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Tibet: Boycott Made In China

phayul | 05.12.2003 10:03 | Culture | Globalisation | Social Struggles | World


Boycott Campaign Status Check

Source : WTN

By Jamyang Norbu


The Boycott Made in China Campaign is a loose worldwide coalition of Tibetan organizations, Tibet support groups, Chinese dissident groups, human rights and other activist and advocacy groups, and of course, many individuals of conscience. The campaign itself was launched on Saturday, December 7, 2002. The date was selected to honor Human Rights Day (December 10th). On that and subsequent days, rallies, protests, street-theatre, leafleting, runs, etc. were organized in various cities in the United States: New York City, Portland (Oregon), San Francisco (California), Bloomington (Indiana), Detroit and Grand Rapids (Michigan), Boston (Massachusetts), Denver (Colorado), Boulder (Colorado), Seattle (Washington), Santa Barbara (California), Splendid China (Florida) and Nevada City (California).

The Campaign was also launched with similar events in other countries: Toronto, Ont. (Canada), Victoria, B.C. (Canada), Dharamshala (India), Bodh Gaya (India), Warsaw (Poland), Nuremberg (Germany), Auckland (New Zealand), Paris (France), London (UK) and Glasgow (Scotland).

The latest Boycott event took place in the Philippines.

To date nearly a hundred organizations have endorsed the boycott campaign and individuals from all around the world have pledged not to buy any products manufactured in the People's Republic of China. The campaign now has active boycotters in Côte de Ivoire, West Bengal, Argentina, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, Spain, Ghana, Australia, the Czech Republic, Venezuela, Brazil, India, New Zealand, the Philippines, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Canada and the United States.

Worldwide Boycott Activities

Some recent actions and events undertaken by MIC boycotters around the globe:

In South Africa, Renato Palmi wrote a biting letter published by the local media chastising the government for distributing condoms manufactured in the PRC. Citing South African president Thabo Mbeki's remarks linking HIV/AIDS to unemployment and poverty, Renato wrote: "The new name of 'CHOICE' for the repackaged brand-named condoms distributed freely by SA's Department of Health represents a contradiction in terms. Few people realise that these condoms are produced in the People's Republic of China, a country whose own citizenry, and that of Tibet have no choice with regards to their fundamental human rights. It's time South Africans knew how many hundreds of our own people have lost their jobs due to our government's decision to import these condoms did they have any 'choice'? If our leaders claim that unemployment, poverty and the resultant limited access to good nutrition are all underlying factors in the spread of HIV/AIDS, then why import condoms? Why not give our own citizens the chance to work and earn enough to live a healthier life by giving them the choice to say 'No' to imported condoms and 'Yes' to South African manufactured condoms?"

Last month, Terry Sharksfleet organized a series of discussions and workshops on the boycott campaign in the Philippines. Boycotters there have been continuously hitting the streets handing out campaign flyers, holding film festivals, Free Tibet programs and other gigs. They were recently approved for the Global IndyMedia network (a group of grassroots media activists committed to promoting social justice) and given an official website.

Friends of Tibet India, the Tibetan Youth Congress, Delhi chapter, TWA and SFT, India have sustained a high-energy, high-profile campaign since the MIC boycott was first launched last December. Most recently, TYC members staged a peaceful protest condemning the presence of Chinese vendors at India's International Trade Fair. Nine TYC members were arrested and detained for distributing boycott pamphlets near the Chinese stall at the Fair. Friends of Tibet India, with Tenzin Tsundue at the helm, has managed to get over three-quarters of all shopkeepers in Dharamshala (over 150 stores) to stop selling MIC goods, and another 43 have pledged to do the same once their current inventory is sold. Boycotters in India are now moving into five Tibetan settlements to urge shopkeepers to take the Boycott MIC pledge. At the Kalachakra held in Bodh Gaya earlier this year, TWA did a massive boycott awareness campaign targeted both at Tibetan refugees and exiles, as well as those traveling from Tibet for the Initiation.

