Is it Racist to Boycott “Made in China”?

Is it Racist to Boycott “Made in China”?

Let’s get one thing out of the way quickly. I’m a second-generation Chinese American. My mom came to the United States from Nanjing, China and my dad came from the northeast of China, near Harbin.

They both escaped China before the 1949 civil war, after which Mao closed the borders and proceeded to institute what is going on seven decades of totalitarian rule by the Chinese Communist Party, the party that brought you such hits as The Great Leap Forward (45 million Chinese citizens dead), The Cultural Revolution (the systematic mass murder, intimidation, and “re-education” of anyone in academia, religion or the arts that did not bow down to the Party), and the Tienanmen Square Massacre (bringing their horror to a new generation of citizens of China). Things like the systemic eradication of their Uighur population, their dumping of opioids in the US, the brutal way they snuffed out freedom of speech and freedom of the press in Hong Kong, and their release (accidental or otherwise) of a virus causing a worldwide pandemic are ensuring that their horrors are continuing well into the 21st century.

So when I say “No to China”, I’m talking specifically about The People’s Republic of China and the Communist Party of China that has had totalitarian rule over it for over 73 years. Not “the Republic of China”, and not “the Chinese people”.

What’s the difference between “No to China” and “No to the Chinese”?

There are over 40 million people around the world who have Chinese ancestry who do not live in mainland China. I’m one of them.

Of the 1.4 billion people who do live in China, the vast majority of them are good people who just want to live their lives. Like most people in America, most citizens of China want to get educated, get good jobs, raise families, and be able to afford a roof over their heads. Out of 1.4 billion people, only 95 million are card-carrying members of the Chinese Communist Party. The other 1.3 billion who aren’t members of the Chinese Communist Party simply understand one important rule. Lay low. You’re welcome to question the Party–but just don’t do it out loud and don’t do anything that will make the Party look bad. Anyone who does so will be silenced by force.

So no, I don’t have a problem with the Chinese people. And I don’t even have a problem with the country of China. It’s a beautiful country with natural landscapes and scenery that is among the top in the world. It’s a country of innovation that invented paper, the compass, gunpowder, and printing. And Chinese food. And pandas.

The Chinese Communist Party’s Inglorious Past

But I don’t admire the Chinese Communist Party (also known as the CCP or CPC). The Republic of China was formed in 1912 after the fall of the Qing Dynasty. But thanks to the Soviet Union’s visions of expansion in the 1920s, the CCP was formed during the 1920s.

From 1937 the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan fought a brutal war where the Japanese war machine decimated China’s fighting force and committed unspeakable atrocities against China’s people. In 1945, the United States ended that at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But instead of returning to peace, the CCP turned its guns on its brothers. In 1949, the government of the Republic of China was exiled to nearby Taiwan, and the People’s Republic of China was formed.

In 1958, the CCP instituted The Great Leap Forward, aimed at turning China from an agrarian society to a full-fledged communist society using Marxist principles. Through a series of incompetence, corruption, and utter foolishness from the central government, the result was the starvation deaths of between 30 million and 55 million Chinese citizens.

In 1966, the CCP launched the Cultural Revolution. They blamed the continued failure of their Marxist policies on those “capitalist and traditional elements” that remained in their society, and had to be purged. Citizens were encouraged to turn in any of their neighbors, friends and family who even hinted at anything disapproving of the Party. The result? Up to 20 million people massacred who posed a political threat to the CCP, and more who were jailed or sent to “re-education camps”. Anyone who was a leader in academia, religion, or art and literature that did not put Mao at the center of their teachings and worship were rounded up and executed or tortured.

By 1989, General secretary of the CCP Hu Yaobang had been a proponent of reforms to the Communist party. But that year, he died. A week after his death, 100,000 students marched on Tienanmen Square to push for reforms such as more accountability and less corruption in the Communist party, allowing for democratic input on economic reforms, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom of association. Within days, over 1,000,000 people occupied the Square. But instead of using this as an opportunity to reform, the military was brought in to wipe out the protests. Thousands of people died, but most importantly the CCP sent a clear message to all of its citizens. Stand up against our power, and be silenced for good.

The funny thing is, my parents, my sister, and I were scheduled to visit China in 1989 around that time. Our trip was canceled, of course. And sadly, my parents both passed away during the next ten years, so my sister and I made the trip in 1999.

