The Addiction of a Nation

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The Addiction of a Nation
William L. Reed
University of Phoenix
Organizational Ethics and Social Responsibility
Larry Henry
July 05, 2010

The Addiction of a Nation
After 156 years of rule under the British Sovereignty, the Crown colony of Hong Kong and the peninsula of Kowloon were return into the hands of the People’s Republic of China on June 30, 1997.

The British has acquired a lease on the territory as a result of the Treaty of Nanking which was signed after the end of the First Opium War (1939-42) between the British and the last of the Chinese Emperors of the Qing Dynasty. What led to the war is of questionable behavior because of the infiltration of opium into Imperial China by British merchants and at the cost of many Chinese lives, families, and the very structure of the Chinese culture and society.
This part of history begins in the 18th century when then Great Britain had well established trade routes to China to trade the highly profitable tea leaves, porcelain, and silk products. The British had become accustomed with the consumption of tea from China and it was well taxed by the government and a source of income for the Crown.

But China traded on a cash basis with all merchants and demanded silver as the form of exchange. Because Great Britain was on the gold standard at the time and did not have any silver reserves, Britain was forced to purchase silver from the European nations who had accumulated vast amounts of silver from South America. The amount of Chinese imports, mostly British clocks and music boxes, did not equal the amount of exports and so this put a burden on the treasury of the Crown until merchants started the opium trade from the British colonies in Bengal, India to Chinese merchants. Opium was used for medicinal purposes to relieve pain and added to water for purification. It was produced abundantly in India for trade in the western world. The British learned that the Chinese smoked the opium for.


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