Adam Sanocki, of SFT- Poland (in partnership with several other human rights organizations) has organized a conference on December 13 at the Warsaw School of Economics entitled, "The Nations with No State: Chechnya, Tibet and Kurdistan". The conference will be devoted to the current political situations in these countries with emphasis on ways to recover their independence. A final conference statement will be sent to the President of Poland, his government, and the media regarding conclusions and recommendations for how to help these countries reclaim their independence. Boycott Central has been invited to participate in the conference.

On November 22, Don Hall of SFT - NYU did a major leaftletting gig at the "Tell Us the Truth" tour, handing out brochures and flyers to all the concert goers, chatting them up as they waited to get into the music hall in New York City. The tour was organized by Steve Earle, Billy Braggs, Lester Chambers and the Nightwatchman (Steve Morello) to help educate and activate citizens across the nation to challenge the corporate domination of public discourse, particularly on issues around free trade and media consolidation. The tour has received support from AFL-CIO, Citizens Trade Campaign, Common Cause, Free Press and the Future of Music Coalition.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the BuyHard campaign, a fellow boycott organization, has started a new Post-It Note campaign whereby boycotters have been putting small Post-It notes on Chinese goods in large stores in the UK, such as Woolworths and Toys'R'Us. The notes read: 'Please boycott Chinese products in protest at the brutal occupation of Tibet', or 'Free Tibet! Boycott Chinese goods.'

Brigham Young University in Utah held a Consumer Awareness conference organized by Billy Jackson of Relief Alliance on November 13, at which Boycott Central submitted one of the lead presentations. Both pro-free trade and pro-boycott camps were represented at the symposium. By the end of the day, most of the free-traders were changing sides and supporting the MIC Boycott!!

Non-MIC Business Ventures

Eric Schwartz owner of Commuter Bicycles in Santa Barbara, California (, at great risk to his business, has stopped stockpiling bikes made in China. In an article published in Bicycle Retailer & Industry News, with a distribution reach of some 30,000 individuals, Eric called on the entire bike industry in the U.S. to follow his lead, urging them to support the Boycott Made in China campaign.

Barbera Aimes owner of ImagiPlay in Longmont, Colorado ( carries an entire line of non-MIC building blocks for toddlers and young children that are all designed and manufactured in the U.S. The company distributes its products to retailers in Canada and the U.S. Curtis Jacobson, a retired Volvo engineer, founded Storyboard Toys! LLC ( that sells an educational toy and play space known as Arthouse, which Jacobson invented. All Arthouses are made in America by conscientious people committed to quality, safety, environmentalism and fair business practices.

Another non-MIC on-line store that has endorsed the campaign is US Made Toys run by Tim Cooke in Southbridge, Massachusetts (, which offers domestically manufactured wooden toys, board games, three-wheelers, arts and crafts and various other play items.

Phil Helmley, a long-time Tibet supporter and the lead singer of the Dharma Bums rock band, is also owner of Lung-ta Prayer Flag Company, a totally MIC-free store in Woodstock, New York ( that sells Tibetan handicrafts and Dharma items, as well as Boycott T-shirts, buttons, stickers, and also the only non-MIC umbrellas in North America.

Trade Union Endorsements

Leaders of the Italian Trade Unions CGIL, CISL and UIL met with His Holiness the Dalai Lama on his visit to Rome last week and spoke to him of their campaign to bring about labor reforms in China. Claudio Tecchio, a member of CISL and also of Campagna di Solidarietà con il Popolo Tibetano (a TSG in Torino), personally sent an endorsement to the MIC boycott. We are currently working on approaching trade unions in the U.S. to support our campaign.

Strike a blow for a Free Tibet, a Free China and a freer and fairer world economic order - Boycott Made In China Now!



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  1. Boycott Chinese products — Buyhard Bob