Week 11

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Global Asia Studies
Liang Chen

Week 11 What were the major factors that caused the Opium War? The causes underlying the Anglo-Chinese opium war consisted of Chinas isolationist stance in its trade policy with the western world versus British aggression and expansionism. Similar to a clash between the immovable object and an unstoppable force, the result was cataclysmic. Prior to the 1830s the Chinese were only interested in one western commodity; silver coins, while they exported large amounts of oriental goods that the Europeans craved. However, in the quest to keep expanding their monopoly over trading, the British soon discovered that the Chinese were developing a taste for the drug Opium (which was outlawed since the 1790s in China). Soon, opium-usage turned into a pandemic in China, resulting in much of its population being addicted to the highly detrimental drug, which resulted in a net outflow of the silver from the Chinese economy. With the economy deteriorating and the standard of living in China dropping severely, Lin Ze-xu decided to put a stop to the British economic invasion by confiscating smuggled foreign opium in China and arresting foreign merchants. This lead to retaliation by the British navy forces and explicitly started the first opium war. Emperor Kangxi a patro
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