History Of Hong Kong And The Opium Trade

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The history of Hong Kong and the opium trade are “intertwined”, as Christopher Munn states (107). From its beginning in the nineteenth century, the opium trade in Hong Kong, as counterparts throughout the colonies of Southeast Asia, was managed by a monopoly or farm system. The opium monopoly not only contributed a large portion of revenue to the colonial government, but also helped foster a Chinese business elite class with wealth and political influence in the Chinese community and the colony, as John Carroll wrote in his book Edge of Empires (29). Amazed and intrigued by the power of opium in Hong Kong Chinese society and to the colonial government, I began to research and found that massive works have done on the topic of opium in different fields, among which there are history of politics, economy, opium wars and international relations. Whereas the paucity of a social cultural description of opium within Hong Kong caused my attention and induced me into further investigation. Research of material culture studies has engaged a significant group of historians and social scientists to work with since the second half of last century, among which the study of narcotics or drugs in social cultural context is a watchable field therein. Narcotics or drugs are special commodities which have brought profound effects to human society ever since their introduction. Other than foods which satisfies basic human needs, narcotics or drugs have the special function in medical and

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