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OPIUM Myth and Reality Andrew Chang 100066971 Fall 2017 ASIA 2170 TERM PAPER !1 Reclining into a comfortable chair, I gaze at a fragrant mist being dispersed around the room. Enjoying the aroma of pure peppermint essential oil, I listen to the bubbling ultrasonic diffuser and speak to Siri. I request a tropical sunset in the room and she effortlessly complies. Lights dim and suddenly a brilliant hue surrounds me. Carefully reaching for an iPad, I inhale the energizing herbal blend, and begin reading about opium. Almost immediately, images of dark and dank dens are conjured. I imagine addicts chasing the dragon, before realizing that I’m somehow holding an iPhone and flicking through Instagram. Grown in India and consumed in China, was opium a purely oriental experience? How did this drug snake around time, envelop the middle kingdom and consume our psyche? Surely, there are multiple layers to the story. The opioid crises, an epidemic spreading across Canada1, was just declared a public health emergency by President Trump.2 Could this be another example of history repeating itself ? While synthetic opioids are recent developments, they descend from opium poppies. The dried sap, processed and mixed with tobacco, long burning into the modern psyche. Most people associate opium with China. Some are vaguely aware of an English connection. Others, perhaps with newspaper subscriptions, may recall the Taliban growing opium. Nevertheless, the plant is actually native to the mediterranean region, smoked by the blond haired and blue eyed legends of antiquity. Records of opium cultivation trace back to the Sumerians. It was used to mend ills and was known as “Hul Gil” or “joy plant”.3 Poppy-culling techniques were also described by the Assyrians on cuneiform tablets. Indeed, opium was produced in Babylon, before spreading to 1 Sheryl Ubelacker, “The inside history of Canada’s opioid crisis,” Maclean’s, April 25, 2017, 2 Julie Hirschfeld Davis, “Trump Declares Opioid Crisis a ‘Health Emergency’ but Requests No Funds,” New York Times, October 26, 2017, 3 Jeff Goldberg and Dean Latimer, Flowers in the Blood: The Story of Opium (New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2014), 34. ASIA 2170 TERM PAPER !2 Egypt, where a potent cultivar was developed and revered. In that fertile region, paintings of opium poppies would adorn the tombs of pharaohs. Traded throughout the mediterranean, Greek legends further elevated the plant. Numerous heroes, from Hercules and Theseus, to Jason and Prometheus, used opium. In fact, Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams, lends his name to morphine, the present day pain medication derived from opium poppies. People of Greece ingested opium orally, incorporated with ritual or utilized for medicinal purposes. Homer, author of the the Iliad and the Odyssey, wrote of the plant, which alleviated sorrow. The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates (460 – 370 BCE) considered opium a nutritional supplement. The drug was an elixir that would restore an unbalanced body. Galen (129 – 210 CE), the Roman physician and surgeon, extensively studied the therapeutic properties of opium.4 Islamic regard for opium sharply contrasts with sobering edicts against hashish and other recreational substances. Despite the Middle Eastern lineage, this may seem somewhat baffling. However, opium production was a labour intensive, staggering process. That remained the case until many years later, when colonial powers harnessed exploitive plantation agriculture. Without those cruel efficiencies, the Arabs would not encounter large scale opium addiction. 5 Egyptian opium was cultivated in small quantities for commercial export. Expensive and rare, only the wealthiest could enjoy opium. Additionally, the variety grown in Egypt was more suited for treating maladies, and did not produce the euphoria common among later cultivars. Still, Muslims understood the dangerous potential of opium. During the medieval period, Christian medical practices were quite primitive. Both clergy and courts often turned to Muslim doctors, who were heathens, but professionally respected. One typical approach, was to apply an external 4 Jeff Goldberg and Dean Latimer, Flowers in the Blood: The Story of Opium (New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2014), 39-53. 