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Anti-Japanese boycotts, early 20th century

J. Megan Greene

Subject History
Social Movements » Collective Behaviour

Place Eastern Asia » China

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics borders, conquest, imperialism, revolution

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.00095.x


In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries China was subjected to a series of humiliations perpetrated by western and Japanese imperialist nations. China lost wars against British, French, international, and Japanese armies, and as a consequence was compelled to open its markets to foreign products, transform its approach to diplomacy, pay large indemnities, and cede control of numerous territories to foreign powers. Beginning in 1905, Chinese citizens increasingly responded to these humiliations with boycotts of foreign-made goods. Although the first such boycott was in response to United States exclusion laws that severely limited the number of Chinese that could enter the United States, most of the boycotts that followed over the next four decades were aimed at the Japanese. These boycotts were acts of protest against imperialist encroachment, but at the same time they served to mobilize nationalism among Chinese consumers of all social backgrounds. Ever since the eighteenth century, when European and American traders were severely restricted by the Chinese imperial court in the manner in which they could conduct business in China, trade had been a point of contention between China and the West. In the nineteenth century, western powers gradually turned what had been an unfavorable trading relationship to their own advantage, first by developing an illicit opium trade, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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