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An interesting collection of 1985 used stamps from Hong Kong, China.

This set shows Queen Elizabeth surrounded by a lion and a dragon.

Average condition. Not the full set.
SG 471 - 485.

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Although European demand for Chinese commodities like tea, silk, and porcelain was high, Chinese interest in European manufactured goods was insignificant. To counter the trade imbalance, the British sold large amounts of Indian opium to China. Faced with a drug crisis, Qing officials pursued ever-more-aggressive actions to halt the opium trade. The Daoguang Emperor rejected proposals to legalise & tax opium, ordering imperial commissioner Lin Zexu to eradicate the opium trade in 1839. The commissioner destroyed opium stockpiles and halted all foreign trade, prompting a British military response and triggering the First Opium War. The Qing surrendered early in the war and ceded Hong Kong Island in the Convention of Chuenpi. However, both countries were dissatisfied and did not ratify the agreement. After over a year of further hostilities, Hong Kong Island was formally ceded to the United Kingdom in 1842.

Administrative infrastructure was quickly built up by early 1842, but piracy, disease, and hostile Qing policies towards Hong Kong prevented the government from attracting merchants. The Taiping Rebellion, when many wealthy Chinese fled mainland turbulence and settled in the colony, improved conditions on the island. Further tensions between the British and Qing over the opium trade escalated into the Second Opium War. The defeated Qing were again forced to give up land, ceding Kowloon Peninsula. Rapid economic improvement during the 1850s attracted foreign investment. The Japanese Army attacked Hong Kong in 1941, & occupied it for almost 4 years before Britain resumed control in 1945.

By the early 1990s, Hong Kong had established itself as a global financial centre and shipping hub.

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  • Seller location: Auckland City, Auckland, NZ

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