I saw a few things that made me realize that even though China was more open, it was far from “free”. My sister and I were in Tienanmen Square just enjoying ourselves as tourists. Suddenly, we saw a group of people pull out a big banner and start to unfurl it. Literally within seconds, even before I had a chance to read the banner, a bus drove right into the center of the Square, some soldiers got out, they waved all the people into their bus, and the bus drove away. What shocked me the most wasn’t seeing what happened to the bus; it was observing the hundreds of Chinese citizens in the Square who didn’t even blink an eye or even seem to notice what happened. It was just an everyday event for them, as if they were witnessing someone feeding the pigeons or sitting on a bench reading a book.

Another incident happened with one of my tour guides (all of whom worked for the government, of course) as he was driving us around. In my broken Chinese, I started asking about the war. I soon learned that his family had been on the Nationalist side. We talked for a few minutes, and as if he sensed that someone was in the car with us, he sat up straight in his chair, yelled loudly “Praise Mao Zedong”. Then, he continued to drive in silence. It was creepy. But later, I understood why he did that. Government monitors are all over the place and if he did not say “2+2=5” AND believe it, he would probably lose his job and be sent to be re-educated.

These are things that Westerners, and especially those who grew up their whole lives taking things like freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press, don’t understand at all. Most in the West take their freedoms for granted, and assume that everyone in the world shares the same freedoms. But almost nobody really does.

You’ve no doubt heard of the old fable where a young lady finds a dying snake on the ground who begs for her to pick him up. She refuses, but eventually the snake convinces her. The moment she does, the snake bites her. As the venom starts to overtake her, she asks why the snake did this and the snake shrugs and says, “you knew I was a snake when you picked me up.”

The Chinese Communist Party Today

Today, let’s take a look at what China is bringing to the world:

  • A global pandemic that resulted in the death of 4 million souls worldwide, from a virus that all scientific evidence (at least evidence that is not censored by Facebook and Twitter, who also want to protect their business interests in China) shows was engineered in a lab in Wuhan. It’s a virus that could easily have been contained within the borders of China only in November 2019, but the CCP determined that while it would close its domestic borders to travel, it would keep international travel open basically guaranteeing global spread.
  • The systematic wiping of an entire race of its citizens, the Uighur Muslims. China has managed to control its citizenry through old messages like the one in Tienanmen Square in 1989 and new high-tech systems like the Social Credit System. But the Uighur up in Xinjiang didn’t get the memo. So it’s back to 1951 methods like re-education camps and even atrocities like organ harvesting that don’t get covered by the media.
  • Flooding the US market with fentanyl, resulting in the opioid boom that kills over 36,000 people a year and incapacitates many others. It’s a perverse twist on the Opium Wars of the 1800s.
  • Broken promises in Hong Kong. Yes, when Great Britain took over Hong Kong when the British Empire was at its pinnacle, the British were a bunch of jerks. The Treaty of Nanking was a lopsided one where China faced the insult of Britain seizing their land and turning it into a free trade port. So yes, China as a nation has a right to take pride in reclaiming its territory. But the CCP is taking it to a whole new level of making sure that Hong Kong is as suppressed as the rest of China in its freedoms. Their shuttering of newspapers like Apple Daily and the subsequent persecution of its journalists should send shivers down the spines of everyone who cares about democracy and human rights.
  • Terrible craftsmanship. If you’ve owned anything made in China, from socks to toys to laptops, chances are it hasn’t lasted. Anyone who lived prior to 1990 knows that it wasn’t always this way. Things used to be built to last.
  • Dangerous quality. Since 2007, thousands of dogs were sickened or died by jerky treats with Chinese ingredients or by dog food that contained melamine. Knockoff flea collars have sickened or killed pets. And in the human realm, toothpaste has been found with anti-freeze in it, drywall with sulfur, and toys with lead. The soil in China is heavily contaminated, and yet Americans are falling over themselves more and more to purchase produce grown there. A farmer in Iowa who found that his entire crop was contaminated would surely destroy his crop rather than sell it. But would you expect the same behavior from a farmer in China? Would you bet your life on it?

So despite China’s growing sophistication with public relations and their growing coziness with politicians on all sides of the political spectrum–who increasingly conveniently turn the other way if they see China gaining an advantage at the expense of their own constituents–the snake is still the snake. Stop picking up the snake.

