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Title: Early twentieth century narcotics control: international conferences on opium under the league of nations and narcotics control on Taiwan under Japan
Authors: 馬永昕
Mark Brett
Contributors: 周惠民
Chou ,Whei Ming
Mark Brett
Keywords: Narcotics
International Conferences
League of Nations
Date: 2010
Issue Date: 2011-10-05 14:56:26 (UTC+8)
Abstract: The aim of the research is to identify and apprehend all the factors in terms of administration, economy, culture, and ideas within and without Taiwan that influenced drugs control there in the early twentieth century. The means is to explore narcotics control on the island with special consideration to international conferences on opium. The period covers the late Qing dynasty (1850-1895), early Japanese period (1895-1920), and late Japanese period (1920-1940). The conclusion will discuss the relationship between narcotics control and the conferences, compare practical measures and cultures of drugs, and compare abstract ideas that defined the practical side. The research is original because it studies previously unexplored cultural and intellectual history. It is also a synthesis of a rarely researched topic: namely: the international conferences angle on drugs control on the island during Japanese rule (hence its emphasis in the thesis title).

The main findings regarding the Qing dynasty is that the administration was weak and opium culture was acceptable, fashionable and useful. The administration was weak because officials were undermined by informal administrators who were gentry. The gentry occupied a privileged socio-legal position and were relied upon by officials for implementing policy. It was also weak because it could not enforce the law: edicts stipulating prohibition of opium smoking and emigration to Taiwan were ignored. Opium culture was rendered fashionable and acceptable by the literati who smoked it. Opium also served as a treatment for many illnesses. It was popular especially among professional men in Taiwan. Opium was largely available since the treaty ports were opened in 1858. A favourable balance of trade meant the Chinese could afford opium.

The early Japanese period had a strong administration and definitive new ideas. The administration was strong because of its army, Law 63, and the hokō and police systems. It successfully established the opium monopoly system. It was a licensing and rationing system that was on the whole effective, but it was flawed because of its recording and commission on sales system. Biological principles and economic warfare defined the opium policy. The former meant that the Taiwanese would be made fitter over time by gradually suppressing opium. The latter referred to selling opium as a means to enhance national survival in the newly perceived protracted war where resources were crucial for victory. Fear of national destruction through Japanese adopting the smoking habit triggered the formulation of an opium policy. Occasional and habitual smokers were homogenised through media. Opium smokers were presented negatively. Iwai Tatsumi had opium revenue become Government-General revenue. It was important until 1930. A black market of opium for secret smokers flourished possibly with the approval of the administration for profit or social stability.

The late Japanese period was marked by introduction of powerful foreign ideas and cultural change. The ideas were self-determination and humanitarianism. The former incited anti-colonialism. That forced the administration to adopt a concessionary attitude towards the Chinese in order to maintain peaceful rule. It promoted accelerated assimilation that undermined the discriminatory biological principles that was the bedrock of the gradual suppression policy. Humanitarianism put opium on the international public and national government agendas. It stimulated reform such as the 1928 Taiwan Opium Ordinance, 1929 Addict Registration Campaign and expedited the 1930 Rehabilitation Programme. Du Congming established the first rehabilitation centre after administration funded research into opium. Cultural change is expressed in the ambiguous attitude towards opium crystallizing into a fiercely anti-opium one held by Chinese. Opium was rendered unacceptable and traitorous. The Japanese viewed opium addiction as a disease; hence addicts were medicalised. Allegedly Japanese officials and businessmen respectively approved of and engaged in the export of crude morphine and cocaine from Taiwan. The opium monopoly system allegedly provided cover for the import of excessive quantities of opium. Weak regulations in Japan meant exporting cocaine was not problematic. Increasingly opium businesses became unprofitable or were closed excepting wholesalers. Revenue from opium was minute but still useful.

The main points of the international conferences concern their aims, origins, results, the League of Nations and Japanese policy. The aims were to eliminate opium smoking and suppress narcotics. They originated from American President Theodore Roosevelt who was prompted by American missionary Charles Brent. British diplomat Sir Malcolm Delevingne was instrumental in calling for the 1924-25 Geneva conferences. The results are vast and complex. The sound ideas were: a) licensing; b) rationing; c) recording; d) government monopoly; e) standardised import and export certificates; f) independent body to handle estimates from consumer countries and orders to supplier countries; g) education. The main problems were: a) the agreements were only obligatory; b) diplomatic language afforded the ability to neglect reforms; c) there was not a timetable for limiting supply. The League of Nations was established in order to avert war. It was revolutionary because it provided a platform for open and multilateral diplomacy, and redefined acceptable behaviour of nations. It added a new dimension to traditional closed and bilateral diplomacy where states had freedom of action. The League was a phenomenal propaganda machine because it was admirable, authoritative and hence held global media attention. The Japanese view was originally typified by indifference and strategic interest. The latter is regarding the Anglo-Japanese alliance. It developed to become morally concerned and concerned as per foreign pressure over the illicit traffic of narcotics from Japan. Indifference was due to the fact that in Japan drugs were not an electoral issue. Moreover, the government was dominated by businesses which had an economic interest in the trade. Lastly it was offensive to undermine business in Japanese culture. Moral concern arose in terms of humanitarianism under the League of Nations. Additionally social hygiene viewing opium as a treatable threat to survival was applied to the eradication of opium.

The conclusion reveals the relationship between conferences and narcotics control on the island to be mutual, direct, indirect and significant. The Chinese and Foreign Powers created and surmounted the opium crisis in Taiwan. Japanese rule provided for suitable conditions for the Chinese to resist opium. Administration and culture are the most influential factors in narcotics control. Foreign ideas of self-determination and humanitarianism defeated Japanese ideas and compelled reform of the opium system. Mobilisation of public opinion is vital for cultural change. The opium monopoly system was on the whole efficacious. Lastly, the statistics on opium are dubious as they are provided by Kaku Sagatarō who may have been involved in the illicit traffic of narcotics.
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Data Type: thesis
Appears in Collections:[亞太研究英語博/碩士學位學程(IDAS/IMAS)] 學位論文

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