Voyages in World History – Article Example

The western powers were growing powerful in the 19th century. They forged forward to exploit other countries in Asia. They tried to reshape them so that they would adopt the western practices such as education, governance, trade, and religions (Hansen and Curtis 527). The countries mostly affected included Japan, China, India, and Korea. According to Hansen and Curtis (528), Japan readily accepted the reforms brought about by the western powers. However, China adamantly remained under conservative authority that repelled the western ways. Consequently, Britain invaded China to force western reforms on them. Soon China was divided into spheres of Japan, Britain, the United States and France. Each of these civilized powers established trade with the local residents of China.
While in China, a major British company called the British East India Company tried to establish trade with the local Chinese residents. However, they soon realized the only medium of trade they could use was silver that it did not possess in abundance (Hansen and Curtis). However, it realized that by smuggling opium into China, it had a readily accepted the medium of trade.
Use of opium for trade purposes led to opium-flooded China that heightened self and family neglect. The Qing government sent a letter to Queen Victoria demanding for disbands of opium as a medium of exchange. While Chinese government perceived opium trade as a way of exploiting China with disregard to its negative effects on China, Britain claimed that free trade was in everybody’s interest, leading to the opium war where Britain attacked China coast cities (Hansen and Curtis 530).
Authorities must be careful about how they regulate trade. Drugs that can be addictive must be regulated for the benefit of the society. In addition, an unbiased central authority is necessary for ensuring that strong trading parties do not abuse other weak parties.