How has the First Opium War affect China’s imports? During the Qing dynasty, the Qng government wasnt very fond of trade or any kind of contact with the outside world If they found something they disliked, they would destroy It or throw It away. 3rltaln was facing a problem at this time: they wanted silk, and porcelain, which were mainly in China. At the same time though, China didnt really want any ot Britain’s items. Britain was paying tor all the Chinese items with silver, the only value China really liked from the British. The problem was that more silver was leaving Britain than coming in since they had to pay for all of the Chinese

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Imports that were coming In. Brltdln didn’t get any money from China, since China didn’t buy any of their goods. Britain’s solution to this problem was to sell opium to the Chinese. Opium had already been used in China before, but only as a medicinal drug. The British convinced the Chinese to buy opium when they really didn’t need it. After buying some, the Chinese became more and more addicted to the drug so they eventually bought more. Soon then, opium was bought very rapidly and Britain soon got their silver back and even more. In fact, China paid Britain 34 million silver dollars tor the drug In the 1830s alone!

In 1819, the prices dropped dramatically due to some competition in India. Since the prices shot down, the amount of opium sold shot up! The English East India Company’s (the company that gave opium to China) monopoly broke apart in 1833. Then, new dealers grabbed the opportunity and started to sell opium to China. All of this opium trade was being done illegally since the Yongzheng emperor In 1729 said that there should be no more opium Imported to or used in China. Since the British were making so much money, the opium ban was ignored. In 1797, Chinese farmers got opium from the British and began to Illegally sell It.

In 1730, about 15 tons of opium was smuggled into China. By

Page 2 Opium Trade: Impact of the Opium War on Chinese Imports Essay

1773, the number reached 75 tons of opium exported from Britain into China’ In an effort to again try to ban the opium, the Qing Empire Issued a decree stating that there shall be no more smuggling of opium or any usage of opium because of the large number ot addicts and the loss ot silver in China, Soon atterwards. the opium had become too big of a problem to be stopped. The Qng government was based in Beijing In the north. So, the government couldn’t do anything to stop illegal opium imports and Illegal selling of opium In the south, which were the maln area of trading ports.

By then China was already illegally importing about 900 tons of opium every year. So the first Opium War began In 1839 and ended in 1842. The British made an attempt to tell China to let Britain officially export opium into China but China refused. The 3ritlsh then decided that they would continue illegal opium trade with China. China created a law that said that opium dealers born in China would be sentenced to death. Another force of action the Chinese took to stop opium trade was to appoint a new strict commissioner to control opium trade at the port of trade with the Chinese. He also held all British merchants hostage.

The British Superintendent of Trade then took immediate action; he told all of the British subjects to hand over all of their opium at once. The total amount of opium handed in was more than a years supply. The opium was given to Lin Zexu to be destroyed. The British saw this destruction of opium that once belonged to Britain as destruction of their property. Trade between China and Britain resumed, but the British were not allowed to bring any drugs into China. Lin Zexu then sent a Memorial to Queen Victoria saying that the reasoning of the royal government regarding opium trade was very immoral.

During this time, the Chinese were doing everything in their power to stop opium trade once and for all. The memorial angered the British and they wanted to legalize opium trade even more. The British were also angered that the Chinese had destroyed their property without paying for it. Captain Elliot, the superintendent of the British fleet asked the governor of Britain for as many ships as possible to fght off the Chinese. The British had two main goals during war. They had to protect their ships with opium and they had to destroy places in China so that the Chinese would legalize opium trade.

The British won for they had muskets and annons and a better knowledge in war. When the British attempted to consult about the problem, they said that they wanted the Chinese to pay for all of the opium that they had destroyed during the battle. The Chinese refused, so the British caused more destruction in the cities of China. Finally in 1843, the Chinese were forced to sign the Treaty of Nanjing. The treaty said that China must surrender Hong Kong and open four extra trading ports to Britain. The Chinese would also pay 21 million dollars to the British to pay for lost opium. Sooner or later, the second opium war, the Arrow War, began.

From this war, China now is one of the most drug free countries. If you are caught with a drug (smoking it, selling it, etc) then you either go to Jail or get a death penalty. After the war, the later generations had brain problems. That is one of the reasons why China’s education system boosted up. China’s rules about drugs are very serious now. If you go to China, you may see people smoking everyone and alcohol everywhere but you will never see people high or drugs anywhere. Also, since they had to open more trading ports, they were exposed to different types of religions like Catholic and the relation with the West grew stronger.

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