"Coffee, Tea, or Opium?" In "Coffee, Tea, or Opium", the authors main point is that even at this point in history some rulers felt that drug importation throughout other countries was immoral for their economic and social status. China's commissioner for foreign trade, Lin Zex u wanted to stop the illegal importation of opium into his country. Lin saw that the opium trade was damaging the publics health and was bleeding China of its wealth. The emperor of Manchu had given Lin extensive power and ordered him to control the demand of China's people for opium and force the barbarian merchants to cut off the supply. Throughout this article Wilson shows that as the years past the opium use in China grew substantially:" During the trading season of 1816-17, about forty-six hundred 150-pound chests of opium entered China. This number rose to 22,000 by 1831-32 and 35,000 by 1837-38...
That was more than 5.25 million pounds of opium, the carefully collected and dried sap extruded from 4.8 trillion opium poppies" (Wilson pg 38). Not only was the did it spread rapidly into China, but other countries found that highly addictive substances made great profits in exportation. The traders were not the only men making a quick dollar, but the middlemen, and the farmers as well. The people that fell short we the addicts themselves and the importing countries, due to the fact that the opium ran up uncontrollable trade deficits. England and other countries profited by exporting opium into China because these countries were receiving goods like tea and silk while China was getting opium. This meant that the other countries were getting items they could sell and receive items that were reusable or they could use for resell in their country for higher prices than what they had spent in China.
Not only that but they could sell small amounts of opium for a large sum of money. Lin wrote a letter to Queen Victoria to explain his troubles about the effects opium was having on his country, but to no avail. All he wanted was someone who understood his desire to stop the selling of opium in China. Hoping that the Queen would respond and agree with him never happened. Unfortunately the British were determined to keep the sales going even if it meant by force. They wanted to keep the profits in by taking some of China's main ports.
They also abused their right to port in these areas by staying longer than needed, so that they could gain more leverage in China. Not mention more profits. The emperor found Lin to be a failure and wanted the excuses of why the sales had not stopped to end. Lin's response was to ask the emperor to fight against the British so that they would not expect them to fight them with arms.
By doing this Lin believed that they would be able to reach their fruition on the fight against opium. The authors conclusion to this article is that in 1839, Lin had 20,000 chests of opium disposed of. This did not prove to be affective for China though because in 1942 they had to sign The Treaty of Nanking, which made the Chinese pay them 21 million dollars in reparations, open five ports to the British, and agree to equal equality to Chinese-British relations. Wilson shows that no matter how hard Lin tried to stop the trafficking of opium into China there would be no stop of it for many years to come and even then it would not be completely gone. The style of this article proves to me that no matter how hard we try to stop trafficking of illegal substances into other countries it will never stop. Today, there are millions if not billions of drugs exported into the U.S. due to peoples addiction to the different substances.
China may have been one of the first countries that had to deal with the problem of addiction in their country, but they were definitely not the last. I found this article interesting because I did not realize how difficult it was for China in the 1800's to deal with the opium issue. They tried so hard to stop their fellow citizens from becoming addicted to something that was destroying them physically and financial. It also shows that no matter how big your country is there is always another country out there that is bigger or stronger that is just waiting to pounce on your weaknesses, so that they can take them over. I think that we could use Lin's example on what not to do in that situation. I feel this way because I saw that he took the quite approach on getting his point across.
When in fact, Lin should have been getting the people involved by getting them to realize what was going on and showing them what a shamble the country was going to due to their drug use. Not only should Lin have done that, but he should have cut off ports from such countries as England if he felt that they were such a treat to China. He was completely submissive until it was too late not giving the country a real chance to fight the habit that the people had acquired. In short this article was an interesting read because I had never realized what was going on in the mid 1800's. It is an eye opener in fact that drug use in most areas may be at level point, but it has not ceased to exist. Therefore, the battle of drug addiction and making it an illegal substance in some areas was going on long before us and most likely will not be extinguished until long after we are gone..