Page images

essed in the Provinces of Manchuria, Chihli, Shantung, and all the other central and southern Provinces of the Empire. In all this part of China other crops have taken the place of the poppy. The latter, if found, is only in small patches in remote and secluded places. Shansi, Szechuan, and Yunnan were the three Provinces largely given up to the poppy culture before the new awakening. But, on the evidence of many observers, practically no poppy has hen planted in them this year, and very little was grown last year. There are of course remote spots where the prohibition of cultivation has not been in: de effective. A consequence of effective prohibition, and diminution in the supply of opium has caused the price of the drug to advance until it is worth four or five times its normal price, so that the temptation to grow the poppy is strong. This, however, has caused no general relaxation of the prohibitory movement. Up to last year the reports from the two northwest Provinces, Shansi and Kansu, were less favorable than from other parts of the Empire. The attention of the Central Government being called, stringent orders were issued that these Provinces should fall in line with the rest of the Empire. Such reports as are now available indicate that prohibition is generally effective in that region also. In view of the present conditions, it would seem probable that if China enjoyed full sovereign rights as to the control of the importation of foreign or Indian opium, the opium evil might be thoroughly stamped out of the Empire in a very short time. So much for the cultivation of the poppy and the production of opium. The present situation in regard to the use of opium is that wealthy Chinese victims of the habit continue to smoke in private, while the poor have been obliged to give it up on account of the high price of the drug and the difficulty of obtaining it. It is gratifying to be able to state that public opium-smoking shops have largely disappeared from Chinese towns, and that the use of opium is no longer fashionable; the habit, when indulged in, is kept as secret as possible. Wonder has been shown that the Central Government which, seemingly so weak on other lines, has been able to make so marked a showing in carrying out the opium reform. The explanation is that the conscience of the country has been awakened, so that the arbitrary measures taken by officials in many localities against these who have tried to produce opium for the pecuniary profits of the trade, have been supported by general public opinion and by the most influential members of society. It would seem that international justice now demands that China should be allowed to strike off opium from the list of her legalized imports, so that the Government may have full control of the situation and be able to carry to a conclusion the reform so well commenced unhindered by vexatious agreements with other powers."

This is a review of the situation up to June, 1910.

Another close observer of the Chinese opium reform may be quoted, namely, Sir Alexander Hosie, most learned in Chinese affairs, and one of the commissioners on the part of Great Britain to the Internatinal Opium Commission. Sir Alexander's report was made on behalf of his Government, for the final determination as to whether or not China had carried out her part in the tentative period of three years of the ten-year agreement. There was little credible doubt as to what would be the conclusion. On June 15, 1911, the British foreign office published an official White Paper containing Sir Alexander Hosie's observations. It had been estimated by friendly observers of the opium reform that China had reduced her home production of the drug from 60 to 75 per cent during the three years following the issue of the antiopium edict in the autumn of 1906. The Hosie report applying only to the five Provinces of Shansi, Shensi, Hansu, Yunnan, and Szechuan-the most important being the latter which used to produce nearly half the opium grown in China-nearly confirms this estimate. Sir Alexander Hosie's report on these five Provinces is, in brief, as follows: "Shansi.-There is reason to believe that the poppy has ceased to be culti vated in this Province for the last two years.

Shensi.-I have not the least hesitation

* in saying that so far as

my personal observations extended, the official claim that there has been a diminution in the cultivation of from 60 to 80 per cent is excessive. It may be as much as 30 per cent, but it is certainly much under 50 per cent.

Kansu. From what I have seen and heard, the conclusion which I have arrived at in regard to Kansu is that on the whole there has been a reduction in cultivation, and that reduction amounts to something under 25 per cent." These three Provinces, however, are of relatively minor importance from the point of view of opium cultivation. In the Province of Shansi, for instance, the

production of opium, even on the highest estimate, never exceeded 30,000 piculs (piculs=1333 pounds avoirdupois). But formerly the situation was entirely different in the Province of Szechuan and that of Yunnan. The former was for many years the greatest opium-producing Province in China-the production exceeding 200,000 piculs per annum, and Yunnan always ranked next to Szechuan in point of quantity, and first throughout the Empire in point of quality of its opium. The conclusion arrived at by Sir Alexander Hosie in regard to these Provinces may be stated in his own words:

"Szechuan.-As the result of my own personal investigation, extending over 34 days' travel overland, and of the testimony of others, I am satisfied that poppy cultivation has been suppressed in Szechuan.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

'Yunnan.-Taking the Province of Yunnan as a whole

[ocr errors][merged small]

it may, I

think, be fairly assumed that the estimated production of 60,000 piculs prior to the introduction of the measures is correct. The suppression has been very materially reduced, and I venture to hazard the opinion that the output of 1910 and 1911 will not exceed 15,000 piculs. In other words, that there has been a reduction of about 75 per cent."

