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

By C. F. Remer; William B. Palmer | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
CHINESE BOYCOTTS ON A NATIONAL SCALE

Chinese boycotting directed against the goods of a foreign country and carried out on any considerable scale begins with an anti-American boycott in 1905. The attempt is made by various writers to go back to an earlier period. This usually means to the period before 1842. In view of the restrictions which surrounded the trade of China before that date, it seems best not to use the term boycotting. There was, on the one hand, a small group of Chinese merchants who had a monopoly of the trade on the Chinese side and were under the fairly strict control of the local officials of the Chinese government. On the other hand, there was a small group of foreign merchants and, on the foreign side, there was the monopoly of the British East India Company. Under these circumstances threats to stop trade or prohibitions of trade were different from the extensive boycotts of later years. In 1808, for example, the British landed troops and took possession of Macao, a city which the Portuguese held under a lease from the Chinese government. In his attempts to secure the removal of these British troops, the Viceroy of Canton forbade trade with the British. In 1834 the Chinese officials prohibited trade with the British in order to secure the withdrawal of Lord Napier from Canton to Macao.1 Such cases may be disregarded in any account of Chinese boycotting of a modern sort.

During the period of increasing freedom of trade with China, from 1842 to the date of the anti-American boycott, there seem to have been occasional local boycotts against the merchants of particular countries. A number of these have been referred to in the preceding chapter. It may be safely assumed that there were none on a sufficiently large scale to require special study.

A fairly complete list of recent Chinese boycotts against other countries includes the following:

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