Asian Studies Program

Chinese Australia

Digital Documents Record

58 Chinese storekeepers in Darwin protest over accusations of opium trafficking, 1907

Full Document Caption:
Chinese storekeepers in Palmerston object to accusations of opium trafficking. They support controls on its usage. They also remind readers that it was the British who introduced opium to China in the first place and that it was their lobbying that resulted in the current anti-opium legislation in the Northern Territory.

Source: ‘Concerning opium’, Northern Territory Times and Gazette , 8/2/1907

Region: Date From: 1907 To: 1907
Northern Territory    

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SIR,- We have read "Anti-Drug's" letter in last week's "Times" on the above subject and cordially endorse everything there written calculated to cope with the opium evil. But we take strong exception to the inferences and statements of "Anti-Drug," to the effect that the Chinese Storekeepers generally, are still trafficking in the drug. This is absolutely false, and we challenge "Anti-Drug" to prove his assertions, so far as we are concerned, and we claim to be representative of the storekeeping community - It is true there are Chinese and others here who are willing to traffic where profits loom large, but these are a class outside the storekeeping community, and it is our desire, as it should be "Anti Drug's" to bring these to justice. And here we cannot refrain from asking - why "Anti-Drug" did not lay an [sic] information in the clear case which he cites of an aboriginal coming from an opium den with opium. Is "Anti Drug" waiting until a reward is offered, and thus desirous of scoring himself from the illicit traffic! If not, it may not yet be too late to secure a conviction, and we can only look with satisfaction on any efforts of bring [sic] offenders to justice.

As representatvies of the Chinese trading community we may here remind "Anti-Drug" that it was our community which first roused public sentiment here in this question, and we claim that the present legislation is the reuslt of our petition for such laws as would suppress the evil. We recognise that opium is a curse, even as our Emperor recognised it many years ago, when China sought to prevent its imporation, but was forced by the English Government to admit it. We will gladly act with "Anti-Drug" or any other reformer in endeavouring to end the curse. We are, etc.


We the undersigned hereby subscribe our signatures to the above letter:-
Cheong Wo, Ah Hoy, Yet Loong Yot Sing, Sun Hing Kee, Fong Cheong Loong, Sun Kwong Sing, Maa Fong L[?], Hop Wah Chong Kee, Wing Wah Loong, Chin Kim Kee, C[?] Yam Yan, Wing cheong Sing, Wing Sang Tong.