Colonialist Drug Lords & Hong Kong for Dummies

This article constitutes my notes from listening to this podcast.

The current mess in Hong Kong only exists because Britain was the world’s largest drug dealer. True story.

  • It’s the 17th century and people want to trade with China but it’s not allowed by the Chinese government. Eventually China agrees to trade by setting up a tiny 12 acre trading port named Canton off the coast of China.
  • Now it’s the 1830s and Britain wants Chinese tea but the Chinese don’t need British goods
  • Britain pays in silver and the Chinese start to stockpile massive amounts of it.
  • Britain doesn’t like parting with silver and finally finds a good that the Chinese want, opium (from India).
  • Even though Opium is illegal in China, the government looks the other way. Britain then trades so much opium to China that they get all their silver back and then some.
  • Meanwhile China is being filled with opium addicts and the emperor isn’t happy about it. So they seize all the opium on the ships in port and dump it in the river.
  • Britain sends ships to force China to pay for the confiscated opium, the Chinese refuse and the opium wars ensue.
  • By 1842, Britain had won a treaty that got all the money for the dumped opium, opened ports to British trade and secured them a base of operations off the cost of China. A tiny island known as Hong Kong where few farmers and fisherman lived.
  • Then in 1898, Britain makes China give them part of the mainland adjacent from Hong Kong too. They agree to give that part of Hong Kong back to China in 99 years (1997).
  • In mainland China, civil war, unrest, poverty and opportunity drive multitudes of Chinese to Hong Kong where there is now open trade, wealth and relative freedom under British common law.
  • Hong Kong becomes one of the richest cities in the world and the key hub between Asia and the west. The average person in Hong Kong is now richer than the average person in Britain!
  • It’s now 1997 and Britain gives Hong Kong back to China, including Hong Kong island under the condition that China allow the same basic system of law and freedoms (capitalism, court system, freedom speech, freedom of the press etc) to continue in Hong Kong for 50 years. Hong Kong would have it’s own “special deal”.
  • Ever since then, China has been exerting more and more control in Hong Kong and interfering in various ways which many of the people of Hong Kong don’t appreciate including the process of electing the governors of Hong Kong, kidnappings of dissidents etc.
  • Then recently, the government official in charge of Hong Kong announced a coming policy of extradition where people could be extradited to China to face Chinese Courts. That didn’t sit well in Hong Kong as the people don’t trust Chinese Courts leading to protesters fighting to retain the previous status quo. Thus leading to the crowds and clashes we are seeing on TV.

God helps us. May his Gospel reign supreme and may his law reach to the coastlands.


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