The British stole Hong Kong from China over 155 years ago. How did they get it in the first place? And how is the trade in opium tied to the issue of Hong Kong?
Opium for medicinal purposes was first manufactured in China toward the end of the 15th century. It was used to treat dysentery, cholera and other diseases. Not until the 18th century were there any accounts of opium smoking in China.
In 1729, the
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forced the Chinese government to pay $15 million to the British merchants. Furthermore, it opened up five ports to English trade.
Finally, it ceded Hong Kong to the British.
This was the bloody origin of Hong Kong's 155 years as a British colony. It paralleled imperialist conquest in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and the rest of Asia--a heritage that in the 20th century has brought both great misery and great revolutionary movements for national liberation.