I started writing a little post for the World of Chinese website on The Opium War. The project has since mutated into a multi-part macro history of drugs and violence on the Chinese coast.
“Britain fought a war, ultimately, to preserve Queen Victoria’s good name as the world’s largest narco-baron. The opium merchants of England and America acted as any cartel would: they used their money to buy influence. They paid journalists to write stories of Chinese arrogance and cruelty. They paid for politicians to give speeches about the beneficial effects of the trade and the importance of preserving universal values of free and fair trade at any cost. They used the proceeds of their racket to all but purchase a declaration of war.”
I’m having a lot of fun writing it. I hope you enjoy reading it!