HC Deb 03 February 1908 vol 183 c518

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, whether he is aware that, in accordance with the Chinese opium edict, all opium dens in the Native city of Shanghai, to the number of 700, have been closed, and that no steps have been taken to close 1,600 opium dens in the international settlement which is under the control of the Shanghai Municipal Council; and whether His Majesty's Government will adopt measures to ensure that the anti-opium campaign in China is not discouraged and thwarted by the reluctance of the municipal council to co-operate with the Chinese authorities.


The facts as regards the closing of the opium saloons in the Native city at Shanghai and their retention in the International Settlement are as stated in the Question. The Municipal Council are responsible to the ratepayers of the Settlement, and are not under the control of His Majesty's Government. The Council have decided not to issue any further licenses, but it is understood that they do not consider they would be justified in doing more pending reference to the ratepayers at their annual meeting, which takes place in March next. His Majesty's Government will use all the influence in their power to ensure that bona fide efforts on the part of the Chinese authorities to diminish the opium habit in China are not thwarted but encouraged.