Commenting on Sir Alexander Hosie's report, the London Daily News, from which the foregoing statement is taken, said: To appreciate the extent of the miracle (i. e., opium suppression in China) one must resort to analogy. It is as if the tobacco habit had come to an end in Europe a few years after decision to that effect by The Hague conference."

To accomplish this result the Chinese Government had issued numerous edicts. and many regulations to be enforced by the central and provincial authorities. It is impossible to record all of these, but as an evidence of the thoroughgoing manner and of the high spirit which has animated the major and minor officials of China, attention may be called to the regulations adopted by the official antiopium commissioners shortly after the adjournment of the international opium commission. By these regulations it is provided that Princes Kung and Pu Wai are appointed antiopium commissioners to revise the regulations for suppressing the practice of opium smoking among the metropolitan and other officials and those who are in government service in the various yamens. They make it the duty of superior authorities to detect opium smokers among their underlings and subordinates, and those who have already given up the vice; to keep track of the latter class and deposit their certificates as to being nonsmokers in the antiopium bureau for inspection and examination, lest they impose upon their superiors. Commissioners are appointed as inspectors of opium smoking, whose sole duty it is to go about China inspecting and detecting with diligence and care those who are still deep in the opium-smoking habit, and those who are ingenious in concealing their vice, it having been discovered that there were many Chinese officials who having abandoned the opium-smoking habit fell into the vice again. It is further provided that should the latter class be detected in this offense they shall not only be cashiered but never be reinstated in their official rank. Moreover, no official pest is to be given them by any provincial authorities. And then follow the 10 regulations providing for the suppression of the opium-smoking vice amongst officials.1

The above-mentioned regulations apply more particularly to officials, but many antiopium ordinances have been issued which apply to the people at large, one of the most recent being a part of the new criminal code for China, promulgated January, 1911. This ordinance not only prohibits and proscribes the cultivation of the poppy and the use of opium but the possession of instruments and apparatus used in connection with opium. In short, to prohibit anything and everything which tends to aid in or encourage the use of opium.2 Therefore, the Chinese Government having satisfied the British Government not only as to its willingness but also as to its ability to suppress the produc tion and use of opium," chiefly as the result of Sir Alexander Hosie's report, the two Governments entered into a new agreement on May 8, 1911, the essentials of which follow:

1. The British Government recognizing the sincerity of the Chinese Government and their pronounced success in diminishing the producton of opium in China during the three years from January 1, 1908, expressed their willingness

For the full text of the regulations, vide supplement, p. 266 (this volume, pp. 250-254).

* Vide supplement, p. 273.

For a Chinese estimate of the suppression of opium since 1906, vide table, supplement, p. 276.

to continue the arrangement for the unexpired period of seven years on the following conditions:

2. From the 1st of January, 1911, China shall diminish annually for seven years the production of opium in China in the same proportion as the annual export from India is diminished until the total extinction of the Chines? production in 1917.

3. The Chinese Government having adopted a most rigorous policy for \TOhibiting the production and the transport of native opium produced in Chiva, the British Government expressed their agreement with this policy and the willingness to give every assistance. With a view to facilitating the continu ance of this work His Majesty's Government agree that the export of opium from India to China shall cease in less than seven years if clear proof is given to the complete suppression of the production of native opium in China.

4. His Majesty's Government also agreed that Indian opium shall not be conveyed into any Province of China which can establish by clear evidence that it has effectively suppressed the cultivation and import of native opium produced in China.

5. During the period of the new agreement China shall permit His Majesty's Government to obtain continuous evidence of the diminution of production of native opium by local inquiries and investigation conducted by one or more British officials, accompanied—if the Chinese Government so desire-by a Chinese official. The decision of these inspectors as to the extent of the production of native opium in China is to be accepted by both parties to the agreement. 6. By the arrangement of 1907 the British Government agreed to permit China to dispatch an official to India to watch the opium sales, on condition that such official would have no power of interference. His Majesty's Government now agree that the official so dispatched may be present at the packing, as well as at the sale, of opium on the same conditions.

7. The Chinese Government undertakes to levy a uniform tax on all opium produced in the Chinese Empire, while the British Government consents to the increase in the present import duty on Indian opium to taels 350 per chest of 100 catties, such increase to take effect as soon as the Chinese Government levy an equivalent excise tax on all native opium.

