Talk:Lin Zexu

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This article is quite incoherent and badly needs a clean-up. I will try to do this when I have time.--Niohe 01:26, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

Should not 'offical to' be replaced by his actual title? After all, most books on the subject refer t him as just 'Commisioner Lin'?

Lin Zexu[edit]

According to Jack Gray's Rebellions and Revolutions (ISBN: 0198215762): The Imperial Commissioner Lin Zexu took up his position in Canton on the 10th of March 1839. He was the son of a family of small means which had nevertheless maintained a tradition of scholarship. He took the highest (jinshi) degree at the early age of 26 and joined the Hanlin Academy, the highest distinction in Chinese scholarhsip. He was a leading member of the new reform party. An official of varied, practical and nation-wide experience, in 1837 he served as Governor-General of Hunan and Hubei. There he carried out measures against opium with apparent success. His method of erradication in Hunan and Hubei was to invoke the help of the people via the local gentry in identifying both the dealers and the consumers, to execute all convicted of participation in the trade, to give addicts 18 months to cure themselves under threat of execution if they failed, and to employ such medical methods as were known to assist them in overcoming the addiction (in Canton he sought the advice of Western medical missionairies).

Hunan and Hubei, however, offered little parallel with Canton, the centre of the trade and the point of import; it is likely that in these provices home-grown rather than imported opium was the problem. Lin Zexu was ill-prepared by his experience to take action at Canton.

He was convinced that the foreign opium traders had no countenance from their governments at home. He assumed, as the letter which he wrote to Queen Victoria showed, that the import of opium into Britain must be illegal, as in China. He believed that British shipping was licensed and that the opium ships were vessels which had evaded licensing. He was unaware of the use of silver to buy tea, of the exchange problem, or of its political implications. He assumed that Elliot represented the opium merchants, and would not trust him as a channel of communication with Britain. In fact he memorialized the throne only two days after his arrival at Canton that 'it is common knowledge that Elliot is not and English official, but a renegade merchant'.

Lin ordered the surrender of the opium stored down-river at Lintin. To him this was perfectly reasonable as he had already ordered the surrender of opium in the hands of the Chinese dealers. The two cases, however, were not the same. In the first place most of the opium at Lintin did not belong to the foreign merchants at Canton, who were agents handling opium which beloged to merchants in India, and they had no legal right to surrender it. In the second place Lin did not have the force to seize the opium directly. Hence he resorted to the confinement of the British community in the factories.

The British community were besieged in the factories for six weeks. Elliot was forced to order the surrender of the drug. By this act Lin Zexu had changed the whole issue as far as the British were concerned, from the suppression of the opium traffic, a cause with which the British authorities fully symmpathized in spite of the great and ramified interests which the traffic supported, to the holding of British citizens, including innocent citizens, as hostages.

This is my first post and would be interested to know how to best mention this information in the article or any comments

I agree with the comments above that Lin is an extremely significant figure and this article should be expanded to perhaps four or five paragraphs.

I (temporarily, I hope) removed the significant but unsourced reference to the UN Day being placed on June 26 because Lin burned the opium on June 3 -- which would strike many readers as inconsistent. cwh 03:00, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Sorry if this is not the right place to leave this. I did some reading regarding reference two (Spencer 1991, p.131, the text can be found using Google), and read the section regarding Opium that p.131 resides in. At best, it is a stretch, at worst it is completely unrelated to Lin Zexu. Alexjustdoit (talk) 22:43, 29 June 2019 (UTC)

Edits concerning David Sassoon[edit]

I don't dispute that this information is factually correct. However, it is not particularly relevant to Lin Zexu. I saw two problems with the information as it was supplied. Firstly, it violates WP:SOURCES as the website given doesn't seem to qualify as reliable to me ("self-published books, newsletters, personal websites, open wikis, blogs, forum postings, and similar sources are largely not acceptable".) Second, I feel that this does not meet WP:N standards as David Sassoon and his religion have little to do with Lin Zexu. The information would be better placed in the article on Opium or perhaps the Opium Wars, but I don't think it belongs here. DJLayton4 (talk) 16:31, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Since there's been no reply here to DJLayton4's arguments, I have removed the information and re-written the whole paragraph with a reliable source. Matt's talk 10:20, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

I agree and re- removed the references to Sassoon. ch (talk) 18:29, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Lin Zexu's letter to the Cantonese press[edit]

There are problems with the letter.

