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Word Count: 484
Coffee Tea Or Opium In the nineteenth century Chinese green tea became very popular among the British people Chinese silk and spices were also in great demand The Chinese on the other hand needed almost nothing the west had to offer and the only things they would take in trade other than Spanish silver dollars was woolen and cotton cloth This created an imbalance of trade especially bad for the European nations England and other Western nations changed the balance of their trade by using opium as a means of payment welcomed in China by many merchants in lieu of currency in spite of the Imperial Chinese prohibition on opium During the early 1800s opium addiction reached an all time high in China and by 1838 thirty-five thousand one hundred and fifty pound chests of opium entered China In 1839 Lin Zexu Chinas commissioner for foreign trade was given the assignment to stop the import of opium to China He studied what he considered the barbarian culture of Europe looking for clues to their behavior To try to stop the trade he wrote to the Queen of England Queen Victoria and tried to reason with her for help with the opium import problem Alas he had no luck and the Qing government after a decade of unsuccessful anti-opium campaigns enacted drastic laws against the opium trade Lin Zexu seized and destroyed some twenty thousand chests of opium The British retaliated violently soundly defeating the unprepared Chinese and in 1842 forcing them to sign the Treaty of Nanking which required the Chinese to pay twenty-one million dollars in reparations the opening of five ports to British trade and surrendering Hong Kong to Queen Victoria Lion Zexu was disgraced instead of praised for his peaceful efforts and was forced to supervise irrigation projects and repairs of dikes for the last few years of his life The city of Hong Kong was held as a British territory
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