America is facing an existential threat that has potentially catastrophic military, economic, political, and national security implications. That threat is the U.S. “trade relationship” with the regime ruling Communist China, a suicidal pact engineered by globalist schemers in Washington, D.C., and New York and by power-hungry Chinese Communist schemers in Beijing. According to the film Death By China: How America Lost Its Manufacturing Base, directed by economist Peter Navarro, it is one of the “most urgent problems facing America.” And even that may be understating it. Without action, it could literally be the death of America as it has been known for more than two centuries.
While the hit film is from 2013, it is perhaps more relevant now than when it was first released. That is partly because President-elect Donald Trump not only has suggested that he understands the enormity of the problem, but that he intends to do something about it. “Death by China is right on,” Trump is quoted as saying about the movie. “This important documentary depicts our problem with China with facts, figures and insight. I urge you to see it.” And as if to prove that he is serious, Trump appointed Death by China director Navarro, an economist, to lead his newly formed White House National Trade Council. The dictatorship ruling mainland China expressed concerns, but advocates of sane, America First trade policies celebrated the decision.
The film features a multitude of alarming interviews with experts, officials, businessmen, CEOs, manufacturers, displaced workers, and others with knowledge of the problem from all across the political spectrum. The documentary also showcases numerous U.S. consumers happily buying Communist Chinese-made electronics and goods, many of whom appear to be oblivious. Early on, the film shows images of numerous shuttered factories, too, many of which were undoubtedly closed and moved to China, where more than a billion oppressed victims slave away for pennies under their Communist Party masters. Taken together, the film paints a troubling picture of the future if Americans do not get active in turning the mess around.
A number of the embattled workers and the unemployed interviewed throughout the film are clear on where the blame belongs: the U.S. government. Indeed, one expert points out that, despite marketing slogans, what the U.S. government has with China is hardly “free trade” in the true sense of the term. Instead, it is rigged trade, benefiting the brutal dictatorship while harming American and Chinese citizens. Among other leading concerns, the documentary highlights how President Bill Clinton and the GOP-controlled Congress enthusiastically supported Beijing's entry in 2001 into the World Trade Organization — a powerful transnational institution that purports to set global policy where, as one expert in the film points out, the United States wields little influence.
What followed was devastation for the United States and the American worker. Since that decision, some 57,000 U.S. factories have been shuttered, with many moving to China. More than 25 million Americans, meanwhile, are unable to find a decent job, the film explains. And perhaps most alarming, from a national security perspective, is that the U.S. government is now more than $3 trillion in debt to the world's largest and most powerful totalitarian regime. Making matters even more alarming, since the film was made, the problem has only become more acute, with the trade deficit growing and more and more jobs and factories being shipped from America to China.
“Before the ink was dry on this agreement, China began flooding the United States with its illegally subsidized and very dangerous exports,” the narrator explains. Meanwhile, the U.S.-based Big Business multinational firms that lobbied heavily for the scheme stepped up their offshoring of American factories and American jobs to Communist China. “Today, as a result of the biggest political shell game in American economic history, China has stolen thousands of our factories, and millions of our jobs,” continues the narrator.
Of course, the film also highlights the Communist Chinese regime's currency manipulation, a key tool in its trade war against America. Essentially, the regime, in violation of international agreements it has signed, pegs its currency at a reduced level against the U.S. dollar. And as one expert explains, that serves as the equivalent of a 40-percent or 50-percent tariff on American goods sold in China, while providing a 40-percent to 50-percent subsidy for Chinese exports to come to America. That has resulted in a massive exodus of U.S. jobs and productive capacities to China, a problem that continues to wreak havoc on American workers and the American economy while boosting the communist dictatorship. It also produces the “huge and chronic trade deficit with China,” the film explains, adding that Chinese officials have even admitted the scam.
The loss of jobs and industry under the suicidal “trade” regime is a frequent topic of discussion throughout the film. “China, I think, is responsible for wiping out a good deal of the manufacturing that we have — or had — in northeast Ohio,” says Representative Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who like many Ohio Democrats represents formerly prosperous industrial areas where huge numbers of blue-collar workers have been displaced. “I think that is continuing as they continue to manipulate their currency, as they continue to not have the level of workplace safety, or environmental, or health standards that we have here in the United States.” He noted that the final working act of many U.S. workers has been to unbolt the machines they used so they could be shipped to China. Sometimes the fired workers even have to train their Chinese replacements.
On the other side of the aisle, Republican U.S. Representative Chris Smith of New Jersey expressed similar concerns. “We've seen our whole manufacturing base uproot and re-plant in a place where you can commit crimes against workers, and just go out to dinner that night,” he explained. And then, numerous experts and analysts explained how, when the local U.S. factory disappeared, it created a “black hole,” with other local businesses, accountants, engineers, and suppliers all going down, and with all of those jobs disappearing. The effects, as the film shows, have been devastating all across America.
Another Republican shown in the film, Representative Dana Rohrabacher of California, highlights the growing military threat posed by the regime in Beijing. He noted that the regime has been building a modern, technologically advanced armed force that poses a serious danger. Several others interviewed for the film point out that the Communist Chinese dictatorship is literally “preparing to kill Americans.” When one realizes that many key products and resources required by the U.S. military are now controlled by the Chinese regime, the national security implications are obvious.
The narrator, Martin Sheen, points out that it is important to distinguish between the “good and hard-working people of China,” and their “repressive communist government, now victimizing both American and Chinese citizens alike.” And indeed, multiple interviewees point to the appalling abuses of Chinese workers, the deadly pollution that has created “cancer villages” across China, and other horrors resulting from the regime's activities. Virtually all of the world's most polluted cities are in China, and the nation has what is widely considered to be the worst environmental degradation on Earth. Some of that even affects the West coast of the United States, as the pollution arrives in California.
The film touches on such a vast array of important topics that covering them all in a brief review would be difficult. It exposes, among other threats, the Communist Chinese use of counterfeiting and piracy to strangle Western companies, the use of espionage to steal U.S. technology and intellectual property, and much more. Often, the regime helps steal the technology, then turns around and has its own “businesses” sell the products at a huge discount, since it incurred no R&D costs. While perhaps not directly related to the main subject, the film also highlights Chinese brutality against Tibet, religious minorities, dissidents, and other horrifying human-rights abuses.
The documentary shares its name with a 2011 book written by Navarro and Greg Autry known as Death by China: Confronting the Dragon — A Global Call to Action. The film has been an enormous success, quickly becoming one of the most popular documentary films on Netflix for three years. As of April of last year, the film was made available for free on YouTube as well. The documentary can also be purchased as a physical DVD to watch at home or share with friends.
As the film shows clearly, the situation America finds itself in vis-à-vis Communist China is urgent, and must be addressed as quickly as possible. The good news, though, is that America's political leadership largely caused the problem through terrible policies, and that means America's political leaders can also fix the problem by implementing sensible policies. But for that to happen, the electorate must understand the problem, and demand solutions. Death by China is a great tool to help promote that understanding.