Lin Zexu

Lin Zexu
Lin Zexu
Lin Zexu in Fuzhou

Lin Zexu (earlier Transkription Lin Tse hsü) (Chinese 林則徐; Pinyin: Lín Zéxú) (* 30. August 178522. November 1850) was a high civil servant of the Chinese Qing government well-known for its sincerity and special personal integrity.

Native from Fujian Lin passed 1811 its Jinshi - exams (corresponds the doctor degree) and was thereupon as a scholar at the renowned imperial Han Lin academy, in addition, on different administrative posts in Yunnan, Jiangsu, Shaanxi, Shandong, Hubei and Hunan active. As a governor general of the two latter provinces Lin was for the first time concerned with the fight of the British Opiumhandels in China. In a letter to its coworker gong Zizhen he put unmistakably certification down of his relevant point of view: Opiumraucher should erwürgt, which dealers and producers of the drug are meanwhile beheaded.

1838 sent emperors Daoguang Lin Zexu as a special commissioner after canton, in order to force the fight against the Opiumhandel seriously. First Lin in appropriate clearing-up campaigns knows the consumers on the danger of the drug and requested it for the delivery of their existence as well as the associated whistles within two months. He continued to ask over - when desired also anonymous - references to Opiumhändler and these tribute your as well as around suggestions, how one could fight her. In all other respects it left far circles of the population, in particular however to exam candidates and military member, in pentads (so-called. Baojia) summarize to supervise itself mutually on any Opiumkonsum and if necessary. at the authorities to denunzieren had. The campaign produced quite considerable successes: Until in the middle of July 1839 73,000 kg of Opium and 70,000 Opiumpfeifen were seized over 1.600 Chinese arrested as well as.

Meanwhile Lin Zexus fight against the foreign Opiumkaufleute themselves became more difficult under guidance of the English Superintendenten Charles Elliott. First it appealed to the moral consciousness of the foreigners: Thus he knows in a letter at queen Viktoria approximately on also the Opiumverbot existing in England and asked accordingly also for an attitude of the exports to China. Here it surveyed certainly that the drug was forbidden on the paper in the motherland in the long run only, in the everyday life however without problems to be consumed could and socially in similar measure accepted was as for instance alcoholic beverages. Thus the reminders encountered little resonance.

Thereupon the situation escalated: Lin demanded the remunerationless publication of all Opiumbestände as well as the distribution of its colleague Lancelot Drent from the buyers. After both had been refused, he let prevent any trade with the foreigners, forced the Chinese in foreign services to the notice of their contracts and left to 24. March of 1839 350 foreigners in their overseas trading stations intern.

In this way Lin forced the publication of 20.000 crates (=1,4 million after six weeks kg) Opium. In close proximity to Humen it left the drug at the 3. June 1839 in the sea rinse not to ask without „the spirit of the south sea “for assigning for a such Besudelung of its district. In amazingly naive misjudging of the state of affairs Lin finally reported in a memorandum at emperors Daoguang, who would have foreigners their injustice seen and now „from hearts would be ashamed “.

Instead the British sent a war fleet to the Chinese coasts and opened thereby the first Opiumkrieg, which should end to 1842 with a destroying defeat for China and the conclusion of the humiliating contract of Nanking.

Lin Zexu fell therefore with the emperor in disgrace, its offices was relieved and into the inhospitable region Ili in the extreme northwest in the exile sent. In view of its incontestable achievements it was rehabilitated 1845 and was allowed to return to Peking. After death Daoguangs he was assigned by its successor Xianfeng 1850 the fight of the Taiping rebellion. Lin should not be able to fulfill this mission any longer, it died on the way after Guangxi in the proximity of the thistle mountains.


  • tungsten Eberhardt, history of China, Stuttgart 1971
  • Jacques Gernet, the Chinese world, Frankfurt 1997, ISBN 3-518-38005-2
  • Jonathan D. Spence, of China way into the modern trend, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-446-16284-4

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