The ‘Problem’ of Opium Smoking in Canton

Virgil K.Y. Ho

in Understanding Canton

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780199282715
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603037 | DOI:

Series: Studies on Contemporary China

 The ‘Problem’ of Opium Smoking in Canton

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Both the causes of opium consumption, and the allegedly calamitous social, political, economic, and cultural impact of opium smoking on Cantonese society were greatly exaggerated in official propaganda and scholarly writings. Opium served Canton and its urban inhabitants many positive social, cultural, economic, and political purposes, making it difficult to over-simplify the phenomenon of opium smoking as nothing but pernicious.

Keywords: opium; medicinal values; addiction; legalization; anti-opium rhetoric; leisure; revenue

Chapter.  31544 words. 

Subjects: Economic History

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