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In 2001, China joined the World Trade Organization with the strong support of a Democratic President and Republican Congress. Before the ink was dry on this free trade agreement, China began flooding U.S. markets with illegally subsidized exports while the big multinational companies that had lobbied heavily for the agreement rapidly accelerated the off shoring of American jobs to China. Today, as a result of the biggest shell game in American history, China has stolen millions of our jobs, corporate profits are soaring, and we now owe over $3 trillion to the world's largest totalitarian nation. This film is about how that happened... and why the best jobs program for America is trade reform with China. Written by
It's too complicated an equation to just blame China.
I am glad that a film like "Death By China" was made, although I sometimes disagree with the film in how they present the problems with the HUGE Chinese trade imbalance. While I think it's a huge problem that practically no one is talking about in the West, the film only makes a partially convincing argument. But at least it acknowledges that there is a problem.
This documentary is narrated by Martin Sheen and is apparently based on a book by the same name. It contends that since China was admitted to the World Trade Organization, unintended negative consequences have occurred. US industries have either gone out of business or relocated abroad, technology has been stolen and China's civil rights abuses continue--all while they fund a massive military buildup. All this is undeniably true and the country has used some unfair tactics to keep this imbalance going (such as government subsidies to industries which, in turn, force their rivals out of business as well as manipulation of the Yuan). And, interestingly, reviews that hated this film completely ignored all of this--particularly the human rights violations. All of this should concern us and is fair game for the film.
On the other hand, sometimes a bit of the film seemed like hyperbole (such as complaints about baby cribs being recalled--recalls of baby products have been occurring very regularly long before Chinese cribs came to America; the same can be said about the false Alar scare). Also the film is quick to spot problems but offers little in the way of solutions--though they are quite right that we in the West are to blame since we are living well beyond our means. Finally, I wonder who bankrolled this film--as it seemed to have an agenda (particularly in its choice of some of the interviewees). Although China is predatory in its practices and is not a particularly nice nation in which to practice free speech, the problem is not this simple and is actually very complex. Americans choose these products, government officials do nothing to reverse unfair trade practices, unions push more for higher wages and are at the same time unwilling to make concessions and corporations are greedy and only care about profits. So, in effect, it's everyone's fault--something this film didn't quite seem willing to say. A very sobering and interesting film but one that seemed a bit disingenuous in addressing the total picture. Still worth seeing, however.
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