The China History Podcast The Opium War Analysis

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Podcast Critique: The China History Podcast: “The Opium War”

Laszlo Montgomery’s podcast, The China History Podcast: “The Opium War” discusses the background, causes and effects of the First Opium War, which lasted from 1839 to 1842 and ended with the first of the “unequal treaties”, the Treaty of Nanjing, which forced China to cede Hong Kong and several harbors to the British Empire. The podcast has one speaker and is primarily informational with an informal tone.
One event that Montgomery presented effectively was the involvement of Chinese commissioner Lin Zexu in the prelude to the Opium War. Montgomery gave a clear and concise presentation of Lin Zexu’s methods of stopping the Opium trade, such as his campaign to warn the Chinese people
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I learnt from the podcast the economic facts of the Opium trade, that it resulted in silver flowing out of China and adversely effecting China’s balance of trade, which resulted in scarcity of silver, which made it more valuable in terms of copper, weakening the buying power of Chinese peasants and workers. I also learnt that China tries to isolate foreigners in one area to control and monitor them, Montgomery mentions that the Portuguese were ceded Macau and China kept later foreigners in Canton and goes even further to mention that even in the otherwise protectionist Mao era, that trade existed in these isolated areas. Montgomery was effective in presenting the events before, during and after the Opium War, primarily due to how he presented the events leading up to the war, for example, Montgomery gave an in-depth story of how Lin Zexu sought to rid China of Opium, including his methods, such as punishing addicts and Opium dealers, taking Opium inventories and destroying them while making Western merchants sign bonds to never sell Opium again. Montgomery went further into Lin Zexu’s moral convictions about Opium, that his Confucian beliefs judged Opium to be immoral and wrote a letter to Queen Victoria of Britain expressing these convictions. Montgomery presented historical facts in a clear and relatable manner and his inclusion of Chinese

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