  1. That the linked "text of the letter ..." differ in their content! Not just in translation but in length and scope.
  2. That the letter was not to the British Crown (Queen Victoria) it was to the local press - that's called propaganda. He didn't have it delivered just published locally, it was later published in The Times (of London according to sources), but I doubt that the Crown responded to threats published by foreign powers without at least a seal being made and ambassadors being contacted.

The "relevant extracts" is substantially longer than the full text (at UCLA!!) cited. This appears to be a full copy @ but I'd want to see a facsimile reproduction of the original alongside it and some verification (it seems revisionist). This page speculates as to the young Queen's personal and public responses, also has a good discussion of the definition of addiction and medical conditions related to excess consumption of drugs in the UK between 1700-WWI. Interestingly the say that the Emperor's son (Yongzheng presumably) had died from an overdose and that this initiated the prohibition; that source gives questions (presumably for students) and sources too. Further good sources on the Sino-British Wars. (talk) 12:22, 12 July 2008 (UTC), User:pbhj

Bot report : Found duplicate references ![edit]

In the last revision I edited, I found duplicate named references, i.e. references sharing the same name, but not having the same content. Please check them, as I am not able to fix them automatically :)

  • "sources" :
    • {{citation| last=De Bary| first= Wm. Theodore; Lufrano, Richard| title=Sources of Chinese Tradition: From 1600 Through the Twentieth Century| volume=2| year=2000| publisher=Columbia University Press| isbn=978 0 231 11271 0| pages=201-204}}
    • {{citation| last=Waley| first=Arthur| title=The Opium War Through Chinese Eyes| publisher=Allen & Unwin| date=1958}}

DumZiBoT (talk) 10:10, 9 August 2008 (UTC)


I was looking at the article's history to see when a certain piece of info was added and I happened to come across this edit, which claims File:Lin Zexu 1.jpg is not Lin. I've removed the picture for now until a reliable source confirms otherwise. Spellcast (talk) 10:23, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

Lin is what mandarin speakers use. Benjwong (talk) 02:59, 28 January 2010 (UTC)

Governor of Yunnan[edit]

This section, and its source (Atwill, David G. The Chinese Sultanate: Islam, Ethnicity, and the Panthay Rebellion in Southwest China, 1856-1873), seem to have gotten lost in recent edits restoring older text to the article. Since it fleshes out the timeline of his life, I think this period should receive a few paragraphs of coverage. --diff (talk) 02:37, 30 June 2015 (UTC)


As someone who has done a lot of reading on the First Opium War, the claim that Lin may have been extracting morphine from the opium instead of just destroying it is an interesting and odd one. This claim seems to be solely based on the book Did Lin Zexu Make Morphine? by G. W. Robinette. Firstly, how reputable is the author and the publisher (Graffiti Militante Press)? I haven't been able to find anything about him or his work. Secondly and most importantly, because this author is literally the only source I can find making this claim, adding this info would be WP:UNDUE weight. The policy says:

  • If a viewpoint is in the majority, then it should be easy to substantiate it with reference to commonly accepted reference texts;
  • If a viewpoint is held by a significant minority, then it should be easy to name prominent adherents;
  • If a viewpoint is held by an extremely small (or vastly limited) minority, it does not belong on Wikipedia, regardless of whether it is true or you can prove it, except perhaps in some ancillary article.

In this case, this morphine claim is not even notable enough to fall into the third category (i.e. a view held by an "extremely small" minority) because there's literally only one author as far as I can see making this claim. Now perhaps if this was written by even one reputable historian/scholar on the matter, it might be worth mentioning. But I see no evidence of that. Spellcast (talk) 21:42, 29 December 2015 (UTC)

I reverted the original insertion of this questionable material, but it was inserted again. Spellcast explained the reasons for cutting it far better than I did, for which many thanks and full (talk) 05:08, 30 December 2015 (UTC)

Hi, I am Glenn Robinette. I find it amusing that someone feels we get to vote on truth. Especially curious is the comment that "it does not belong ... regardless of whether it is true ...." Every new idea begins with a minority of one. You could read the book. Lin uses the same recipe to "destroy" the opium that European chemists used to extract the morphine. Thanks. Best, Glenn Robinette — Preceding unsigned comment added by Glenn Robinette (talkcontribs) 03:18, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

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