The Opium Wars in China

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Opium Wars in China

I recommend Africans to read the history about the Opium wars, when England exported opium to China in exchange of silver and gold.

This reading and studying was a part of my gymnasial education.

It’s important to understand what happened 100-200 years ago. Today there is a flirt between China and Africa. To understand Chinese behaviour today, it may help to know the history and what happened before. I hope Africa and China will have a good mutual future in business, production, feeling of freedom, just looking back to the two Opium Wars in 1839-1842 and 1856-1860.

I can say this because the country I was born in, Sweden, had no part in that drug war which enslaved Chinese inhabitants, as far as I know. Yes there was a Swedish King who got subsidies from England, Gustav IV Adolf.

When tsar Alexander of Russia revoked the 1801 treaty between England and Russia, a tension arose. This prompted some action from England. Sweden was contacted and England expressed their wish to see cooperation. England offered Sweden naval support in case of war emergency and 100 000 Pound in subsidies monthly during one year. The Russians should be kept at bay!

3 December 1804 Sweden received 60 000 Pound Sterling to fortify the defense in Stralsund, by then Swedish land, today belongs to Germany.

1805 Sweden received 20 000 Pound Sterling per month for support in the war against Napoleon.

Sweden also got subsidies from France during some time. England was not alone in the second Opium War, called the ”Arrow War”. Also France took part in that war against China. The Arrow was the name of an English vessel. However one can imagine that the simple chinese soldiers were badly armed in the fight against overwhelmingly strong western naval forces. Who are the heroes there?

Now back to day reality, let’s not forget the words of Tony Blair, ”it’s more complicated”. What he hinted was that the truth is not always what it appear to look like. As the prophet could have said: ”Why should I come out in the light and see all this scummy, fishy, swindle and deceit around me!”.

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