political tea

November 11th, 2007

All the tea in China: The political impact of tea, says the headline. I’m not so sure of what the article says about the development of tea culture in the west- it smells a little too much of the odd lists of clichés, factoids, and rumours about the outside world so many Chinese people are fond of rattling off- but still, it’s an interesting look at the history and development of tea.

Tea is a subject this hopeless tea addict really should do a little more research into.

But I love how the author can’t resist this little dig at Britain:

England could not afford to continue paying for tea with gold and silver. To take such large amounts out of the country would have bankrupted the nation. Thus the Opium Wars began with England’s declaration that it was “ready to go to war for free trade” – or – “go to war for the right to sell cheap opium to the Chinese in exchange for tea”. From 1840 until 1908 the English had the military strength to force their opium upon the Chinese and to try to continue to dominate the world market in tea trading.

Unfortunately it’s followed up with this paragraph:

But the British encountered problems by trying to bully China, and control and tax tea supplies in the New World. In 1773, a group of US colonists protesting the taxation of tea by Great Britain boarded a ship from the British East India Company and dumped its entire cargo of tea into the harbor. This Boston Tea Party was the start of America’s independence from Britain and is also why tea is not subject to import taxes today in the United States.

Uh, hang on a minute… Aren’t we going backwards here? The Boston Tea Party happened quite some time before the Opium Wars.

2 Responses to “political tea”

  1. John Says:

    Someone was clearly being inattentive or the paragraphs would’ve been in the right chronological order. Perhaps if the paragraph about the Boston Tea Party had been worded correctly, the ordering might not have been such a problem.

  2. wangbo Says:

    Reworded or reordered would’ve been better. Dropping the all too obvious haha the silly Brits, we got them back in the end tone would’ve been better still.