5 Ibid., 35. ASIA 2170 TERM PAPER !3 opium salve. Unfortunately, following the plague, Arabian trade completely collapsed, and European supplies of opium dried up. Centuries later, opium returned to literature and pharmacies. Imported from Turkey and India, opiates became ubiquitous within the United Kingdom. Addictions grew, and Thomas De Quincey (15 August 1785 – 8 December 1859) famously published his autobiographical account of substance abuse, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater. Notable addicts included John Keats (31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821) and Samuel Taylor Coleridge (21 October 1772 – 25 July 1834) who wrote the poem Kubla Khan.6 Travelling along the Silk Road, opium gradually reached China, where the plant was first referenced in an eighth century medical journal. Soon afterwards, whether medicinally or recreationally, opium was eaten and drunk. What sealed the fate for millions, though, was another import. It would arrive from the New World, and by the mid-seventeenth century, tobacco-smoking was customary in every part of the empire. Certainly, smoking was a nasty, unhealthy habit, but sometime in the early eighteenth century, the practice was transformed. Tobacco soaked in opium syrup was discovered, and a terrifying beast emerged.7 Smoking was the perfect opium delivery mechanism, and Chinese consumers welcomed the deathly embrace. With conspicuous paraphernalia and a fashionable aesthetic, smoking opium became social and essential. Eventually, tobacco was removed, and refined tastes were drawn towards smoking expensive, pure opium. The British, who exercised an Indian monopoly, also increased the quality of supply. Opium consumption, by the nineteenth century, was steeped in ritual and associated with status. The young Daoguang Emperor (16 September 1782 – 25 February 1850) was quoted, “My mind suddenly becomes clear,’ he exclaimed, ‘my eyes and ears refreshed. 6 Jeff Goldberg and Dean Latimer, Flowers in the Blood: The Story of Opium (New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2014), 109-131. 7 Julia Lovell, The Opium War: Drugs, Dreams, and the Making of Modern China (New York: The Overlook Press, 2014), 45-46. ASIA 2170 TERM PAPER !4 People have said that wine is endowed with all the virtues, but today I call opium the satisfier. When you desire happiness, it gives you happiness.’ … ’Watch the cloud ascend from your nose/ Inhale – exhale, the fragrance rises/ The air deepens and thickens/ As it settles, it truly seems/ That mountains and clouds emerge from a distant ocean.”8 Conceivably, the illicit nature of opium contributed to widespread popularity in China. Jardine Matheson & Company, the business empire built on smuggling and trading opium in Canton, absolutely benefited from the illegal status.9 Opium exposed a weakness that the Qing dynasty too slowly recognized. Smoke drawn out of a pipe, obscured perceptions, like some fog of war. Opium trade would be banned, conflict and disaster would follow. Each participant, impaired with an insatiable appetite, guilty of circumstance. Contemplating the parallels between the Qing Empire and present day, I see hazy patterns appear. I feel intent, wishing to write thoughts down, but my body weighs heavy. Enveloped inside a pleasant benevolence, I’m powerless to resist and effortlessly doze into a deep slumber. 8 Zheng Yangwen, The Social Life of Opium in China (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 57. 9 Jeff Goldberg and Dean Latimer, Flowers in the Blood: The Story of Opium (New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2014), 195. ASIA 2170 TERM PAPER !5 Bibliography Zheng, Yangwen. The Social Life of Opium in China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Davis, Julie Hirschfeld. “Trump Declares Opioid Crisis a ‘Health Emergency’ but Requests No Funds.” New York Times, October 26, 2017. Goldberg, Jeff and Dean Latimer. Flowers in the Blood: The Story of Opium. New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2014. Lovell, Julia. The Opium War: Drugs, Dreams, and the Making of Modern China. New York: The Overlook Press, 2014. Tosches, Nick. The Last Opium Den. London: Bloomsbury Press, 2001. Ubelacker, Sheryl. “The inside history of Canada’s opioid crisis.” Maclean’s, April 25, 2017. ASIA 2170 TERM PAPER !6 ASIA 2170 Sinicization: New World Order Justin Liu 100260244 China as a civilization have been around for two millennia. Its society had been predicated on a highly centralized government with strict regulations, Confucian teachings, and the concept of tian xia, or “All Under Heaven.” With China being named the Middle Kingdom, it had believed that it was living in the center of the universe for much of its history. This notion of sinocentrism had led China to view a hierarchical world order where it believed all foreign states were to be of lesser power, barbaric, which consequently led to the collapse of China’s imperial dynasties. Through the Century of Humiliation, China is climbing its way back to regain its status as one of the global dominant powers of today. This paper will attempt to demonstrate that China is still using Sinicization as the fundamental concept to establish the new world order. Sinicization is the process of assimilating non–Chinese descendants to the Han Chinese culture and philosophy. The concept of Sinicization can be traced back to China’s first ruler, Qin Shi Huang, who conquered all of the warring states and unified China. Under Qin’s reign, he implemented a

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