Lin Zexu Memorial Museum
One of the less famous but just as important museums of Macau is the Lin Zexu Memorial Museum. The memorial museum is located at the foot of the Mong Ha Hill, more specifically, the northern part of Macau which is near the border or Portas do Cerco.
It is inside another Macau attraction, the Lin Fong Temple, an excellent example of the traditional and eclectic Chinese architecture.
Lin Zexu Memorial Museum
Lin Zexu, obviously the person to whom the Lin Zexu Memorial Museum is dedicated to, was a Chinese scholar and official during the Qing Dynasty.
He is very well-known for his active and loud fights against opium smuggling, especially in Guangzhou, which was usually considered to be the primary catalyst for the First Opium War.
Instruments used for Opium Smoking
The contribution of Lin Zexu in the fights against opium smuggling was one of the most important in the history of China. He was a formidable bureaucrat who was known for his thoroughness and integrity.
Lin Zexu was sent to Guangdong to halt the importation of opium by the British prior to the First Opium War which happened in 1838.
Replica of the Opium Cargo Boats
He was able to track down and confiscate 20,000 chests of opium that was already ready for shipping at the port and he himself supervised the devastation of the opium.
In addition, he later blockaded the port from European ships.
The Imperial Commissioner Lin Zexu in Macau 1839
To commemorate Lin Zexu and his efforts towards the struggle against drug use, the Republic of China in Taiwan celebrates Anti-Smoking Day on June 3, which is the same day when Lin Zexu confiscated the crates of opium from the harbor.
In Manhattan's Chatham Square, in Chinatown, there is a statue of Lin Zexu, also to honor the sacrifices and struggles of Lin Zexu against drug abuse.
The Lin Zexu Memorial Museum was built to commemorate the works of Lin Zexu and to make the people aware of his actions.
More specifically, the Lin Zexu Memorial Museum was built to honor the visit of the imperial commissioner Lin Zexu to Macau in 1839, during the reign of Emperor Dao Guang.
Lin Zexu visited Macau to ensure both the prohibition of the opium trade in the Territory administered by the Portuguese authorities and the Portuguese neutrality in the differences that opposed Great Britain to China and which would lead to the Opium War.
This war would result in the opening of a number of Chinese ports to the international commerce and to the cession of the Hong Kong Island to the British.
The museum contains mostly documents and photographs that bear witness to the highly intense period in the history of Modern China.
Official Chinese Documents
A friendly reminder though: a trip to the Lin Zexu Memorial Museum wouldn't be worthwhile if the visitor knows nothing about Lin Zexu and his actions.
Be sure to make yourself knowledgeable about him and why he is commemorated before paying 5 Macau dollars for the Lin Zexu Memorial Museum.
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