When China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, bolstered by the unwavering support of both Democrats and Republicans in the United States government, America was promised a new wave of growth and prosperity for its own people. In the 15 years that have passed since it’s easy to see that this promise remains unfulfilled. Nearly 60,000 American factories have moved to China, millions of jobs have been lost, and the lives of working Americans have been irrevocably impacted in the process.
The popular feature-length documentary Death by China dissects this crisis in an intelligent and thought-provoking manner.
Narrated by acclaimed actor Martin Sheen, the film doesn’t cast dispersions on the Chinese people, but rather their oppressive authoritarian government. According to the views expressed in the film, China’s ulterior motives started to come into focus shortly after they gained entry into the WTO. They quickly flooded the American marketplace with illegally subsidized exports, wooed U.S.-based corporations with assurances of cheaper labour and operating costs, and hypnotized the average consumer with lower-priced goods. The cruel irony of it all is that American workers – many of whom have lost their jobs to China’s predatory trade tactics – are ultimately rewarding these efforts by consistently purchasing their goods.
China isn’t the only player in the demise of American manufacturing. The film casts an equally critical eye on companies like Apple, Boeing and General Electric, whose executives have moved their operations offshore to maximize profit potential. Meanwhile, the U.S. government becomes more slavish to China as their debt to the country continues to rise above $3 trillion. In effect, the film states, increasing pockets of America are being controlled and owned by Chinese interests. If this is allowed to continue, the U.S. will lose its identity altogether.
Featuring informed viewpoints from experts on China, global financial authorities, bereaved business owners, and ordinary citizens who have fallen victim to the crisis, Death by China call for a unified outcry for change. The film urges political leaders to halt a “fair trade” policy that is anything but fair, and for consumers to take a stand by being more selective with their pocketbooks.
Directed by: Peter Navarro