Since Japan has been constantly provoking China over the Diaoyu Islands dispute recently, the Chinese public is irate. In some cities, people protested and some even smashed Japanese cars. Such actions are really unacceptable because they damage others' legal property. There are also some calling for a boycott of Japanese goods. But nowadays, many Japanese brands are made in China, and boycott of the products could actually hurt China's manufacturing industry.
How can we show patriotism rationally? The starting point could be supporting and purchasing domestic-brand products. The manufacturing industry is the basic foundation for a nation's prosperity. Without a strong manufacturing industry, China's rise and renaissance cannot be achieved. The development of modern industry greatly depends on the volume of sales and consumption. Therefore, the consumption of domestic products has been the driving force for the development of the national manufacturing industry.
From a historical perspective, government and public support and protection for national industry was one way countries developed. The UK once demanded the use of homemade shrouds. If the shroud was proved not to be homemade, the funeral would stop. Such an extreme way of supporting domestic products contributed to the UK's rise as the world's first industrial power.
The US almost copied the UK's way. Its first president George Washington wore a suit of locally made cloth when swore in publicly, encouraging Americans to consume more domestic products.
Our neighbors South Korea and Japan also pay a lot of attention to encouraging people to purchase more domestic products. So does India. In contrast, those countries which only emphasize trade volume and GDP growth fall into the middle-income trap due to a lack of development of national industry.
It's a pity that many Chinese haven't become aware of the importance of purchasing and supporting domestic brands. For example, China's vehicle consumption is booming, but the market share of domestic cars is declining.
In years of peace, the simplest but most effective way to show patriotism is to purchase and use domestic brands. Only if supporting domestic brands becomes the mainstream value of society is a real China rise possible. The government could set an example by making domestic vehicles a top priority in governmental purchase. Of course, the enterprises of domestic brands themselves should also strive to produce good products and market them well.
The author is a deputy researcher at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations. firstname.lastname@example.org