How did the British make the Chinese addicted to opium?
- The Portuguese had introduced opium into China where it was used for medical purposes in very small quantity.
- The Chinese were aware of the danger of opium addiction and the Emperor had forbidden its production and sale except for medicinal purposes.
- But the English began an illegal trade in opium.
- It was unloaded in a number of seaports of south-eastern China and carried by local agents to the interiors.
- While the English cultivated a taste for Chinese tea, the Chinese became addicted to opium.
- People of all classes took to the drug—shopkeepers and peddlers, officials and army men, aristocrats and also the poor.
- As China became a country of opium addicts, British trade in tea flourished.