China’s Boycotts of Western Brands Aren’t Very Effective

A woman walks past a Nike store in Beijing, March 25, 2021 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).
A woman walks past a Nike store in Beijing, March 25, 2021 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).
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China has a long history of wielding its immense market power as a tool of economic coercion. During the first half of the 20th century, it fought back against colonial powers by organizing boycotts of goods from the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan. Nearly a century later, China is again using the boycott as a weapon against what it views as unwanted outside interference—in this case, criticism from foreign officials and businesses over allegations of human rights abuses against ethnic minorities in China’s Xinjiang region. Yet despite its $14 trillion economy—the world’s second-largest—the threat of a Chinese boycott […]

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