By The Economist at 12:27 PM 5/31/2020 (PDT)
In the first hour of the JCC’s penultimate session, the Chinese seem to be gaining the upper hand. While the British grapple with figuring out how to deal with protests in Ireland and a rebellion in India, the Chinese have drafted and presented a treaty to the British that aims to end the trade blockade. In the treaty, Britain would have to agree to cease all importation of opium into China, and return Hong Kong to the Chinese. In return, the Chinese will open up a second port to the Chinese, and reopen trade with the British in items other than silver.
China seems confident that they will be the victor. Bringing up offers of trade from other European countries, the Leader of the Canton Cohort told the British that “we do not need this treaty, you do.” The Viceroy of Lianguang, called the proposed treaty “an olive branch strapped to a time bomb,” and announced that the citizens of the Lianguang Province have recently overcome their addiction to opium. The British, however, are refusing to yield, instead deciding to deal with each problem
individually while they brainstorm solutions for how to end the blockade without losing their opium trade. While China’s proposed treaty grants two concessions: a reopening of trade and a port granted to British merchants, the loss of the opium trade is non-negotiable to the British. The British believe that the Chinese made this treaty to avoid war, but they themselves are not wary of a fight. With one of the best militaries in the world, delegates in JCC bloc 2 are considering starting the war first with an attack on Canton.
As with many events in the JCC, it remains to be seen whether or not their planned attack on Canton will be the event that leads to their victory or their demise or if China’s time bomb is truly as powerful as they believe.
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