In 2003, disappointed that the George W. Bush administration reaffirmed their ‘One China’ policy in regards to Taiwan, I launched my own boycott of Chinese goods. It was difficult but felt worthwhile to spend extra time looking for the ‘made in’ label on goods I was buying.

And then I needed a shower curtain. I visited store after store and could not find one made anywhere except in China. I lived without a curtain for months before giving in and buying a Chinese-made one. My boycott was over. I had failed…

Their lies exposed the world to the deadly virus, sure, but does that mean Americans will stop buying electronics such as iPhones, which are primarily assembled in China? It’s hard to see a future where they will, unless companies see pressure from consumers to depart China as a manufacturing base. Americans will also have to face the fact that they would have to pay more for their products if they were to be manufactured outside China. Perhaps in an age of pandemic Americans will be ready to do that work and pay the price. But memories are short: if it doesn’t happen now, China can be certain its future trade with America is secure and it won’t happen at all.