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

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

CHAPTER VIII
A BOYCOTT WITHOUT AN "INCIDENT" AT ITS START

AN ACCOUNT OF THE BOYCOTT

The boycott of 1923 arose out of a revival of the controversy over the possession of the Liaotung Peninsula in March of that year. The occasion for this difficulty was the fact that the original Russian lease, which was granted in 1898, would have expired on March 28,1 had it not been for the signing of new treaties between Japan and China in 1915. These treaties resulted from the Twenty-one Demands, which, as we have seen, had led to the boycott of 1915. It was the contention of the Chinese that the Sino-Japanese agreement of 1915 had been signed under duress and that it was, therefore, not binding. In view of this fact a note was delivered to the Japanese government on March 10 announcing the abrogation of the treaty and asking for the return of Dairen and Port Arthur to China at the expiration of the lease. The refusal of Japan to accede to the Chinese proposals was the signal for anti-Japanese demonstrations in Shanghai and other parts of China.

On March 25 more than 50,000 students assembled in Nantao, Shanghai, to protest against Japan's decision not to return the leased territory. At this meeting a resolution was passed favoring a boycott of Japanese goods.2 Later in the week another large meeting was held, at which it was agreed that landlords should not rent their premises to Japanese, that newspapers should not accept Japanese advertisements, that all economic relations with Japan should be cut off, and that no Japanese bank notes should be used. The meeting was followed by a procession through the streets of Shanghai. The marchers distributed handbills urging a boycott against Japan.3

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