“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Chinatown, New York City in New York County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Lin Ze Xu

1785 -1850

Lin Ze Xu Marker image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, November 1, 2008
1. Lin Ze Xu Marker
Pioneer in the war against drugs.
[Marker includes an inscription in Chinese characters.]
Location. 40° 42.804′ N, 73° 59.889′ W. Marker is in Chinatown, New York City, New York, in New York County. Marker is at the intersection of Chatham Square/Bowery Street and St. James Place, on the right when traveling east on Chatham Square/Bowery Street. Touch for map. Marker is located in "Kimlau Square" which is at the west end of East Broadway. Marker is in this post office area: New York NY 10038, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Americans of Chinese Ancestry (a few steps from this marker); Alfred E. Smith House (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Black Horse Inn (approx. 0.2 miles away); Rhinelander Building (approx. 0.2 miles away); New York County Court House (approx. 0.2 miles away); First National Sunday School Convention (approx. 0.2 miles away); Foley Square (approx. 0.2 miles away); Foley Square Before 1600 (approx. 0.2 miles away).
Also see . . .
1. Lin Zexu. A formidable bureaucrat known for his competence and high moral standards, Lin was sent to Guangdong as imperial commissioner by the Daoguang Emperor
Lin Ze Xu Marker image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, November 1, 2008
2. Lin Ze Xu Marker
in late 1838 to halt the illegal importation of opium from the British. He arrived in March 1839 and made a huge impact on the opium trade within a matter of months. He arrested more than 1,700 Chinese opium dealers and confiscated over 70,000 opium pipes. He initially attempted to get foreign companies to forfeit their opium stores in exchange for tea, but this ultimately failed and Lin resorted to using force in the western merchants' enclave. It took Lin a month and a half before the merchants gave up nearly 1.2 million kilograms (2.6 million pounds) of opium. 500 workers laboured for 22 days in order to destroy all of it, mixing the opium with lime and salt and throwing it into the ocean outside of Humen Town. Finally, Lin pressured the Portuguese government of Macau to deport the British, resulting in their settlement of then still barren Hong Kong. ...

He was a patriot of ability who attained an international reputation as "Commissioner Lin." He was opposed to the opening of the country but felt the need of a better knowledge of foreigners, which drove him to collect much material for a geography of the world. He later gave this material to Wei Yuan, who published an Illustrated Treatise on the Maritime Kingdoms in 1844.

June 3, the day when Lin confiscated the crates of opium, is celebrated as Anti-Smoking Day in the Republic of China in Taiwan. Manhattan's Chatham Square, in Chinatown, contains a statue of Lin, commemorating his early struggle against drug use. Although he has in essence led the war against the debilitating drug with some initial success, with the arrest of 1,700 opium dealers and destruction of 2.6 million pounds of opium, he had been made the scapegoat for the actions leading to British retaliation, and ultimately failing to stem the tide of opium import and use in China. Nevertheless, Lin Zexu is popularly viewed as a hero of superlative conduct and national service, and whose likeness have been immortalized at various locations around the world. (Submitted on November 3, 2008, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.) 

2. Opium Wars. (Submitted on November 24, 2008, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
Additional keywords. China; Chinatown, New York City; Opium War, Kimlau Square.
Categories. HeroesLandmarksNotable Persons
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 3, 2008, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,063 times since then and 35 times this year. Last updated on June 21, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 3, 2008, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
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