§ MR. A. DEWAR (Edinburgh, S.)
I beg to ask the Secretary for Foreign Affairs whether in the event of the Chinese Government terminating the Convention of Cheefoo, the Treaty of Tien-tsin would then revive; whether under the Treaty of Tien-tsin China is compelled to accept as much opium as India desires to send, subject to an import duty of thirty taels per pecul; whether he is aware that the opium habit is widely prevalent in China and seriously demoralises the Chinese people, physically and morally; and whether he will intimate to the Chinese Government that they are now free to regulate the opium traffic, or to exclude opium from Chinese territory by high tariff or otherwise as to them shall seem right, and that irrespective of any existing convention or treaty?
THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Sir EDWARDGREY, Northumberland, Berwick)
The Answer to the first Question is in the affirmative. It is legal to import opium at the Treaty ports under Rule 5 of the rules of trade attached to the Treaty of Tientsin, subject to a duty of thirty taels per pecul. The third and fourth Questions raise large questions of opinion and controversy, which cannot be satisfactorily dealt with in the limits of a departmental answer, and which I would ask my hon. friend to defer till they can be dealt with on behalf of the Government in debate.