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

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

CHAPTER VI
THE TWENTY-ONE DEMANDS PRODUCE A BOYCOTT, 1915

THE HISTORY OF THE 1915 BOYCOTT

The Sino-Japanese difficulties leading to the boycott of 1915 may be traced back to the landing of Japanese troops in Shantung in the autumn of 1914. The occasion for the landing of these troops was the attack upon the German leased territory of Tsingtao, but the ensuing campaign brought forth severe criticism by the Chinese because of the presence of Japanese troops along the Shantung Railway and because of the alleged maltreatment of Chinese in Shantung by these troops.1 Toward the end of the year a further dispute arose over the control of the customs at Tsingtao after the city had been taken by the Japanese. However, there is little evidence to support the Japanese contention that the Chinese resorted to active boycotting during this period.2 They were suspicious of the Japanese position and they lodged several complaints with the Japanese government, but they did not enter into any organized campaign against Japanese goods.

It was not until January 26, 1915, that the first news was received concerning the presentation by Japan of certain demands upon China.3 These became known as the Twenty- one Demands. A great deal of mystery surrounded the actual content of these demands in the beginning and through the early phases of the negotiations which began in February and finally came to an end in May.4

On February 19 a " Citizen's Patriotic Society" was formed in Shanghai to resist the demands made by Japan but the newspaper account carried no mention of boycotting.5 A news-letter from Canton, dated February 26, indicates that cables from the Chinese merchants of San Francisco had been received in Canton advising an anti-Japanese boycott, but

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