Modern History/Opium Wars

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The "Opium Wars" were two wars that were the climax of a long dispute between Britain and China. In the second, France fought alongside the British. This dispute was around the Opium trade which was perceived from two different culturtal and economic vantage points -- as with any and all global economic conflicts between two parties. The Chinese Emperor had banned opium in China due to its harmful effects on Chinese citizens and its denigratory impact on the Chinese culture; The British Empire, however, saw opium as a profitable good for commercial trade, as its import would help balance the huge trade deficit with China. The Opium Wars and the many treaties signed afterward led in part to the downfall of the Chinese economy, as many countries followed Britain and forced more treaties to increase trade within China.