SINGAPORE (Jan 21): In the lead-up to the Opium Wars, the main British opium merchants, including Jardine Matheson, orchestrated a letter-writing campaign to the The Times. These carefully crafted letters made many false assertions and were designed to create both anti-Chinese sentiment and to prepare the ground for military action. This campaign was the 1839 equivalent of the Twitter tirades we see today and the carefully planted media stories from anonymous sources.

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