Here's how you can go about starting your own boycott campaign
The most important thing is for everyone to first make his or her personal commitment. Only from individual commitments can the larger structure of the campaign take shape. This is a campaign where the most important component is the individual consumer, not the organization.
Please sign the Pledge form on this website and send it back to us. We will not list your name or address on this website or anywhere else.
Since many stores now overwhelmingly carry Made in China (MIC) goods, you will certainly face problems in finding items like shoes or toys that are not MIC. Do talk to the store clerk or manager. Don’t hesitate to let them know that you do not want to buy MIC products and that you would appreciate it if they would stock non-MIC items. You could also consider registering a complaint. It is important to adopt a non-hostile tone, as we want the cooperation of the storeowner or staff. We should bear in mind that although many stores carry MIC products near exclusively, constant complaints and repeated requests for goods made in other countries will have an impact. We should also remember that the storeowner, manager or members of the staff do not have any inherent loyalty to China.
Please send accounts of your experiences, especially new ideas and tips you may have for making the campaign more successful. We will carry them on the Discussion Forum for others to read and respond. Also, check out the Alternative shopping list on this site.
At the conclusion of every shopping expedition make a list of MIC items that you did not buy and write down the amount and date of non-purchase. Other details of items are not necessary unless it is a special item which you may want to note. Send or e-mail us the list at the end of a month, three months or at your convenience. We are planning a "counter" where we could keep an ongoing total of dollars the boycott has deprived China.
The leaflet is a simple, effective and timeless method of disseminating political or commercial information. It requires neither much funding nor technology for its implementation. Leafleting is a powerful political act that can be performed by anyone: the strong, weak, intelligent, simple, old, young, healthy, or even someone in a wheelchair.
Since the leaflet also obviates the need for explaining or arguing with those you are seeking to inform, this method is ideal for many older Tibetans who want to be involved in some action for Tibet, but who feel inhibited by their inability to speak English. Leafleting can also be done throughout the year, and in most places where there is some human traffic.
We have designed a small leaflet, four copies of which can be printed on one sheet of letter paper. One side of the leaflet provides basic information on Chinese crimes in Tibet and information on joining the BOYCOTT MADE IN CHINA Campaign. There is also enough space provided for participating organisations to display their logos and address. The other side provides a comprehensive list of China’s human rights abuses.
Use this powerful tool. Print a few hundred copies every week and make it a habit to hand it out wherever you go, especially at shopping malls. Please hand leaflets individually to people and don’t throw handfuls of them around, and make a mess. To differentiate your effort from those of the usual commercial leafleters, you could perhaps look the person in the eye as you hand him a leaflet and simply say: "Please, read it."
If people require more information you could pass on to them a copy of the brochure (see Downloads).
Sooner or later you are going to face someone who’s going to tell you that what you are doing is wrong, and that the boycott is only going to make life more difficult for the suffering people of China and Tibet. Don’t let this rattle you. Every boycott activist, from Mahatma Gandhi to Aung San Suu Kyi has had to put up with such specious allegations. The African National Congress was accused by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher of harming the welfare of the black population of South Africa by demanding international sanctions against that country.
It really doesn’t take a genius to see that in most cases such outcry on behalf of the suffering, does not spring from genuine concern but rather because the accuser has, directly or indirectly, a vested interest in protecting trade with the country being boycotted. Yet it is important that such imputations be answered calmly and rationally. Do read the sections RATIONALE and QUESTIONS & ANSWERS on this site for more information. Also, see our REFERENCE MATERIALS.
Shrill accusations of "China bashing" by people of East Asian origins can be disconcerting but it is important not to become apologetic. Prepare yourself for such an eventuality by reading the section on "China bashing" in the Questions & Answers section.
Forming a group & spreading the word
Probably the first boycott group you might consider organising could be your own family. Explain to everyone why they need to join and get them involved. You could also form your own group or present the proposal to an existing club, citizen group, school, or church (temple, synagogue, mosque, etc.) that you belong to. Such local groups could create a newsletter or just an occasional bulletin to inform people which stores or outlets stock non-MIC goods, or provide information on alternative brands. Such groups could also be a good forum to initiate complaints to companies like Sony, demanding that Sony products not be MIC.
Please also consider spreading the BOYCOTT Made in China message to groups and individuals outside your normal sphere of social interaction. This campaign raises issues that touch on the most fundamental beliefs of people from the most diverse communal, ethnic, religious, political and economic backgrounds.
Special boycott days
The organisers of this campaign have considered that May 1st or Labor Day would make an appropriate Boycott Made in China Day. Boycott groups could join Labor Day parades with appropriate placards and banners and also distribute literature to marchers and participants. One could, on this occasion not only show solidarity with local workers, but also express support for working people in Tibet and China who are being exploited and suppressed.
The few weeks leading up to Christmas would also be a good period for promoting our campaign. For instance, most toys sold in the U.S., Canada and Western Europe are Made in China. Groups could picket such stores as Toys ’R Us, and distribute leaflets asking people if they would buy Christmas gifts for their children that were made in forced labor camps or by the Chinese military/industrial complex.
Christmas would be a good time to bring to public notice the persecution of Christians in China. Also, to jailed bishops and priests. It would also not be inappropriate to highlight the plight of the world’s youngest political prisoner, the little Panchen Lama, and the hundreds of starving, frostbitten Tibetan children fleeing across the high Himalayas to freedom every year.
One could even use street theatre to highlight the campaign. One idea for a skit: The MIC that Stole Christmas. The story of how the North Pole was "liberated " by the People’s Liberation Army, which turned Santa’s workshop into a people’s commune; and how Santa and the Elves are now undergoing "Reform Through Labor." The concluding lines of the narrator: "No children, Santa is not dead, he is merely doing time in the frozen wastes of Manchuria for ‘counter-revolutionary’ activities. That is also why, children, all your toys now have this label on them: Made in China."