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Lin Zexu

Lin Zexu (August 30, 1785 - November 22, 1850) was an official loyal to the Daoguang Emperor of China, most famous for his active fight against foreign-imported opium during the Qing dynasty.

Lin was born in Fuzhou, in the Fujian Provinces of China|province. A formidable diplomat, Lin was sent to Guangdong to halt the importation of opium by the British_Empire|British prior to the First Opium War (1838). He began by confiscating 20,000 carts of opium already at the port, and later blockaded the port from European ships. Lin wrote a letter to George III of the United Kingdom|King George III of Britain in order to explain his actions, because he expected the official report to George would not accurately express his reasons.

However, the British were not impressed with the letter and, by 1840, they had attacked the Chinese and severely weakened the Qing Dynasty|Qing government. This would lead to the Taiping Rebellion which claimed the lives of over 20 million people.

June 3, the day when Lin confiscated and burned the crates of opium, is celebrated as Anti-Smoking Day in the Republic of China in Taiwan.

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