It was the prohibition of tobacco smoking in China, the last emperor of the Ming dynasty (1628–1644) that led upset tobacco followers to experiment with smoking opium. Until that time, smoking opium was not known. So the prohibition of one drug inevitably leads to a transition to another. By 1793, both opium and tobacco were already habitually smoked throughout China.
In 1729, the Chinese strictly forbade the import and sale of opium. Despite this, the import of opium by the Portuguese from the plantations in Goa continued to grow until, by 1830, more than 25,000 boxes of opium were smuggled into China. England, with its financial interests, for which the threat of these bans was tangible, turned the situation around so much that it turned it into the so-called opium wars (1838-1842).
The East India Company and the British government justified the opium trade with the polite hypocrisy that the British establishment has become a talk of the town for three centuries. There was no direct connection between the opium trade and the East India Company, which, of course, had a monopoly in the British tea trade until 1834, did not exist. Opium was auctioned at Calcutta. After that, the company refused any responsibility for this drug.
The incident that triggered an episode of capitalist terrorism and real drug slavery on a massive scale was the destruction by the Chinese authorities of twenty thousand opium crates. In 1838, Emperor Dao Guan sent official envoy Lin to Canton to end the illicit trade in this drug. Official orders were issued to British and Chinese opium dealers to remove their goods, but these orders were rejected. Then the envoy Lin burned Chinese warehouses on land and British ships awaiting unloading at the port. More annual stock of opium soared up in smoke; The chroniclers who witnessed this event recalled that the fragrance was incomparable.
A rather boring controversy dragged on, but in the end in 1840 a war was declared. The British took the initiative, confident in the strength and superiority of the Royal Navy. The Chinese had no chance: the war was short and decisive. In 1840, Kusan was captured, and the following year the British bombarded and destroyed the fortifications on the Canton River. Local Chinese commander Ji Shen, who replaced Lin’s envoy, agreed to surrender Hong Kong and pay a contribution of 6 million Chinese silver dollars worth about 300 thousand pounds sterling. When this news reached Beijing, the emperor had no choice but to agree. Thus, the Chinese suffered significant losses in money and geographically.
Fifteen years later, a second war broke out. This war also ended badly for China. Soon after, the Treaty of Tianjin legalized opium trade in China.
In many ways, this incident has become a model for larger forays into the international drug trade by the governments of the 20th century. He clearly showed: the potential suitability for the sale of new drugs can be overcome by those established forces that oppose or seem to oppose a new product. and will overcome them. The scheme, created by the English opium diplomacy of the XIX century, was repeated, albeit with some new touches in the CIA secret collusion regarding the international trade in heroin and cocaine in our time.