Lin Zexu

LIN Zexu (林則徐; pinyin: Ln Zx) (August 30, 1785 - November 22, 1850) was an official loyal to the Daoguang Emperor of China, most famous for his active fight against foreign-imported opium during the Qing dynasty. Although Lin did not want war between China and Great Britain, his aggressive anti-opium policies are usually considered to be the primary catalyst for the First Opium War.

Lin was born in Fuzhou, in the Fujian province. A formidable bureaucrat known for his thoroughness and integrity, Lin was sent to Guangdong to halt the importation of opium by the British prior to the First Opium War (1838). He confiscated more than 20,000 carts of opium already at the port and supervised their destruction. He later blockaded the port from European ships. Lin also wrote a letter to Queen Victoria of Britain warning her that China was adopting a stricter policy towards everyone, Chinese or foreign, who brought opium into China. This letter expressed a desire that Victoria would act "in accordance with decent feeling" and support his efforts.

However, Victoria never received the letter and, by 1840, the British had attacked the Chinese and severely weakened the Qing government. This would lead to the First Opium War and later, the Taiping Rebellion which claimed the lives of over 20 million people.

In the meanwhile, however, the advent of the Opium War meant that Lin fell out of favor. He lost his position and was sent into exile. However, the Chinese government still considered Lin to be an official of rare virtue, and sent him off to take care of difficult situations. He died in 1850 while on the way to Kwangsi, where the government was sending him to handle a peasant rebellion.

June 3, the day when Lin confiscated and burned the crates of opium, is celebrated as Anti-Smoking Day in the Republic of China in Taiwan.ja:林則徐 zh-cn:林则徐

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