Video: Opium burning, San Francisco, 1914

This 1914 video shows opium paraphernalia being burnt in what is now the Civic Center area. At the time the area had not yet been rebuilt following the ’06 earthquake (because voters would not pass bonds for funding the project because of the corruption of city leaders), but here you can see the new city hall under construction.

The burning was associated with anti-Chinese sentiment. But the opium habit had been acquired by the Chinese when it was forced on them by the English in the Opium Wars in the mid-nineteenth century.

 

 

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