Today, a couple of notes about tax resistance against the war taxes instituted by the various nationalist factions of the civil war in China in 1927. First, a dispatch sent on from Shanghai, as carried in the Adelaide Register:
…The first efforts of Nationalist officials to collect the new 50 per cent. tax on tobacco , in contravention of the treaties, were frustrated by the merchants who refused to pay. The officials took up positions outside the customs releasing depots and refused deliveries except upon payment of the new impost. Importers complained to their respective Chambers of Commerce and at a combined meeting it was decided to write to the senior Consul (United States) and to request the consular body to meet a deputation of merchants who are preparing a list of questions to present to the consular body, and they declare that they are determined not to pay, explaining their action by stating that the Nationalists frankly admit that the increase is necessary to continue the campaign against the North. The merchants refuse to finance the Chinese military campaign and thus prolong the civil war, apart from the contention that the tax is illegal, according to the findings of recent tariff conference. The tobacco tax is but one instance of a wholesale imposition of taxes, amounting to an attempt to enforce tariff autonomy in order to raise military funds as quickly as possible at the expense of trade. Such a programme as carried out by the Hankow Government has reduced Hankow to a condition of industrial idleness and, paralyzed the entire trade of Central China.
Next, this Shanghai dispatch from , as carried in the Launceston (Tasmania) Examiner:
Refusal to Pay
On Nationalist surtaxes on practically all imports to China will be enforced. British commerce is seriously threatened, and the proposals are being strongly opposed. It is understood that the Government has instructed merchant bodies, through their Consuls, to refuse payment.
The diplomatic body at Peking is handling the matter, and it is believed that, failing the co-operation of the Japanese and the Americans, resistance will take the form of independent action to protect British trade. It is understood that British vessels will be instructed that only at British wharves can they land goods without the payment of the illegal taxes, and that interference by the Chinese will be forcibly resisted.
The increase in some instances amounts to 57 per cent., and the lowest tax is 15 per cent. The increased tonnage dues of 50 per cent. have not been paid by foreign companies, a policy of defiance being followed.
Over the course of the following months, the nationalists would flat-out appropriate much of what had been acquired by foreign imperialists, including the British, so this didn’t work out too well for the resisters.