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Title: Britain's drug-pushing activities in China : the two opium wars from the perspective of their lawyers and legal advisors
Author: Qi, Jing
ISNI:       0000 0004 2737 4811
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2012
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In this study, the first clashes between Western explorers and the Far East, as well as relations between Britain and China from the eve of the First Opium War (FOW) to the establishment of the British diplomatic residence in Beijing under the treaty regime, have been discussed from a legal point of view. This thesis provides a look at the circumstances of Britain’s encounter with China, their defeat of China through two Opium Wars and their use of unequal treaties to put China into a position of disadvantage. A study of British archives demonstrates the complexity of, and nuance in international law between China and the West from the 1830s to 1860. British national archives allow investigation of the legal perspective on the issues around the opium trade and the way in which it led to the FOW. The archives also shed light on the Second Opium War (SOW) and on the Western acquisition of privileges through the unequal treaties signed at the end of both wars. In its relations with China, Britain left behind the rules and practices which they recognised as the contemporary law of nations and instead, whenever the British financial and economic interest was affected, resorted to force. This paper’s purpose is to show the limitation, according to Chinese Confucian thought, of the self-perception of the Western conception of law and the justice. In fact, this thesis will also show how some British legal advisors and politicians took the side of China and how they argued that Britain had violated the principles of international law. They recognised that China was a sovereign nation and that international law applied in its relations with Britain. Thus this study uncovers aspects of history of international law in the 19th century neglected because of the later prospering of racial theories.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Law School ; University of Aberdeen ; College of Arts and Social Sciences ; University of Aberdeen
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Drug traffic ; Opium trade ; International law ; China ; Great Britain