A Study of Chinese Boycotts, with Special Reference to Their Economic Effectiveness

A Study of Chinese Boycotts, with Special Reference to Their Economic Effectiveness

A Study of Chinese Boycotts, with Special Reference to Their Economic Effectiveness

A Study of Chinese Boycotts, with Special Reference to Their Economic Effectiveness

Excerpt

The boycott--a mode of passive resistance to which the people of China have immemorially had recourse as a means of opposing action which they considered unjust on the part of their own authorities--has in various instances of recent years been employed by them against the trade of one or another foreign nation as a weapon by which to enforce from its government redress for what they deemed to be grievances.

As thus applied internationally, these Chinese boycotts have at least given at the time the appearance of great effectiveness, and have been dreaded accordingly by the foreign trading interests in China, and by their Governments. Yet doubts have arisen as to the actual economic effectiveness of this method. As recently as 1926, for example, during the course of the boycott against British trade, so experienced an administrator as the late Sir Francis Aglen, then Inspector-General of Chinese Maritime Customs, privately avowed a question in his own mind whether a boycott against the trade of any nation does accomplish, in the long run, any considerable diminution of that nation's trade. While conceding the very marked immediate reduction in the volume of trade done (particularly by the larger and more prominent firms), and its diversion from normal channels of distribution, he was nevertheless disposed to query whether these effects were not minimized by the transfer of a considerable portion of the trade to smaller and less conspicuous firms, by the re-marking and re-packing of goods in near-by territories, and by smuggling into the interior past the usual large distribution centres where the boycott was most active; and whether, in any case, such boycotting was not normally followed by a reaction tending very largely to make up the loss of trade.

The question whether such boycotts are indeed an effective weapon of retaliation, or merely a theatrical sword, is of interest not only as regards the particular problems of China's relationships with other states, but also as it might serve to . . .

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