S. With a view to assisting China in the suppression of opium the British Government undertakes that from the year 1911 the Government of India will issue an export permit with a consecutive number for each chest of Indian opium declared for shipment to or for consumption in China. During the year 1911 the number of permits so issued are not to exceed 30,000, and shall be progressively reduced annually by 5,100 during the remaining six years ending 1917. His Majesty's Government undertakes that each chest of opium for which such permit has been granted shall be sealed by an official deputed by the Indian Government in the presence of the Chinese official, if so requested.

9. Both parties agree that should it appear on subsequent experience desirable at any time during the unexpired portion of seven years to modify the agreement, or any part thereof, it may be revised by mutual consent.

The agreement of 1911 has an annex providing for the release into China of some thousands of chests of opium held by traders. But the number of these chests are to be deducted from the annual exportation of 5,100 from India, the chests permitted by the agreement of 1907 and by the later agreement.'

The agreement of 1907 between Great Britain and China and the modification of that agreement of May 8, 1911, just outlined, is perhaps the finest example of the comity of nations recorded in modern times. After a controversy sustained for over 100 years both parties to the Indo-Chinese opium trade have now determined upon its gradual and effective suppression, and one of them-China— has agreed, and has so far most effectively carried out the agreement, to suppress an internal production of opium seven times greater than the foreign traffic in the drug.

When the International Opium Conference assembled at The Hague on the 1st of last December representatives of the British and Chinese Governments were at last able to look one another in the face and without reserve show the representatives of the other Governments that a great reconciliation had taken place.❜


For full text of the agreement, vide supplement to this Journal for October, 1911, 238. The negotiator in chief of the later agreement on behalf of the British Government was Mr. Max Müller, at one time counselor of embassy at Washington. Mr. Müller was a British representative at The Hague conference.

The Manchus have gone, but not before their distinguished representative at the conference1 had signed on their behalf the international opium convention, which confirms to China on the part of the other treaty powers all that was conceded to her by Great Britain by virtue of the agreement of May S, 1911. It was under Manchu sway that the Indo-Chinese opium traffic and the vice of opium smoking first seriously appeared in the empire. The early emperors of that dynasty fought against the traffic and its consequences in vain. Under the weakest of the later emperors of this house the Indo-Chinese opium traffic grew to enormous proportions and the opium-smoking vice took an apparently unrelenting hold of the Chinese people. The traffic became legalized by the Tientsin treaties, and the internal production of opium in China was given free rein. The Manchus were not to depart ingloriously, however, for there was the old Buddha who came to recognize the economic and moral degradation that was attendant on the opium vice. In the latter years of her reign there was a revival by her ministers of the old contest against the Indo-Chinese opium trade and the opium vice in China. The old Buddha died on the eve of the assembling of the International Opium Commission. Under her successors and the statesmen who served them the latest great acts of the contest were accomplished by the signing of the Anglo-Chinese agreement of last year and of the international opium convention of January 23.


Since the adjournment of the International Opium Commission Great Britain has set a splendid example in the putting of an end to the unnecessary production, traffic in, and use of opium and other narcotics. Her recent agreement with China in regard to the Indo-Chinese opium traffic has been mentioned at length, but in addition to that special agreement other actions have been taken by the London and the colonial governments which are of international signifi



For instance, the International Opium Commission had no sooner dispersed than the Crown colony of Hongkong adopted the principle of resolution 4 of that commission, and immediately prohibited the export of opium to countries prohibiting its entry, while in the summer of 1911 Sir Edward Grey informed the interested Governments that India would, quite independently of the prospective conference, forbid the exportation of opium to countries which prohibited or desired to prohibit its entry. Moreover the antinarcotic laws of Great Britain were strengthened, and a compulsory declaration of all importations and exportations of morphine and cocaine was put in force.

In the Crown colonies of Wei-hai-wei and Ceylon, where the number of opium consumers is small and the population more or less stable, it was found possible to institute a system for the registration of smokers of opium which is to be used for the gradual obliteration of opium consumption, whereas in Hongkong and the Malay Peninsula, where the Chinese population fluctuates and fresh immigrants are constantly arriving, the registration was not found to be practicable. As an illustration of what has been done in these Crown colonies, Ceylon and Hongkong may be taken as illustrations,

The situation in Ceylon was somewhat peculiar. Besides those persons who were habitual consumers of opium, the vederalas, or native doctors, who are trained in the traditional Ceylonese system of medicine, habitually used opium in their prescriptions. Some difficulty therefore, was encountered in the settlement of the question of what persons professing to be vederalas had any claim to knowledge of ancient medical tradition. The matter was, however, decided by careful inquiry, and those persons who were found to be qualified vederalas were registered, and are now entitled to use opium in treating their patients. An ordinance which came into force on the 1st of October, 1910, regulates the general opium traffic. The right of importing opium, whether raw or prepared, is vested solely in the Government, and is delegated to the principal medical officer who has charge of the distribution of the drug. Opium for purely medicinal purposes may be supplied by the principal civil medical officer to qualified medical men and veterinary surgeons and to registered vederalas. It can only be supplied to other persons on their registration as habitual consumers.

