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

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

CHAPTER VII
A BOYCOTT OVER THE SHANTUNG QUESTION 1919-21

THE BEGINNING OF THE BOYCOTT AND THE STUDENT STRIKE

The anti-Japanese boycott, which was waged intermittently from May of 1919 through 1920 and 1921, has several characteristics which distinguish it from previous boycotts. In the first place, it was a movement which was initiated by students and which depended chiefly upon students for its perpetuation. Earlier boycotts, although supported by student organizations, had been backed in the main by Chambers of Commerce and similar organizations In the second place, it received much more effective support from consumers, due to extensive propaganda by student organizations, than had the previous anti-Japanese movements.1 A third feature was the association of this boycott with a general popular movement which had as its chief aim the removal from the Chinese government of certain "corrupt" officials. It was called by one writer a "moral awakening" and he pictured a combination of all classes for the purpose of purging the government.2 During the earlier phases of the movement the students were more interested in a reform of the Peking government than in actively supporting the boycott, but it seems unquestionable that their attention was later concentrated upon making the boycott effective. Another characteristic was the great enthusiasm and the emotional fervor with which the movement was undertaken. The newspaper accounts of the time carried the information that two students drowned themselves in a patriotic endeavor to awaken public opinion,3 and that a student in Tientsin tried to kill himself by knocking his head against the stone pillars of the Chamber of Commerce building in that city because of the apathy with which the mer

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