Random (but not really)

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Parallels: Tea from China

More parallels in recent books.

This time it’s just how hard the British empire was trying to steal tea plants so they could grow tea in India, which they controlled.

I knew about the opium trade, but it was never clear in history lessons that the British empire was flooding China with opium in an attempt to control the country (and thus make money)

Who Speaks for the Damned (2020) C.S. Harris set in England in 1818.

Here we have mention of just how hard the East India company was trying to steal the plants and processes from the Chinese–and the start of the use of opium to try and drug the Chinese into submission.

One of these days the company is going to get its hands on the secret process the Chinese use to make the stuff, along with some seedlings of their precious Camellia sinensis, and then we’ll be able to grow and produce tea ourselves in India.

They’re impossible people to deal with, you know— the Chinese, I mean. They insist we pay for their silks, porcelains, and tea with silver because they have no interest in anything Europe produces. And the one thing we could use to trade with them, opium, they refuse to allow into the country.”

Death in Kew Gardens (Kat Holloway Mysteries, #3) by Jennifer Ashley set in England in 1881

I borrowed this book, so I can’t grab any quotes, but the mystery centers on tea plants. The British empire is growing tea in India, but the finest, most expensive teas, are still controlled by the Chinese.

If an Englishman in China commits a blatant crime—whether against another Englishman or a Chinese—he is tried by a British court, not a Chinese one. If found guilty, he is sent home, out of our reach.”

In both quotes, you can see the blatant racism, and the disdain for the Chinese, and how the British government was overtly trying to subvert the Chinese government.

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