Reg, China isn’t exactly a human rights paradise, even now. I think most people there, now, know better than to start a mass protest. Recently, more came out about the protest, with reports of tanks running back and forth over students until they were puree, then washing them down the sewers. If we are going to boycott countries, we should boycot China, most of the Muslim countries, and a lot of others. But you are right about boycots hurting the factory workers, and farmers, and ordinary people.
Even so, given a choice between buying a product from Mordor, vs. buying from Rivendell, I’ll still choose the latter. I just feel better that way.
In my teens I was involved in some anti-apartheid action. This was following the lead of some Irish workers that went on a 3 year strike. They were later congratulated by Nelson Mandela. I think that strike was effective because it targeted rich land owners and (white) farmers. I do “buy ethically” as often as I can when it comes to fair trade coffee or fruits or cheap clothing from sweatshops (I have been in a few). I now support Amnesty International and try to help that way. I join campaigns to free atheist blogger in Islamic countries and have helped some get refugee status. But I think only governments have the ability to pressurize other nations to make changes. It is just a shame that many of them are afraid to do so.