Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, With the Annual Message of the President Transmitted to Congress December 8, 1908
File No. 774/239–240.
Minister Rockhill to the Secretary of State.
Peking, June 8, 1908.
Sir: Referring to my No. 900 of April 8, 1908, I have the honor to inclose herewith additional regulations for the suppression of the cultivation and consumption in the Chinese empire, approved by the Throne on May 25 last.
I have, etc.,
Regulations for opium suppression.
Submitted to the Throne for approval by the boards of home affairs and finance. Imperial rescript, “Let it be done as recommended.” Received May 23, 1908.
i.—restriction of the amount of opium raised.
1. The provincial authorities shall issue instructions to the local officials accurately to ascertain the acreage given over to opium cultivation within the territory under their jurisdiction, also the names of the cultivators and the amount produced, which information must be embodied in a tabulated statement and transmitted through the provincial authorities to the boards of finance and home affairs for examination and retention.
2. That period of 10 years at the end of which opium shall be prescribed shall be held to begin with the thirty-sixth year of Kwang-hsü (1906). The Provinces shall in this matter of diminishing the amount of opium produced observe the regulations drawn up by the Government council and approved by the Throne. In addition to strictly forbidding such land as has not heretofore been under opium cultivation to be used for that purpose hereafter, it is also ordered that all land producing opium in the thirty-fourth year of Kwang-hsü shall annually be reduced in acreage by one-eighth of the area reported that year. With the forty-first year of Kwang-hsü (1915) the raising of opium shall cease absolutely. Moreover, when land previously devoted to the growing of opium is put under other cultivation particular report of the change shall be made to the boards.
3. The provincial authorities shall make out certificates which shall be distributed through the local officials to all growers of opium, each certificate containing a statement of the area of the holders’ land devoted to the raising of opium. Every year an amended copy shall replace the one of the year before, [Page 90] and anyone found growing opium without one of these certificates shall be strictly enjoined therefrom. At the time of issuing the certificates a tax of 15 cash shall be collected on each mu represented, but no other tax shall be levied.
4. After the placing of the single tax on domestic opium the Provinces of Anhui, Honan, and Shansi set up public associations (or monopolies) acting under permits from the local authorities and the branches of the bureau of native opium taxation. The above permits were issued free of charge. Upon these monopolies devolved the responsibility of guaranteeing the payment of the tax on domestic opium. The opium growers disposed of their product through the monopolies and the dealers bought their supply from the same agencies. All opium not passing through the monopolies was regarded as illicit. All purchases of opium, therefore, had to be made at these offices and could not be arranged at will in those localities where it was grown. Account of all sales and purchases was kept and forwarded at intervals to the tax-collecting offices. As the opium was sold, the tax was paid, strict Government supervision being at all times maintained. In the future each Province shall establish similar monopolies which shall keep careful record of their transactions in opium in books provided for the purpose by the bureau of native opium taxation. Daily record shall be kept not only of all sales and purchases, but also of the names of the sellers and buyers. These reports shall be tabulated and at the end of each year sent to the controller general of native opium taxation. That official shall annually draw up and send to the boards a statement showing the diminution in the business transacted by the said monopolies in comparison with the year before Ssu-ch’uan, Yunnan, Kweichou, the New Dominion, and Manchuria are not under the direction of the controller general of native opium taxation, and it shall be the duty of their viceroys and governors to conform to these regulations in the same manner prescribed for the other Provinces.
Dealers in opium shall obtain permits from the branches of the bureau of native opium taxation and from the local officials and shall present them when making purchases at the monopoly offices. There shall be no charge made for these permits. No one without a permit shall purchase opium from either of the monopolies or of the growers. Transgressors of this regulation shall be punished.
iii.—dealers in opium.
5. Each Province shall instruct all its local officials to make a careful list of opium-dealing firms, ascertaining their number, their firm names, their location, capitalization, and the names of the proprietors. This information shall be tabulated and sent to the provincial viceroy or governor, who shall, in turn, transmit it to the boards for examination. No more firms dealing in opium may be established.
6. Each Province shall issue permits to deal in opium and these permits shall be given through the local officials to all those firms now engaged in this line of commerce. New permits shall be issued annually and no concern not thus licensed shall be permitted to transact business.
At the time of issuing these permits the firms shall be assigned to one of the three grades, according to the amount of their capital. A capital of $10,0000 or more will place a firm in the first class and make it liable to the payment of a yearly license fee of $6. A capital of over $5,000 but under $10,000 will place a firm in the second class and make it liable to an annual fee of $4, while a capital of less than $5,000 places a firm in the third class and makes it liable to an annual registration fee of $2. There shall no more minute distinctions be made.
