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

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

CHAPTER XV
A GENERAL VIEW OF CHINESE BOYCOTTS

Nine Chinese boycotts or periods of boycotting have been dealt with in the preceding chapters. Attention has been confined to boycotts upon a sufficiently large scale to be called national. The series goes back to an anti-American boycott in 1905 and ends with the latest boycott still in progress. The boycotts have been considered one at a time. We are now concerned with the generalizations that appear when the entire series is brought under view at the same time.

Over the whole period of about thirty years Chinese boycotts have become more numerous, more extensive in the territory covered, and more general in their appeal to the various classes in the Chinese community. These developments have made them more effective, and economic effectiveness is the first condition of success in boycotting.

It is impossible to state the number of times that boycotting has been resorted to by the Chinese since 1905. It is an interesting fact, however, that if we divide the whole period at the beginning of the year 1919 we have an earlier period during which there were four--or, at the most, five--boycotts, and a later period during which no more than three years--1922, 1924, and 1930--have been free of boycotting. This fairly continuous boycotting since the end of the World War suggests the possibility of finding in the trade statistics more general effects of boycotting than appear in the studies of the individual boycotts.

The most sweeping interpretation of Chinese boycotts lies behind the statement in the documents submitted by the Japanese government to the Lytton Commission that continued boycotting may well "make the economic activities of all foreign nations in China very difficult, if not impossible to carry on." This interpretation is put in terms of fear for the future but, if it is justified, there ought to be some evi-

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