Life in China 2016: A Picture A Day, December 31 – Today, we visited the Humen Opium War Museum and the Sea Battles Museum. There’s a lot to this story in history, but very briefly (and over simplified!) , although originally opium was used as medicine, it gradually grew to be used recreationally. British and American companies started trading it in large amounts, but many Chinese learned how dangerous opium really was, and saw how it destroyed the lives of those who used it. In June of 1839, a Chinese man named Lin Zexu led the destruction of over 2.5 million pounds of British and American opium! This happened in Humen, a town about a 45 minute drive from us. This event triggered the Opium Wars which followed. The pictures, starting with the large one and going clockwise, show: A painting of the destruction of opium in Humen in June 1939, an elaborately carved opium pipe, an opium smoking tool (with Chinese lions), canons, Lin Zexu, and some who fought in the Opium Wars.