of the East India Company.

In a completely transparent fraud of ``free trade,'' the Company then auctioned off these chests to ``country traders,'' (whom it pretended were independent), at roughly four times the cost of production. These traders were licensed by the Company, and in some cases financed by it. The Company would even give the ``country traders'' opium on consignment, and collect payment in Canton (Guangzhou) after the opium had been sold. ...

What the British Will Never Forget

... The first major shipment of opium, was arranged in 1781, by the Company's Governor-General, Warren Hastings, who described opium as a ``pernicious'' commodity, ``which the wisdom of the Government should carefully restrain from internal consumption.'' ...

... By 1804, the revenues from opium sales to China, were sufficient to cover the cost of tea, imported from China. Between 1804 and 1806, $7 million were transferred out of China. ...

... The opium trade increased from 4,244 chests in the 1820-21 season to 18,956 by 1830-31. By 1831, the opium trade into China was two-and-a-half times greater than the tea trade. It was probably the largest trade in a single commodity anywhere in the world. ...

William Jardine: "Iron-Headed Old Rat"

The largest of the ``country traders'' was Jardine, Matheson & Co. William Jardine and James Matheson formed a partnership in 1828. Matheson was the first to see the potential of smuggling along the entire Chinese coast. Matheson blamed the Chinese dislike for ``free trade'' to their ``marvellous degree of imbecility and avarice, conceit and obstinacy.'' Jardine was nicknamed ``Iron-Headed Old Rat'' by the Chinese. ...

... Matheson used his opium fortune to become the second largest landholder in Great Britain, and was made a Baron by Queen Victoria. ...

... By the late 1830's, there was no doubt that opium was leading to the destruction of China. By 1836, opium shipments were more than 30,000 chests, enough to supply 12.5 million smokers. The Chinese imperial army lost a battle against local rebels because the army was addicted to opium. The financial drain on China was disrupting the entire economy. From 1829 to 1840, Chinese exports had brought in 7 million silver dollars, but imports, mainly opium had drained 56 million. ...

Creating a Pretext for War

Elliot sought to establish a pretext for war other than the defense of opium, arguing that the issue was the Chinese demand that British merchants be subject to ``barbaric'' Chinese law. He instructed British merchants to hand over their, in fact, unsalable opium stockpiles, with the promise that the British government would reimburse them for their loss. ...

... While Matheson continued the company's smuggling operations from the new base at Hongkong, Jardine was sent to London, as the representative of all the opium smugglers, to rally support for war. The propaganda he spread in London, was that honest British merchants were being besieged, imprisoned, deprived of food, and actually threatened with death. He rallied British cotton merchants that war was necessary to ``open China'' to imports of British cloth. ...

... The British carried out a series of attacks on Chinese cities using the fleet to destroy obsolete Chinese fortifications, and then threaten the cities with destruction unless they paid ransom. The British moved cannon to the edge of Canton, and forced the city to pay a ransom of $6 million. Shanghai paid $300,000, ransom but was still severely looted. ...

... The Chinese refused to even discuss the legalization of opium. The Emperor responded: ``Gain-seeking and corrupt men will for profit and sensuality defeat my wishes, but nothing will induce me to derive a revenue from the vice and misery of my people.'' ...

... In the period following the first Opium War, Hongkong was avoided by tea or silk traders, and instead served as a center for opium smuggling, gambling, prostitution and piracy. The Governor of Hongkong reported that ``almost every person possessed of capital who is not connected with government employ is employed in the opium trade.''

Hongshang: Central Bank for the Opium Trade

The Hongkong economy has continued to be dominated by opium money, as it developed into a model for the success of British ``free enterprise'' methods. The Hongkong and Shanghai Bank (``Hongshang''), the closest thing to a Central Bank that exists in the ``free enterprise'' Hongkong economy, was founded with opium money.

In the treaty ending the second Opium War, the Chinese were forced to accept the legalization of opium. With Chinese resistance broken, large scale opium production in China was begun, supposedly to stop the drain on silver caused by opium imports. Both imports and domestic production soared, with imports reaching 105,508 chests by 1880. It is conservatively estimated, that China's opium-addicts numbered between 30 and 40 million, at that time. ...

... Opium remained at the head of the list, averaging 10 million pounds sterling a year during the 1880's. By 1900, a great part of government revenues went to pay indemnities, imposed on China by various ``peace'' treaties.

