‘Death by China’: a new ‘We Will Bury You’ scenario?


deathbychinaLast week I read a piece in the new Vanity Fair that took exception to the global notion that the U.S.A. is a “dumb” country.

A.A. Gill made many good points which were, unfortunately, undercut by the illustration that suggested our national wisdom was reinforced by such cultural icons as Elvis Presley, Babe Ruth, and Marilyn Monroe.

Later that same day, I watched a DVD screener of a new documentary “Death by China” that makes a strong case that we are about as dumb as they come, because we have been committing a slow finanical suicide since Communist China was allowed to join the World Trade Organization in 2001.

The move was pushed by president Bill Clinton as a policy that would add new jobs here — DeathByChina1as our exports flooded the Chinese market — and would aid the cause of democracy in China by connecting them with us and with the capitalist world. Neither promised result occurred.

Working from his book of the same title, filmmaker Peter Navarro paints a devastating picture of what has happened since 2001.

Tens of thousands of jobs have been lost as U.S. companies moved their plants to China. Prison and child labor and the absence of any pesky anti-pollution laws or factory safety measures make Chinese manufacturing dirt cheap in comparison with the cost of doing that business here.

Chinese currency manipulation since WTO has put the U.S. trillions of dollars in debt to that country.

Meanwhile, the militarization of China has been speeding up, according to Navarro, making them a much more likely eventual threat to us than Iran or North Korea. The fact that many U.S. military planes now have components made in China also worries the filmmaker who says we have never before gotten into such a relationship with a possible military rival.

And, of course, by doing so much business with China we are tacitly endorsing a totalitarian regime which does not allow freedom of the press and which has imprisoned millions of its dissidents. Navarro has crafted a film which doesn’t try to hide its muckraking intent, or its stance against the current imbalance in trade between the two superpowers.

“Death by China” does leave a viewer wondering if a lot of our saber-rattling directed against other countries might be a smokescreen covering up a much more dangerous situation with our Communist ally. And why are we in this dicey relationship? Because it is so financially remunerative for the U.S. multi-national corporations that do business in China. 

Navarro’s bias is quite clear – he never tries to hide it — but the film is certainly, as they say, food for thought. (“Death by China” will be available July 2 on DVD and VOD.)

Joe Meyers

Leave a Reply