Opium Case Study Solution

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What is opium? Opium is the dried latex taken from the seed pods of the poppy plant. The color of this substance varies from yellow to a very dark brown depending on the type of the poppy plant. It also has an extremely bitter taste and unique odor, once you have smelled it you can recognize the odor anywhere. This substance contains approximately 12% morphine, an alkaloid that can be processed to produce many kinds of synthetic opioids for medicinal use, but it can also be used to produce illegal drugs like heroin. These end products resulting from opium is making this substance highly valued. The wholesale price for 1 kilogram of opium in 2002 is $3,000 while at the retail level the price is around $16,000. The production of opium has…show more content…
In the European market, Chinese goods such as silk, porcelain and tea, while there was almost no place for Western goods in China, because China was self sufficient for just about any European products. Therefore China had a positive balance sheet in trading with the British, causing a decrease of the British silver stocks. To fix the problem, the British tried to encourage opium use in China in order to improve their balance sheet. Opium is a product with high value that China was not self sufficient, so it's a perfect product to improve their…show more content…
The situation had created a huge turbulence within the Chinese administration, the legalization of opium trade continually became the subject of debate, however it was rejected over and over, the Chinese government even gave death sentences to the native drug traffickers. The year 1839 was the turning point as the Chinese Emperor commanded Lin Zexu, the new appointed Special Imperial Commissioner to end the opium trade. The first thing he did to carry on the duty was sending the letter to Queen Victoria. In the letter he questioned the moral reasoning of the British government for trading and profit from something that had been strictly prohibited within the Great Britain, and he also stated that the Chinese government is very serious about ending the opium trade forever. Unfortunately the queen never received the letter, some sources said that it was lost in transit. Lin Zexu then confiscated all the opium he could find and demanding that all supplies of the drug to be handed over to the Chinese authorities, he also banned the opium trading completely since then. Furthermore, he also closed the access to Canton which held the British traders in the city with nowhere else to go. He also ordered the Chinese troops to board British ships that were still in international waters to be able to confiscate the opium in their cargos and destroyed

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