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China commemorates anti-opium hero

2009-06-04 10:50 BJT

A new museum for the Chinese hero Lin Zexu, famed for his fight against opium, opened in his hometown in Fujian Province on Wednesday, the 170th anniversary of his burning opium at Humen Beach in 1839, the event which led to the first Opium War.

Students from Fuzhou visit the museum for Chinese anti-opium hero Lin Zexu on June 3, 2009, the 170th anniversary of Lin burning opium at Humen Beach in 1839, the event which led to the first Opium War. [Photo: CFP]
Students from Fuzhou visit the museum for Chinese anti-opium hero Lin Zexu 
on June 3, 2009, the 170th anniversary of Lin burning opium at Humen Beach
in 1839, the event which led to the first Opium War. [Photo: CFP]

The museum, which cost the Fuzhou municipal government 120 million yuan (about 18 million U.S. dollars), was enlarged from the previous 3,500 to 8,500 square meters to be China's largest museum for Lin Zexu (1785-1850), a Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) man who led the fight against opium smuggling.

Lin ordered the destruction of 1,000 tonnes of smuggled opium confiscated from foreign dealers at Humen Beach in south China's Guangdong Province on June 3, 1839. The destruction continued for 23 days. The day after the end of the campaign happens to be June 26, the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

The museum is at Lin's house in the famed ancient alleys called Three Lanes and Seven Alleys in Fuzhou, capital of Fujian.

The museum recounts how Lin fought against the invasion of Western countries, but also had an open attitude towards modern cultures, sciences and technologies from the Western countries.

More than 100 cultural items are exhibited in the museum, including Lin's official clothes, chops, memorials to the throne and calligraphy.