What about racism in America against Asians?

I’ve known racism in my life. Sure, there are literal racists like some kids I grew up with in New Jersey in the 1970s, the ones would would slant their eyes at me or say the “Me Chinese” chant to me. Did it hurt? Of course it did. But for every one “white person” who made fun of me for being Chinese, there were hundreds of others who accepted me who for I was, just as I accepted them.

How did I deal with the idiots? Thanks to growing up in a loving family and a church that taught me to turn the other cheek, I didn’t seek revenge. Instead, I used the freedom of the United States to have a wonderful life. I went to college, got my MBA, got married, had a beautiful daughter, and today I have a great job and on the side I can pursue my hobbies and interests, one of them being having a ton of fun putting this blog together.

The other day, I looked up on LInkedIn who happened to one of the kids who taunted and bullied me in elementary school. He ended up dropping out of school and then going from unskilled job to unskilled job. From what I can tell, he’s had a miserable life. And strangely, I don’t take any satisfaction in that, I really just pity him that his parents taught him that the only way to boost their own flagging self-esteem was to put others down. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up being some kind of white supremacist. But he’s not the real racist.

But the more insidious racists are the ones that don’t know they’re racist. I’ll be blunt. They’re the executives who tell their PR companies to talk all about #stopasianhate but ignore their own Asian employees because they’re different”–some don’t drink with everyone else, some are too quiet, some don’t have strong handshakes or don’t make eye contact. They’re the politicians who tell Asians to feel like victims, as if we’re so fragile that we need to be “protected” like animals in a zoo (and of course if we continue to vote for them they’ll be our zookeepers). They’re the Harvard administrators who turn down qualified applications based not on their qualifications or their character but on the color of their skin.

And it’s these “useful idiots” that the Chinese Communist Party loves to use. Each year the CCP spends millions of dollars in influence campaigns. They embrace and then co-opt hashtags like “#stopasianhate”, trying to convince people that speaking against the CCP is the same as speaking against Chinese people. And sadly, many people fall into the trap. They are conditioned to become riddled with enough “white guilt” to fight against imaginary people of their own color, and become blinded to the fact that the Chinese Communist Party themselves have been the #1 perpetrator of death, humiliation, and abuse to the Chinese people in the last hundred years. Yes, stories like the idiots in Detroit who murdered Vincent Chin in 1982 are heartbreaking, and that horrific incident and the lenient punishments that followed rightfully led to reforms in US criminal justice law. But to conflate incidents like this with the systematic torture and murder by the CCP of 50-80 million Chinese people is simply being dishonest.

So when you want to talk about whether “systemic racism” exists, the answer is yes. But don’t look at skinheads and white supremacists. Look at who is in charge of the “systems” of business, government, and education in the United States who ultimately become willing stooges for the Chinese Communist Party.

tl;dr – No, I’m not a racist. Are you?


  1. Racist? Picture this. You get a thank you card from Chinese government every Christmas thanking you for your support in our effort to build up our military in effort to destroy your country.


    CCP fascist leader.

  2. Thank you for creating this. Finally someone that is like minded in this area like me. I love the tl:dr last line in your blog. Super cool. I will share your blog away so we can get more folks the knowledge and come to our team. All the best and never stop.

  3. You guys are just narrow minded. I am an American and I have travelled many counties including China.
    Just compare how the CCP and the so called democratic country like the USA did in the last ten years.
    China has worked hard to make its people live better, build more roads, do more business, helped other countries to develop. And the US government, what had the government do for us? we have more homeless in the past ten years while China had helped millions of people out from proverty. We drive on bumpy roads everyday while China built tens of thousands miles of new high speed roads. Pepole in the United States have to work till 67 years to receive social security while men in China can retire at 60 and women retire in 55 years old. United state government has to borrow money from other countries everry year while China spent on the benefit of its people and make the country develope better and still have trillions of dollars saved and buy US bonds. California had talk about building high speed rails for the last 20 years and not one mile of high speed rails is in use while China had built and operating 40,000 km of high speed railway system. United States government had spent trillions of dollars invading Afghansitan and Iraq while China spent billions of dollars to help poor countries in Africa, south America and Asia.
    Please open your eyes and see the new world outside, we have no future here in the United State with this government

    1. I am going to take you at your word that you are an American and not a paid CCP shill.

      The quickest response I have to you is that while China has helped millions of people out of poverty, they did so by murdering 80 million of their own people since 1949. That’s a hell of a big omelet.

