1900-1919 | China | Civilians slaughtered | Looting and plunder | Massacres

British and allied troops sack Tientsin slaughtering civilians

[ 14 July 1900 ] British and Allied troops sent to crush an alliance of Boxer rebels and Chinese imperial forces, seized the northern port city of Tientsin (Tianjin) in the early hours of 14 July 1900. The Dundee Courier noted that ‘after the city was entered, there was at first indiscriminate slaughter, and it is alleged…

1800-1859 | Opium

Cabinet backs war with China after opium traders are held hostage

[ 1 October 1839 ] On 1 October 1839, the Cabinet decided on a war with China after the Emperor’s Special Commissioner at Canton, Lin Zexu, enforced an imperial decree banning the trade in opium and took several traders and British officials hostage until the 20,000 chests of the drug on the ships anchored offshore…

1860-1899

British troops burn down Beijing’s summer palace

18 October 1860 On 18 October 1860, British troops, who had fought their way into the outskirts of Beijing ten days earlier, set fire to one of the world’s greatest collections of art work and treasure, the legendary Summer Palace, also known as the Garden of Perfect Brightness (Yuanmingyuan). Lord Elgin, who’s father had stripped…

1860-1899 | Looting and plunder

British troops commence the looting and destruction of Beijing’s Summer Palace

7 October 1860 On 7 October 1860, British officers joined French troops in looting Beijing’s legendary Summer Palace.  The complex might have been more accurately described as palaces, as there were over two hundred summer houses and pavilions within eighty square miles of landscaped gardens. As one correspondent noted, ‘its construction and the accumulation of…

1900-1919 | Looting and plunder

General Gaselee sanctions an orgy of looting in Beijing

17 August 1900 On 17 August 1900, Major General Alfred Gaselee issued an order licensing the ransacking of Beijing. Gaselee was the commanding officer of a British and Allied expeditionary force. It had arrived in the city just in time to relieve the diplomatic legations, which had been besieged for fifty five days by anti-imperialist…

1800-1859 | Opium

Chinese destroy British opium leading to the First Opium War

3 June 1839 On 3 June 1839, Lin Zexu, an imperial commissioner of Qing China, ordered the destruction of illegal opium imports, which were being smuggled in increasing quantities by British traders.  China had banned the import of opium in 1800, but until 1839, traders had been able to purchase supplies from the British East…

1860-1899 | Civilians slaughtered | Massacres | Prisoners murdered | Torture

Hundreds of civilians and prisoners tortured and killed at Taitsan

3 May 1863 On 3 May 1863, Chinese imperial troops, under the command of Major Charles Gordon, who was later to become legendary as General Gordon of Khartoum, killed hundreds of civilians and prisoners after they seized control of the city of Taitsan.  Neither Gordon nor the British troops under his command did anything to…

1860-1899

Thousands murdered after British led imperial army takes Suzhou

9 December 1863 On 9 December 1863, thousands of men and women in the Chinese rebel city of Suzhou were massacred,  four days after the town was seized by British and imperial Chinese forces. Colonel Charles Gordon (later lauded as a war hero for his last stand and death at Khartoum in 1885) had guaranteed…

1900-1919 | Media propaganda | Opium

1 JUNE

THE TIMES – HALTING THE OPIUM TRADE WOULD HARM OUR FINANCIAL INTERESTS [ 1 June 1906 ] On 1 June 1906, an editorial in The Times strongly supported John Morley, India Secretary, who had cautioned parliament against any legal sanctions on Britain’s opium trade with China.  Since the early nineteenth century, the East India Company had…

1800-1859 | 1970-1979 | Backing terror operations | Northern Ireland | Opium

9 APRIL

LORD PALMERSTON JUSTIFIES MILITARY PROTECTION FOR BRITAIN’S OPIUM TRADERS [ 9 April 1840 ] Today in 1840, Foreign Secretary Lord Palmerston, justifying Britain’s determination to defend its opium traders from any interference from Chinese officials, told parliament that it was not Britian’s responsibility to protect ‘the morals of the Chinese people who were disposed to…