Awarded to all who took part in the war of 1841-42 which became known as the first opium war and ended with the siege of Nanking.
The medal, while originally suggested by Lord Ellenborough, Governor General of India, it was sanctioned by the British Government in 1843 as specified in a letter from the Secretary of State for War, Lord Stanley. The actions in the letter were detailed as;
Any of the operations in 1841
In the Canton River in the operations at Chusan in 1841 and 1842; At Amoy, at Ningpo, at Chinpae, at Tsekee, Chapoo, in the River Woosung, in the Yangtse Kiang and at the assault of Ching-Kiang Foo.