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

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

CHAPTER XIV
THE GREAT BOYCOTT: THE ECONOMIC EFFECTIVENESS OF THE 1931 BOYCOTT

The economic effectiveness of the boycott of 1931 is to be examined in the light of the account in an earlier chapter. The effectiveness of this boycott has been the subject of more frequent comment in newspapers, periodicals, and official reports than had been the case with the earlier boycotts. The discussion of this phase of the subject, however, has in general been inadequate, and the conclusions of the different observers have at times been conflicting. An illustration of this conflict is to be found in the documents submitted to the Lytton Commission by the Chinese and Japanese.

The Chinese document, in so far as it deals with the economic consequences of the boycott, tends to minimize them. After the briefest attention to the annual trade statistics, which are presented without analysis of any sort, we are told that "one can almost conclude that the effects of the boycott are psychological," and "that the Japanese suffer less from pecuniary losses than from the resentment of the Chinese nation which they feel to weigh upon them."1

The corresponding Japanese Document takes quite a different tone in dealing with economic effectiveness. "The most direct and telling blow," we are told, "has been struck upon trade." It is admitted, in this document, that trade has been affected by many factors, and that precise measurement of the effect of boycotting is impossible. Japanese statistics, showing trade by months and with the various parts of China, are presented. These statistics, we are told, "indicate roughly but conclusively the deadly effects of the movement upon trade."2

Elsewhere in the Japanese document the comment is usually in terms of the future. The Japanese are fearful lest their economic position in China be "completely undermined." The

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