Opium went hand-in-hand with foreign conquest and revolution. China was rapidly broken apart by the centrifugal forces introduced by the effects of British looting. From 1850 to 1860, China was racked by revolts by the Taiping and Triad gangs. Deaths from the chaos are estimated to have been several tens of millions. Many provinces lost more than half their population. By 1916, China was so shattered, that when nationalists around Sun Yat-sen attempted to set up a Republic, the greatest problem was to unite the country. ...

Afterword

... It is through this economic reconstruction, that the drug-running, looting policies of the British empire, will finally be defeated.

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Guest YHQ

[edit]

New addition to things not welcome on here:

Conspiracy theories with on basis in fact, be they anti-semitic, anti-gay, or anti-anything else. Come back when you have some respectable sources, not an article you've copied and pasted from a white supremacist website. Comments by pm, as usual.

Roddy

[/edit]

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DaMo

[edit]

Comments by pm, as usual.

Perhaps you missed this bit.

Roddy

[/edit]

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Amdir_Flassion

Dunno what's with da long article....

But I think it's the world's first major war where a country and its people were forced to take up drugs by foreign invaders. Nobody can justify such a war fought for such purposes. Commissioner Lin deserves recognition from anti-narcotics authorities everywhere as the world's first warrior against the illicit drug trade.

But is he recognised anywhere in the Western world? Or ignored to gloss over and turn a blind eye to the injustices performed by Western imperialism and colonialism?

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Ian_Lee

The above essay has gross misunderstanding about the role of Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank in Hong Kong's economy.

First of all, HSCB (the abbreviation now it uses worldwide) is not Hong Kong's Central Bank. Before 1984 when the dollar peg system was set up, Hong Kong Bank (the abbreviation that it used worldwide back then) had served as a de facto central bank for HK. But after 1984, it was no more than the other two commercial banks -- Bank of China and The Chartered Bank -- which can print local currency if it renders equal amount of US$ to HK's Monetary Authority.

Hong Kong Monetary Authority is HK's Central Bank. In fact, its chief Joseph Yam has been voted as the Best Central Banker of the World in 1997.

Moreover, did HSBC profits mainly from the opium trade as the above article narrates?

Before 1949, HSBC's main focus was on Shanghai. Its headquarter, the mammoth marble stone building located on the Bund is now the site of Shanghai's municipal government.

And during the 19th Century and early part of 20th century, HSCB was merely one of the British banks operating in Hong Kong. Others like the Mercantile Bank and Chartered Bank also served a functional role in the territory.

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Ian_Lee

The British was the culprit behind the Opium War. No doubt about it.

But unlike the other foreign powers which grabbed huge chunks of land for good, i.e. Russia, British merely aimed for trade albeit immoral trade. And in the portal cities that they founded, they had endowed it with lingering legacy.

Two of China's most prosperous cities -- Shanghai and Hong Kong -- were all founded by the British. Merely 155 years ago, both places were just fishing villages.

In fact, Singapore which is now inhabited mostly by ethnic Chinese was also founded by the British.

In 1923, when Sun Yat Sen visited Hong Kong and made a speech to the students at HKU, the theme of his speech was "Why British could do it in HK but Chinese could not do it in other parts of China?"

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skylee
Before 1949, HSBC's main focus was on Shanghai. Its headquarter, the mammoth marble stone building located on the Bund is now the site of Shanghai's municipal government.

I think it is now Pudong Development Bank.

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Quest
The British was the culprit behind the Opium War. No doubt about it.

But unlike the other foreign powers which grabbed huge chunks of land for good' date=' i.e. Russia, British merely aimed for trade albeit immoral trade. And in the portal cities that they founded, they had endowed it with lingering legacy.

Two of China's most prosperous cities -- Shanghai and Hong Kong -- were all founded by the British. Merely 155 years ago, both places were just fishing villages.

In fact, Singapore which is now inhabited mostly by ethnic Chinese was also founded by the British.

In 1923, when Sun Yat Sen visited Hong Kong and made a speech to the students at HKU, the theme of his speech was "Why British could do it in HK but Chinese could not do it in other parts of China?"[/quote']

yadda yadda... ~_~

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Ian_Lee

Quest:

Here is what Sun Yat Sen said when he visited his alma mater in 1923:

http://www.hku.hk/daao/sunyatsen/syspaddress.html

Some excerpts:

The question was "Where and how did I get my revolutionary and modern ideas?" The answer was, "I got my idea in this very place; in the Colony of Hong Kong." - (Laughter and applause.) "I am going to tell you," continued Dr Sun, "how I got these ideas. More than thirty years ago I was studying in Hong Kong and spent a great deal of spare time in walking the streets of the Colony. Hong Kong impressed me a great deal, because there was orderly calm and because there was artistic work being done without interruption. I went to my home in Heungshan twice a year and immediately noticed the great difference. There was disorder instead of order, insecurity instead of security.