      As for the people that the CCP is “helping” in Africa, South America, and Asia—and even within China—it’s a fine line between “help” and “exploitation”. Many of those millions that China “helped” out of poverty are not starving, but they are working in slave conditions for slave wages, drinking polluted water and breathing polluted air to make cheap plastic crap for us in the US.

      That said, I will agree with you 100% that the US is not the paragon of honor here. In fact, we’re the ones who created the problem. It’s our materialism that drives our politicians and corporate executives to exploit people and the environment, and if they can’t exploit their own people, they’ll offshore the exploitation to China. China did not create this problem, they are merely taking advantage of it, and rather brilliantly.

      I would be China’s biggest fan and cheerleader if they did one simple thing: gave freedom to their people. Remove the surveillance state. Allow a free press. Allow true freedom of religion and worship. Allow freedom of speech. Allow freedom of assembly. Allow citizens to petition their government for redress of grievances. While the US has abandoned most of these principles de facto, at least they have these principles still codified de jure. China isn’t even trying, and as long as this continues their people may be fed, but they can never be truly free.

    2. In the last ten years? China imprisoned Uyghurs and unleashed COVID on the world. We spend billions to help poor countries, too, and have been doing so far longer than China. Go back farther and find the tens of millions of their citizen executed by Mao.

      Trying to equate the China with the US on a basis of morality is laughable.

    3. Simply put , I don’t care who they help. They badmouth and threaten the USA and take pride in they’re robust military rattle swards constantly. I feel like a hypocrite If I buy ANYTHING made in China. We are helping them build up a military and then threaten us with military action using the very military we helped build up. I have and will avoid buying anything made in china. It just makes me feel like a traitor.

    4. We won’t believe your freaking chineese propaganda, don’t even try. Also for every thing you said China does well, Taiwan does it better.

  4. If you boycott because you hate Chinese people, yes, it is.

    If you boycott because their government and companies do skanky things with IP and slaves, then, no.

  5. “China” is not a race, so obviously this is not racism. China is a disgusting communist empire which is occupying the land illegally. Taiwan is the only legal China.

  6. Nice article. An important bullet point is missing: Tibet

    Until the year 1949, Tibet was an independent Buddhist nation. The Dalai Lama, considered to be an incarnation of the ‘Buddha of Compassion’, had been the political as well as the spiritual leader of the country.

    The year 1949 saw the invasion of Communist China. Chinese soldiers defeated the tiny Tibetan army and occupied nearly half of the country. China imposed a “17 point agreement for the peaceful liberation of Tibet” on the government of Tibet in May 1951. This agreement gave huge power to China to exercise its rule over Tibet.

    In March 1959, Tibetans began their revolt against China. The resistance escalated over the subsequent years. The rebellion was highest at Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. China retaliated by causing the destruction of religious buildings, imprisonment of monks and community leaders. The Dalai Lama was forced to live in exile in the region of Dharamsala in India. Over 1.2 million Tibetans have been killed and over 6000 monasteries have been destroyed since then.

  7. Racist- a word used by absolutely worthless individuals that don’t want to be responsible or accountable for their actions. Blame others for wrong doings because they look different. We purchased an electric stove element from Lowe’s home improvement. My wife was using the stove and received a 120 volt shock. Out of the 4 burners guess which one zapped her. You guessed it……the replacement element from CHINA!!! Oh by the way, my wife is Asian. Just goes to show you that electrocution knows no racial boundaries.

    1. The more I work on this site, the more I realize that it’s not the China manufacturers who are the most to blame—it’s the American companies that have enabled them.

      Some buyer at Lowes saw that a Chinese manufacturer was selling that element for pennies on the dollar. Some American government regulator certified it for sale, no doubt becoming rich in the process. Some lawyer at Lowes made the calculation that they could still turn a profit even if only a small percentage of its customers were electrocuted.

      I hope you filed a lawsuit against Lowes and filed a complaint with the FTC…that’s the second best way to get these low-level employees and regulators to wake up. The best way is to just stop buying from China. It’s hard, but there are lots of people on the Web who can help look (including me).

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