Chinese officials have in the recent past, held back and at most measured their responses to American leader Donald Trump’s tough talk on a trade war with China. This happened in the recent weeks when trump announced a series of new punitive tariffs on Chinese exports to the US. They have allowed most of the combative comments to be aired in the Communist Party official media. Beijing and Shanghai’s streets are, however, a little less accepting. Talking to around 50 people from the two Chinese cities about their opinion on the trade war, an analysis conducted by Reuters. The study showed their opinions on what they think China should say in response, and if they think that the Chinese should make efforts to boycott US products as a method of retaliation.
The people of China, according to the interview, showed no palpable sense of panic yet. As to how Beijing will respond to Trump, there was a divide with some arguing that China should strike back with a response and others say that they couldn’t tell what could be done. The most worrying issue for American businesses in the Chinese market is that a substantial minority of the interviewees, around 28%, want to boycott any product made in the US. A fraction of the rest said that they would not stop buying American products for now, but they could reconsider in the future.
If the boycotting opinion is shared by the rest of China and then acted on, it will decrease the sales in a few of the US giant companies. These would include, Disney movies, Apple’s iPhones, General Motors’ cars, Starbucks, among many more American products. Note that this is when the boycott has not been organised by the authorities or activists. After a decade since China, in the glory of the patriotic and inspirational, opened the Beijing Olympics ceremony, the sentiments made by nationalists are rarely far off the popular opinion.
The sample used by the straw poll was very small and cannot be depended on scientifically. Besides that, the interviews were also done on a people known to be guarded and hold back their true views from foreign media. An example of a response that would be of concern to the authorities is Xu Dong, a student, who said that China should, in response, strike back properly. He, however, wouldn’t stop purchasing American products like the iPhone since some of these brands provide employment to Chinese people besides bringing in tax revenues.