When I arrived home I had to be my own policeman and my own protector. The first matter for my care was to see my rifle was in order and to make sure plenty of ammunition was still left. I had to prepare for action for the night. Each time it was like this, year after year. I compared Heungshan with Hong Kong and, although they are only 50 miles apart, the difference of the Governments impressed me very much. Afterwards, I saw the outside world and I began to wonder how, it was that foreigners, that Englishmen could do such things as they had done, for example, with the barren rock of Hong Kong, within 70 or 80 years, while China, in 4,000 years, had no places like Hong Kong."

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Quest

I wouldn't argue that Great Britain was indeed much more advanced than China in the Sun Yat Sen's era(in fact, even now it is still zillions times more advanced). but, so what? Are the Chinese "inherently defficient" to develop by themselves?

But unlike the other foreign powers which grabbed huge chunks of land for good, i.e. Russia, British merely aimed for trade albeit immoral trade.

oh really. How much land is India, Hongkong, Canada, America, Australia etc etc etc combined? The sun never set on the British Empire, and you are telling me they weren't hungry for land? The fact that they couldn't take as much land in China as they wanted to was because they had to play this balancing game with other imperial powers. There is no such thing as a benevolent imperial power, as much as you would like to believe.

And in the portal cities that they founded, they had endowed it with lingering legacy.

Two of China's most prosperous cities -- Shanghai and Hong Kong -- were all founded by the British. Merely 155 years ago, both places were just fishing villages.

In fact, Singapore which is now inhabited mostly by ethnic Chinese was also founded by the British.

Thank thee for conquering us and making us rich, milord Great Britain.

Amen!

In 1923, when Sun Yat Sen visited Hong Kong and made a speech to the students at HKU, the theme of his speech was "Why British could do it in HK but Chinese could not do it in other parts of China?"

Why? because the time hadn't come yet.

Why were the Britons still living in huts and caves when the mighty Roman legions set foot upon the British isles?

Why why?

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Ian_Lee

Quest:

Don't get me wrong. Imperial Britain got to be reprimanded for what it did to China in the 19th and early 20th Century.

But the question is: Was Britain as bad as Russia, France and Japan or worse than them?

From the original article posted by Damo, it seemed that Britain singlehandedly led to the shattering of China in 1916 which in reality it did not.

Regarding the land grabbed by Britain from China during Qing period, there was only the cessation of HK island and Kowloon peninsula which by that time were all barren rocks, the 99-year lease of New Territories and Wei Hai in Shandong, and the leased concessions in the portal cities.

But they have all been returned to China.

In comparison with the huge chunks of land grabbed by Russia from China in 1858, 1860 and 1888, what Britain took was less than 1/1000 of Russia's!

But Britain turned the last piece back to China in 1997 while Jiang Zemin signed away any residual sovereign claim on those lost lands to Russia in 1991!

Well, regarding the part of Sun's speech why China was corrupt while HK was not, it is not related to time as you said.

It is related to the system.

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Ian_Lee

Another part of Sun's speech 80 years ago which is still true today:

Such cases, one after another, impressed him and he returned to Hong Kong and began to study the government. He found that among the government officials corruption was the exception and purity the rule. - (Applause.) - It was quite the contrary in China, where corruption among officials was the rule. - (Laughter.) He thought the Provisional Government would be better and went to Canton. He found that the higher the government the more corrupt it was. - (Laughter.) Finally he went to Peking, but he found things there one hundred times more corrupt and rotten than areas in Canton, and he was forced to the opinion that, after all, village government was the purest government in China.

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Quest
But the question is: Was Britain as bad as Russia, France and Japan or worse than them?

From the original article posted by Damo, it seemed that Britain singlehandedly led to the shattering of China in 1916 which in reality it did not.

Who's better? Stalin, Mao, or Kim? j/k ;)

I did not even read that first post. I remember seeing some ships and smokes there.

Regarding the land grabbed by Britain from China during Qing period, there was only the cessation of HK island and Kowloon peninsula which by that time were all barren rocks, the 99-year lease of New Territories and Wei Hai in Shandong, and the leased concessions in the portal cities.

But they have all been returned to China.

In comparison with the huge chunks of land grabbed by Russia from China in 1858, 1860 and 1888, what Britain took was less than 1/1000 of Russia's!

