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Cause of the Opium War Between England and China

About the causes and results of the Opium War between England and China, started when the English dumped opium on Chinese markets.

YEAR: 1840

WAR: The Opium War

PLACE: China

OPPONENTS: England v. China

PROVOCATION: The East India Company of England, suffering an adverse balance of trade with China, decided to make up its financial losses by pouring illegal opium into China for some quick profits. The Chinese imperial commissioner, Lin Tze-su, ordered all British opium destroyed. England declared war.

RESULT: British gunboats smashed Chinese fortifications. In 1842, China surrendered, was forced to give up Hong Kong (meaning "sweet stream") to the British and pay a $21 million indemnity. And the British continued to pour opium into China. In 1900, the Chinese tried to get their revenge, and were humiliated. The Boxers (actual name Righteousness and Harmony Society, and having nothing to do with boxing, except Chinese word for "society" sounds like "fist"), a secret organization of 40,000 patriotic militants, tried to throw foreigners out of their country. England, U.S., Germany, Russia, France, Japan sent in 16,000 troops to put down the Boxer Rebellion, and succeeded. The Chinese had to pay an indemnity running into millions of dollars (although the U.S. returned about 12 million, half of its indemnity, to China), had to give Hong Kong up to the British, and had to allow foreign nations to establish legation quarters and troops in Peking. It was not until 6 decades later that China got even. In 1965, Premier Chou En-lai, of the People's Republic of China, speaking to President Gamal Abdel Nasser, of Egypt, explained one reason for the demoralization of American troops in South Vietnam: "Some of them are trying opium, and we are helping them. We are planting the best kinds of opium especially for the American soldiers in Vietnam... Do you remember when the West imposed opium on us? They fought us with opium. And we are going to fight them with their own weapons."

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