The then Commissioner Lin took a stern view and used repressive methods to curb the smuggling trade in opium. The British traders being tired of it pressed their government to adopt the policy of war in order to teach a lesson to the Chinese.
The loss of the wooden boxes which were thrown in the river was becoming intolerable to the British traders and they screamed for war. Hence the war seemed to be inevitable.
At the same time on 7th July 1839 a Chinese sailor was murdered in the conflict between the Chinese and British traders.
According to the law of China, Lin, the Commissioner of China demanded that the culprits be handed over to China so that they might be punished but the British Trade Superintendent Illiot rejected it altogether because he was of the opinion that it was not possible to search out the real culprit among the conflicting mob.
The Chinese began to keep a close eye on the trade centre of Britain. In the meantime some drunken British sailors killed a Chinese sailor. In order to find out the culprit the government of China disrupted the food supplies to British traders.
Hence they took shelter in Macao in place of Canton. The Chinese government declared the entry of British people in Macao illegal, so they were forced to take shelter in Hong Kong.
The British government in order to please the China Government filed a criminal case against the culprits and pronounced punishment on them but it did not satisfy the China government.
On the other hand, the English people were pressurizing their Government hard for ensuring the safety and honour of their compatriots living in China. Therefore, the relations between the two countries were becoming strained day in and day out.
As a result thereof, on 3rd November 1839, two British fleets compelled the Chinese ships to sail away.
On this the people of China broke off their trade relations with Britain and an atmosphere of war began to build up between the two countries, i.e., China and England. This war is also known as the first opium war in history.