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Were Opium Heads Responsible for the Downfall of China?

Elizabeth Young

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In the early 19th century, traders from Britain and America bought porcelain, silk and tea from China.  Allegedly, the problem was the “traitors” could find nothing to sell in exchange and the trade balance went negative. China then built up substantial monetary reserves in silver.

In 1830, according to our “accurate” history books, the British finally found something the Chinese would buy:  Opium.

“The fruit of the poppy was popular in many countries but, as usual, the Chinese over-did it. First, it was a favorite of the leisure classes, then, it trickled down to ordinary workmen.”

Soon, the “coolies” were neglecting their labors and China was in crisis.

When the authorities tried to stop the drug trade, the British opened fire, humiliating the government and almost bankrupting it. People lost confidence in Manchu rule.”

By the mid-19th Century, nearly half the country was in open revolt and saw the end of the oldest civilization in written history and a culture that may have influenced the Sumerians, Babylonians and the Persians. The Chinese are responsible for the four inventions that make life as we know it possible: Printing, papermaking (toilet paper?), gunpowder and the compass.

Is that Story Possible?

Are we to believe that all of a sudden “Hop Sing” is addicted to a psychotropic drug (more likely to get you constipated than high), moves to America and becomes a stereotypical Chinese house servant for Ben Cartwright at the Ponderosa?

Mike Jay in Emperors Of Dreams, realizes the Opium story is false information, which is deliberately intended to change the “dispositions and beliefs” of a population:

“The image at the core of this Opium belief has rarely been examined, either at the time by contemporaries or more recently by historians because a variety of interests intersect to replicate it in different contexts.”

In 1839, in spite of the so-called uncontrolled demand for opiates, rather than coffee or cannabis, the British traders found themselves with 20,000 chests of unsold opium on their store-ships, just below Canton. Then in one of those chance occurrences that don’t happen very often, like the same person winning the lottery three weeks in a row, the Chinese had a “tea party.”

The British now had an excuse and the historians an explanation, for the start of the first Opium War.

Read the rest at The Peoples Voice:

Dec. 22, 2010