Mobilizing patriotic consumers: China’s new strategy of economic coercion

Audrye Wong, Leif Eric Easley, Hsin wei Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article develops the concept of ‘patriotic consumer mobilization’ to explain how China uses informal boycotts as economic coercion. Patriotic consumer mobilization employs citizens as the unit of action, facilitating manipulability, uncertainty, and plausible deniability. It manages public sentiment for domestic legitimacy and foreign policy goals. Citizens are mobilized via propaganda that underscores national humiliation, frames boycotts as grassroots patriotism, and signals resolve to foreign countries. After outlining conditions for use and a case comparison with Taiwan, we draw on Chinese-language sources to examine Beijing’s coercion of South Korea over a missile defense system.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Strategic Studies
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • boycotts
  • China
  • economic coercion
  • grand strategy
  • nationalism
  • South Korea
  • statecraft
  • Taiwan


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