EIC's opium production in India in the 19th CE made India and China suffer from trauma and economic meltdown!!

Illegal export of Opium by EIC and China cdni0.trtworld.com

The Pangs of pain, exploitation, and humiliation for a long period remain a poignant reminder for the Chinese of their past defeat and for the Indians of the era of colonial servitude, highlighting the West's self-righteous hypocrisy and arrogance. In 1500, India and China were among the world's most advanced civilizations with high GD.  However, the arrival of Europeans, particularly the British, led to significant looting and devastation in both regions, much like what happened in the Americas and Africa. India, with its vast resources, became the main source of revenue for the British, starting with Robert Clive in Bengal.

New Clipper ship laden with opium  to China cd n.britannica.com

Chinese opium addicts and British masters of EIC.portside.org

The British Empire, in its quest for silver and gold to balance payments, heavily involved itself in state-sponsored drug trafficking, playing a chief role in downgrading the economies of these two countries. Unlike China, India was under direct British rule, and her people had no freedom. The empire became the world's largest producer and exporter of opium, a central commodity in global trade following the  decline of the African slave trade. India's cheap labor facilitated this trade. The British forced opium produced in India upon China, leading to the ''Century of Humiliation'', which only ended with the revolution led by Mao Zedong.

Before British colonization, India accounted for 25% of global trade, a figure that plummeted to less than 1% by the time the British left. The British Empire's opium industry was one of the largest enterprises in colonial India, producing thousands of tons annually, akin to Afghanistan's notorious opium industry during the U.S. occupation. Opium accounted for 17-20% of British India’s revenues. In the early 1700s, China produced 35% of the world’s GDP, and half of the world's books were printed in Chinese. The country was self-sufficient, exporting tea, silk, and porcelain and receiving gold and silver in return. This trade imbalance depleted Western reserves, leading Britain to resort to state-sponsored drug smuggling to reverse the flow of silver. By 1826, this smuggling had reversed the silver flow, initiating one of modern history's longest and most continuous international crimes.

Illegal export of Opium, EIC cdn.mindspritesolutions.com

 The world's most successful corporate company was the East India company, a major drug (opium) producer and exporter to China and other places  till 1850s and later the British Raj after 1858  became the second largest producer of legal opium in thworld.  It all began in fertile  Bengal in 1757, thanks to Robert Clive and other  scheming and manipulative British officials, King George III granted the company a monopoly on producing and exporting Indian opium. The company employed thousands of clerks across India. The British taxed away 50% of Indian peasants' food crops to push them into growing opium, leading to famines such as the Bengal famine of 1770 and another in 1783, with millions starving to death. British sources report that over 85 million Indians died in famines, effectively genocides orchestrated by the British Raj.

19th CE Opium routes to China  ocw.mit.edu

The EIC wielded significant military power and held the right to collect revenue from Indian lands and various taxes. They exploited this power, forcing poor Indian farmers to cultivate opium with the assistance of local zamindars. By the late 1700s, large areas in north India, including Princely states and Company-held plantations, were under opium cultivation. The EIC established factories to process the opium for export to China and other markets, benefiting from the low wages paid to farmers and factory workers.

Historian William Dalrymple, author of The Anarchy, highlighted that the EIC fought the Opium Wars to secure an offshore base in Hong Kong and safeguard its profitable narcotics monopoly. To manage the opium trade, the Company established a powerful agency called the Opium Agency, which employed over 2,500 clerical staff and ran more than 100 offices, mostly manned by the British. This agency, with a focus on maximizing profits, monitored poppy farmers, enforced contracts, and maintained quality control with police-like authority.

Local landowners forced their landless tenants to grow poppy, and peasants faced threats of crop destruction, criminal prosecution, and jail if they refused. Dr. Rolf Bauer's study on the production of opium in nineteenth-century India, based on archival documents including the 1895 Report of the Royal Commission of Opium, revealed the exploitative nature of the business. Indian peasants, who often cultivated poppy at a loss, were impoverished by this system, unable to decide whether or not to produce opium and forced to submit part of their land and labor to the colonial government's export strategy.

By the mid-19th century, British state-sponsored opium exports accounted for a significant portion of colonial revenue in India and a substantial part of its exports. In 1729, the Chinese emperor declared opium imports illegal, but smuggling persisted, leading to escalating imports. The First Opium War (1839-1842) ensued after the Chinese government destroyed a large quantity of opium. The Treaty of Nanking, which concluded the war, ceded Hong Kong to the British and allowed unrestricted opium imports. The Second Opium War (1856-1860) further entrenched Western control.

The opium trade devastated China, causing widespread addiction, economic loss, and social disruption. Britain and France's involvement in the Second Opium War included the destruction of the Yuanming Yuan, the emperor's summer palace, symbolizing Western contempt for Chinese culture. By 1880, British opium earnings were substantial, and the London Times falsely claimed that China had willingly accepted opium imports. China’s weakened state led to territorial losses to Russia, France, and Japan, and further exploitation by Western powers. The Eight-Nation Alliance's invasion in 1900 crushed the nationalist Boxer Rebellion, reducing China to a neo-colony.

By 1906, the British finally agreed to end the opium trade, though it had already caused immense damage to Chinese and Indian civilizations. This period of humiliation and exploitation by Western powers left a lasting impact on China, shaping its modern identity and its historical narrative of overcoming colonial oppression