Chinese boycotts of Japanese products
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Boycotts of Japanese products have been conducted by numerous Chinese civilian and governmental organisations, always in response to real or perceived Japanese aggression, whether military, political or economic.
The first boycott of Japanese products in China was started 1915 as a result of public indignation at the Twenty-One Demands which Japan forced China to accept. In 1919, the students and intellectuals involved in the May Fourth Movement called for another boycott of Japanese products, to which the public responded enthusiastically. Local chambers of commerce decided to sever economic ties with Japan, workers refused to work in Japanese-funded factories, consumers refused to buy Japanese goods, and students mobilised to punish those found selling, buying or using Japanese products.
These boycotts also affected Japan's anti-prostitution policy. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Japanese prostitutes, often called karayuki-san, went to various destinations in China and in other Asian countries with large Overseas Chinese communities. The boycotts caused the collapse of many Japanese businesses in Southeast Asia; the Japanese government took a variety of measures to ameliorate the situation, including quiet promotion of prostitution. However, after the crisis passed, the Japanese government resumed its earlier efforts towards suppressing overseas migration of prostitutes.
The Jinan Incident of 1928 prompted a new boycott, this time the KMT government mobilised the population to cease economic dealings with Japan. From then on, anti-Japanese protests in China would always be accompanied with boycotts of Japanese products.
After World War II, the Chinese community, upset over various issues such as the sovereignty of Senkaku Islands, the Japanese history textbook controversies and Japanese leaders' visits to Yasukuni Shrine, would launch boycotts of Japanese products. Republic of China citizens started a boycott in September 1972 to protest Japan's diplomatic recognition of the People's Republic of China, and twice burned Japanese products in front of the Taipei City Hall, coincidentally of Japanese construction.
In 2005 a new wave of boycotts were started in mainland China, concurrent with the anti-Japanese demonstrations in major Chinese cities at the time. However, this boycott was at best a fringe attempt, and was denounced by the mainstream population, citing that China was integrated into the world economy and a boycott of one of China's biggest trading partners would cause as much harm to China as it would to Japan. Most people were more concerned over their standards of living than redressing old grievances. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Relations gave a similar view: That "Sino-Japanese economic cooperation developed significantly over the past decade and brought real benefits to the people of both nations. We do not wish for economic issues to be politicised." As with the anti-Japanese demonstrations, these activists began organising boycotts using the internet and mobile phones.
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- James Francis Warren (2003). Ah Ku and Karayuki-san: Prostitution in Singapore, 1870-1940. Singapore Series, Singapore: studies in society & history (illustrated ed.). NUS Press. p. 86. ISBN 9971692678.
- Tomoko Yamazaki; Karen F. Colligan-Taylor (2015). Sandakan Brothel No.8: Journey Into the History of Lower-class Japanese Women. Translated by Karen F. Colligan-Taylor. Routledge. p. 191. ISBN 1317460251.