The Global Supply Chain and the Consumer Boycott of China: Impact of COVID-19

Exiled Tibetans hold placards during a protest march in support of the boycott of Chinese-made goods, in Dharmsala, India, on July 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)
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The Reader’s Turn

Most books on the supply chain and globalization take the consumer for granted and ignore the fact that at the end of every supply chain is the customer.

A new worldwide change in economics is occurring in response to the behaviour of the Chinese communist government in releasing and denying responsibility for the COVID-19 pandemic. It is reflected in small actions by multitudes of individuals, businesses that no longer order from China, and individuals who bypass stock in stores labelled “Made in China.”

The latest book on the supply chain, “The New (Ab)Normal: Reshaping Business and Supply Chain Strategy Beyond Covid-19” by Yossi Sheffi, published Oct. 1, while an excellent overview of the global supply chain and its e-commerce future, fails to discuss China’s buying up masks and personal protective equipment as they let the Wuhan virus outbreak spread (except as we’re told in China), their coopting the World Health Organization, their military control of the Wuhan lab from which COVID-19 may have originated, the fire at this lab that may have destroyed its records, their attempt to blame others for being the source of COVID-19, and the ongoing coverup of their role in making this a pandemic, nor boycotts of or by China.

Cooped up in their homes, waiting for a vaccine, individuals across the world are avoiding Chinese products, and businesses are leaving China—and not just because of intellectual property theft or that labour costs have been rising there. This boycott is rarely in the news or in the discussions in public by politicians, perhaps because the politicians have no control over it. You do. It is occurring at the level of the individual and small and large businesses. Anecdotally, I am aware of business owners refusing to buy from China, and others whose Chinese stock sits untouched.

This is a problem for the Chinese Communist Party and might lead to its downfall (“The Coming Collapse of China” by Gordon Cheng, and “China’s Crony Capitalism: The Dynamics of Regime Decay” by Minxin Pei), as happened with the USSR after the Chernobyl disaster. It is hard to be the manufacturing engine for the world, en route to world domination (“The Hundred-Year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower” by Michael Pillsbury), if no one will buy your stuff. Consider the advice of supply chain author Jeremy Haft in “All the Tea in China: How to Buy, Sell, and Make Money on the Mainland,” and “Unmade in China: The Hidden Truth about China’s Economic Miracle”:

  1. Buy nothing from China
  2. Sell anything to China

Haft’s books were written before the pandemic, concerned then mostly with the quality and toxicity of many Chinese products. But now we face a new phenomenon: revulsion. This revulsion has been accentuated by reports of poisoned dog food, slave labour, imprisoning of Uyghur Muslims and dissidents by the millions, plus Beijing’s behaviour with the virus.

This boycott may be what is waking up even corporate giants, some of whom are already moving their factories out of China. Whole countries, such as India, are boycotting China. Threats of boycotts by China of those that do not cooperate with them are either taken as bluffs or result in local production rather than imports from China.

Seventy-five percent of the world’s drugs are made in China, a situation that has become a major concern of governments, along with the question of 5G networking and confidentiality. It is time for an open discussion of the de facto boycott of China.

Dr. Richard Gordon

Alonsa, Manitoba

Dr. Gordon is a researcher at C.S. Mott Center for Human Growth and Development at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, and a volunteer at Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory in Panacea, Florida.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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