Chinese Opium Wars - have you heard of them? Watch

Poll: Have you heard of the Chinese Opium Wars
No (8)
9.2%
Yes, from extra reading (50)
57.47%
Yes, from speaking to Chinese people (8)
9.2%
Yes, Other (please elaborate on this in a post) (21)
24.14%
Lady_L
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#1
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#1
I'm doing an EPQ relating to the Chinese Opium Wars and how they've affected the current Chinese-British political relationship.

We don't get taught about these wars in the current National Curriculum.

So, have you heard of these wars before this thread? (If you haven't please also reply! :flip:) If you have, where from. Also, what impression do these wars give to you of Britain and China.

EDIT: If you have read about them, what sources have you read from?
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AttackofTheBoris
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#2
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I've heard of the Opium Wars many times before. They're probably still fairly damaging to Sino-Anglo relations. A far away nation attacked and defeated a large and historic yet un-modernised empire to open ports for them to sell harmful drugs and they took a port (Hong Kong) so that their presence was still felt even after they had left. It was pretty humiliating!
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Psyk
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It's hard to paint Britain as anything but a total ******* in this case.
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Juichiro
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#4
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(Original post by Lady_L)
I'm doing an EPQ relating to the Chinese Opium Wars and how they've affected the current Chinese-British political relationship.

We don't get taught about these wars in the current National Curriculum.

So, have you heard of these wars before this thread? (If you haven't please also reply! :flip:) If you have, where from. Also, what impression do these wars give to you of Britain and China.
Interesting. I have heard that Japanese students don't get taught about WWII either. Mmmm...
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Mr Porter
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Yeah I've heard of it but I think my knowledge is sketchy and probably very biased.

It's not an oft talked about subject, and a little touchy especially in China for obvious reasons. I wonder how many people in the UK are aware of it. I'm not sure what goes under the national curriculum nowadays but I'd be surprised, and pleased, if there was anything regarding Chinese history.


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The Angry Stoic
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#6
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(Original post by Psyk)
It's hard to paint Britain as anything but a total ******* in this case.
Britain only wanted to pedal a bit of smack
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The Angry Stoic
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#7
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(Original post by Lady_L)
I'm doing an EPQ relating to the Chinese Opium Wars and how they've affected the current Chinese-British political relationship.

We don't get taught about these wars in the current National Curriculum.

So, have you heard of these wars before this thread? (If you haven't please also reply! :flip:) If you have, where from. Also, what impression do these wars give to you of Britain and China.
I see it as a reaction of the British to the Chinese policy of isolation. Britain just wanted to make money and was willing to go to war to do it.
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Lady_L
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#8
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(Original post by AttackofTheBoris)
I've heard of the Opium Wars many times before. They're probably still fairly damaging to Sino-Anglo relations. A far away nation attacked and defeated a large and historic yet un-modernised empire to open ports for them to sell harmful drugs and they took a port (Hong Kong) so that their presence was still felt even after they had left. It was pretty humiliating!
It is damaging, and Chinese I've spoken to about their perception of the British often mention the execrable opium wars. It is extremely embarrassing!
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Lady_L
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#9
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(Original post by Psyk)
It's hard to paint Britain as anything but a total ******* in this case.
Very true. The British introduced opium with purely selfish motives.
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Lady_L
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#10
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(Original post by The Angry Stoic)
I see it as a reaction of the British to the Chinese policy of isolation. Britain just wanted to make money and was willing to go to war to do it.
Yes, the Chinese were fully self-sufficient and so did not need British trade. The British delighted in Chinese goods and so were desperate to trade with the Chinese. The Chinese allowed the British to trade in the Summer on the island of Canton in return for silver. The British wanted the trade to be balanced and so introduced an addictive - and life destroying - substance, opium. The wars resulted from the Chinese not wanting the drug and yet the British insisting they allow it - for their own sake.
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Lady_L
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#11
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(Original post by The Angry Stoic)
Britain only wanted to pedal a bit of smack
Britain was desperate for Chinese trade as 'chinoiserie' was high in demand right up to the early Victorian era. Pedaling a bit of smack meant the British had more control over the Chinese who prided themselves on being fully self-sufficient.
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Lady_L
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#12
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(Original post by Mr Porter)
Yeah I've heard of it but I think my knowledge is sketchy and probably very biased.

It's not an oft talked about subject, and a little touchy especially in China for obvious reasons. I wonder how many people in the UK are aware of it. I'm not sure what goes under the national curriculum nowadays but I'd be surprised, and pleased, if there was anything regarding Chinese history.


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I'm studying A level history with Edexcel and at AS we did a unit on communism in China. However, I often find there is not history taught with a negative stance toward the British - obviously the British have done many wrongs in history!
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Lady_L
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#13
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(Original post by Juichiro)
Interesting. I have heard that Japanese students don't get taught about WWII either. Mmmm...
Countries want to paint themselves as the country of heros - only fighting for good causes...not teaching about the wars that were fought out of selfish motives helps to maintain this picture.
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Flowerii
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Honestly, the only time I've heard about the Opium Wars was when Cameron and co. went on an official visit to China around Remembrance Day a few years ago, and some people took offence when they refused to remove their poppies.
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Lady_L
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(Original post by Flowerii)
Honestly, the only time I've heard about the Opium Wars was when Cameron and co. went on an official visit to China around Remembrance Day a few years ago, and some people took offence when they refused to remove their poppies.
The Opium Wars are still very vivid in their minds when it comes to the British. I think the poppies should have been removed when in China out of respect for the memories it would stir. It does seem like a bad relational move to make.
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Eloquai
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As wars go, the Opium Wars were a truly dark chapter in British history. The Treaty of Nanjing, which concluded the war, also opened up China to foreign colonialism and intervention which left a lasting scar on the Chinese nation.

But they did have one positive, though somewhat ironic, benefit - had it not been for the Opium War, then Hong Kong (and Macau) would not have developed into the only examples of liberty, freedom and democracy within China. In a strange and unexpected way, a war between two of the oldest nations in the World led to the birth of a completely new society and national community in Hong Kong.
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Lady_L
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(Original post by Eloquai)
As wars go, the Opium Wars were a truly dark chapter in British history. The Treaty of Nanjing, which concluded the war, also opened up China to foreign colonialism and intervention which left a lasting scar on the Chinese nation.

But they did have one positive, though somewhat ironic, benefit - had it not been for the Opium War, then Hong Kong (and Macau) would not have developed into the only examples of liberty, freedom and democracy within China. In a strange and unexpected way, a war between two of the oldest nations in the World led to the birth of a completely new society and national community in Hong Kong.
Interesting standpoint. Would you see the new society in Hong Kong as positive and beneficial - or simply a reminder of the British taking Chinese land?
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Lady_L
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#18
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Just to add, I'd be glad to also hear from those who haven't heard of the opium wars...
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geetar
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#19
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#19
Read about it.
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Lady_L
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#20
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(Original post by geetar)
Read about it.
What was your opinion of Britain and China from reading about them?
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