1 Sir Chen Tung Liang Cheng, former Chinese Minister at Washington.
See edict of the receiver general of the customs at Canton, supplement, p. 264.
Vide supplement July, 1909, p. 276. (In this volume see p. 66, footnote.)

No person may be registered except on production of satisfactory evidence that at the time when the ordinance was passed he was an habitual consumer, together with evidence of the amount of opium which he was accustomed to consume and the manner and form of consumption. Thus, the opium consumers in Ceylon are at the present moment a definite number, to which additions can not be made. The use of the drug, except for medicinal purposes, must therefore disappear in the course of time. Further precautions against undue use of the drug are taken by limiting the annual amount allowed to a registered consumer or vederala to 8 ounces. The importation, possession, or sale of opium except by the authorized officer-the principal civil medical officer-and for the purposes described above is illegal.

In Hongkong it has not been found practicable to take the monopoly of the importation, preparation, and sale of opium into Government hands, but since the adjournment of the International Opium Commission restrictions on the traffic have been made by the limitation of the farmer to a certain number of chests per annum-800 in 1911-by the suppression of the opium divans and by forbidding the sale of prepared opium to any person other than an adult male. The preparation and sale of opium is vested in the farmer, and raw opium can only be imported by him or by a person possessing a permit signed by à Government officer and countersigned by the farmer. By resolution of the legislative council which came into force on the 1st of September, 1911, the importation of any kind of raw Indian opium is forbidden unless covered by export permits from the Government of India to the effect that it has been declared for shipment to or consumption in China. This resolution does not apply to opium imported by or for the use of the farmer. The resolution of the legislative council just referred to was made to effectuate article 8 of the Indo-Chinese agreement of May 8, 1911. Hongkong has gone further and has forbidden the exportation of prepared opium or of dross opium-that is, a preparation of opium in which the residue of opium which has been smoked forms the main ingredient-to China, French Indo-China, the United States, the Philippine Islands, the Netherlands, Indies, Siam, and Japan, while the exportation of opium to those places which permit its importation can only be carried out with the written permission of the superintendent of imports and exports.

The British self-governing colonies have not lagged in the forward movement set by the mother country and its Crown colonies. The Government of New Zealand, which had prohibited by law the importation of opium in any form suitable for smoking, added a further restriction by statute No. 30, of 1910, which enacts that opium in any form which, though not suitable for smoking, may yet be made suitable, may only be imported by permit issued by the minister of castoms.

Canadian legislation of 1908 declared the importation, manufacture, sale, or possession for sale of opium for other than medicinal purposes or of opium prepared for smoking to be an indictable offense. By act No. 17, of 1911, the law as to opium, cocaine, morphine, etc., is made more stringent. The importation, manufacture, sale, possession or offering for sale or traffic in Canada in these drugs, except for scientific or medicinal purposes, is a criminal offense. The smoking of opium, the possession of opium prepared or in preparation for smoking, and frequenting of opium dens are criminal offenses, while the exportation, without lawful excuse, of any of the drugs to any country which prohibits their entry is punishable by a fine or imprisonment, or both.

It may be stated that the author of the admirable Canadian law was the Hon Mackenzie King, Minister of Labor in the late Liberal cabinet. As a profound student of labor conditions in the Far East, as well as in Europe and America, he has lent the whole weight of his authority and knowledge to the suppression of the opium vice in Canada, and the law for which he was responsible was in part designed to enable the United States to protect its northern border from smuggled opium. It is an excellent example of the assistance which Canada and the United States may render each other in a great moral and economic cause, but which so far in this case has only been rendered by Canada. The Governments of Australia and the Transvaal have strengthened laws which were in existence four years ago, and by these laws the use of opium and allied drugs, except for medicinal purposes, has been reduced to a minimum. It has been stated above that the British Government laid particular emphasis on the morphine and cocaine questions on accepting the American proposal for an International Opium Conference. This emphasis was based on the neces

« PreviousContinue »