But Britain turned the last piece back to China in 1997 while Jiang Zemin signed away any residual sovereign claim on those lost lands to Russia in 1991!

Only if Britain were not half a world away. Lucky(or unlucky?) Hongkong.

Well, regarding the part of Sun's speech why China was corrupt while HK was not, it is not related to time as you said.

It is related to the system.

It has to do with many things. My point was, why why?

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Ian_Lee

Quest:

Britain did not intend to permanently keep Hong Kong in the first place. Otherwise why would London sign a 99-year lease on New Territories in 1898?

London could do what St. Petersburg did by that time -- grab whatever it liked -- I don't see how Qing could resist it.

Well, Moscow is far as London is. But I don't see how CCP can demand back the lost territory even though Moscow is so far away.

Unfortunately for those Chinese in Russian Far East, they still would be subject to the daily harassment of the Cossack policemen!

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Ian_Lee

Well, of course Putin got thousands of nuclear weapons while Blair has none.

After all, PRC is no more than a paper tiger!

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Quest
Britain did not intend to permanently keep Hong Kong in the first place. Otherwise why would London sign a 99-year lease on New Territories in 1898?

If i remember correctly, the 99 year lease was only for "the New Territories". Hongkong and Kowloon were supposedly signed off permanently to Britain.

London could do what St. Petersburg did by that time -- grab whatever it liked -- I don't see how Qing could resist it.

Do you really think London meant to only have it for 99 years? It was just a political scheme to shut the mouths of the other colonial powers. Of course, they never could imagine 100 years later it was a very different world.

Well, Moscow is far as London is. But I don't see how CCP can demand back the lost territory even though Moscow is so far away.

Beijing is far as xyz is from Hongkong. =P

To be more clear, the Russian border lies far beyond the border of the city of Moscow, and unfortunately her troops are deployed far beyond the Moscow border as well.

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Ian_Lee

Quest:

May I remind you that China should have retaken HK a long time ago since Beijing deemed those unequal treaties as null and void.

In fact, Chiang Kai Shek deemed those treaties null and void and put his words into action. In 1945, Chiang was delegated by the Allies to take over the surrendering Japanese troops in the China theater (except Manchuria), Vietnam (north of 17 degrees), Taiwan and HK.

Per such order, battlions of ROC troops were dispatched to HK and stationed in the barracks at Boundary Street, Kowloon.

It was only under the strong lobbying by Winston Churchill at Truman (unlike FDR, Truman hated Chiang) that Chiang pulled back the troops in 1946 (another reason was that Chiang had to consolidate to prepare for the imminent civil war).

When PLA stepped on the soil in HK in 1997, they were 52 years later than the ROC troops!

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Quest
Quest:

May I remind you that China should have retaken HK a long time ago since Beijing deemed those unequal treaties as null and void.

In fact' date=' Chiang Kai Shek deemed those treaties null and void and put his words into action. In 1945, Chiang was delegated by the Allies to take over the surrendering Japanese troops in the China theater (except Manchuria), Vietnam (north of 17 degrees), Taiwan and HK.

Per such order, battlions of ROC troops were dispatched to HK and stationed in the barracks at Boundary Street, Kowloon.

It was only under the strong lobbying by Winston Churchill at Truman (unlike FDR, Truman hated Chiang) that Chiang pulled back the troops in 1946 (another reason was that Chiang had to consolidate to prepare for the imminent civil war).

When PLA stepped on the soil in HK in 1997, they were 52 years later than the ROC troops![/quote']

ok, but how does that tell me Great Britain was one of the "kinder" colonial powers?

:) we can stop here, I am just fooling around.

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Ian_Lee

So far I have only heard that Lee Kuan Yew said that Britain was the kinder colonial power.

In Lee's memoir, he wrote that the PAP begged Britain to station garrison in Singapore even after Singapore's independence (or kickout from Malaysia) in 1965.

Since so many official teams have been sent from PRC to study Lee's Singapore, I guess Lee's words must mean something to Beijing.

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Guest Mat

Yes, Commissioner Lin should be lauded for already seeing the impure and responding to it. Yes there are some Americans who know a little bit more than Chinese has 2 tones, high and low. Yes, besides the British, the French had designs on China too. The Jesuits, with the help of Verbiest, actually helped Chinese to make canons! They were not simply attempting to correct the Chinese calendar. One should read about that. The story of how a few Jesuit missionaries were imprisioned and sentenced to be executed, but that night, there was an earthquake, and the Emperor reconsidered.

[edit]I'll say it again. Comments on moderation to me, by PM. Roddy[/edit]

M.

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