7. Monthly account of sales made shall be rendered to the yamens concerned by each firm dealing in opium. These accounts must be accurate and no sales may be made to any person not the holder of a permit. The yamens concerned must collect these accounts and transmit them through the provincial viceroy or governor to the boards for examination.
8. Every firm dealing in opium shall also engage in some other line of business, effecting a gradual transition, so that the entire change may be accomplished in the time set.[Page 91]
9. The opium-smoking resorts throughout the Empire were, by the regulations drawn up by the government council and sanctioned by the Throne in the thirty-second year of Kwang-hsü (1906), given a period of six months within which to close their doors. At the time set the doors of all such resorts were to be closed. These regulations were promulgated in all the Provinces and this is all matter of record. If any tea shops, wine shops, or brothels, are also running opium-smoking establishments they must be dealt with in the same way and enjoined from doing so. Failure to cease conducting such a business must be severely punished.
10. In the thirty-second year of Kwang-hsü (1906) the government council drew up regulations which received Imperial sanction, forbidding, after the termination of a period of six months, all dealings in opium-smoking apparatus. This date is now long past and it is the duty of all provincial viceroys and governors to instruct the local officials of the Province to ascertain by thorough investigation, whether those firms formerly dealing in such goods have or have not ceased to do so. If any have not they shall be immediately forced to and adequate punishment shall be meted out to them.
vi. opium takers.
11. Each Province shall instruct the local officials therein to prepare lists of all the users of opium in their respective districts, giving their names, residence, and age, and these lists shall be sent at the end of each year to the boards for examination.
12. Each Province shall issue permits through the local officials to all users of opium, which permits shall be renewed each year. No one not the possessor of a permit shall be allowed to buy opium. When the opium taker applies for his permit he shall state what quantity he uses daily. This shall be written on his permit and he shall not thereafter buy on any one day any more than the amoimt named, although he may buy less at will. At the time set he must discontinue the use of opium altogether.
vii. suppression of the use of opium.
13. Each Province must establish bureaus for the suppression of the use of opium. These bureaus shall prepare medicines after prescriptions procured by the board of home affairs and send them to the medicine shops and charitable institutions with orders that they be sold at cost. Destitute people shall be provided with medicines free of charge. If any physician of repute devises a prescription not included in those prepared by the board, he shall forward it through the viceroy or governor to the board of home affairs for examination.
14. Each local official shall instruct upright men in his jurisdiction to establish opium cures and publish broadcast a paper containing directions as to the curing of this habit. This paper must be published in colloquial language and must not contain any discussion relative to present-day governmental matters.
15. Local officials must make a careful inspection of the medicine shops and of those shops selling opium cures, and if shops of either of these classes are selling cures containing morphia or similar drugs, or if they are secretly selling morphia, they must immediately be stopped.
16. If the local officials are faithful in sending in the reports called for in these regulations it will be permissible for the viceroy or governor to report them to the board (of civil office) for suitable reward.
17. If the local officials are faithful in enforcing at the time mentioned the prohibitory clauses contained in these regulations it shall be permissible for the viceroy or governor to mention them to the board (of civil office) for suitable reward.
18. If any local official shall within one year diminish by one-third the acreage given over to poppy cultivation in his jurisdiction, and also the amount of opium sold in the shops and the amount consumed, and this diminution shall [Page 92] be clearly established, it shall be permissible for the viceroy or governor to report him to the board (of civil office) for especial reward.
19. If any local official shall fail to send in the reports called for in these regulations, his case shall be taken under consideration by the board (of civil office) and his guilt determined; if the reports sent in are discovered to be false, he shall be judged by the board with great severity.
20. If any local official shall fail to put in force at the time designated those prohibitory clauses contained in these regulations, his case shall be judged by the board (of civil office); if, having failed to put these prohibitions into effect, he nevertheless claims to have done so, his delinquencies shall be most sternly scrutinized by the board. If the official superiors of the guilty party have knowingly failed to report these lapses, they shall be dealt with in the same fashion.
21. If any local official shall in the course of one year fail to reduce by an eighth the acreage devoted to poppy cultivation, the amount of the opium sold, and the amount consumed, within his jurisdiction, his case shall go before the board (of civil office) for stern judgment.
22. These regulations shall be put into force coordinately with those drawn up by the government council and approved by the Throne. If other and more specific regulations are needed, the viceroy or governor of the Province concerned may draw them up and submit them to the Throne for approval.
23. The receipt of the fees demanded by these regulations in connection with opium cultivation, buying, or selling shall be reported periodically to the boards, that these funds may be the more available for use in the suppression of the use of opium. No fees in addition to those mentioned herein and authorized by the Throne may be required of anyone. Any increase in the fees must be recommended to the Throne by the boards of finance and of home affairs acting jointly.