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The Independent Critic

Peter Navarro
64 Mins.
Area23a (Theatrical)

 "Death By China" A Compelling Documentary  
In 2001, a Republican Congress and a Democratic President worked together to bring the nation of China into the World Trade Organization. Since that time, America's trade relationship with China has become increasingly self-destructive according to this compelling documentary from award-winning writer/director Peter Navarro.

Since 2001, over 50,000 American factories have disappeared and more than 25 million Americans can’t find a decent job. America now owes more than 3 trillion dollars to the world’s largest totalitarian nation. For the most part avoiding partisanship, Death By China creates an intelligent and well informed argument that the relationship between the U.S. and China is in disrepair and simply must be broken to maintain peace in the world.

Navarro largely avoids "entertainment" with Death By China, instead focusing the film on producing a sound argument supported by interview after interview from both sides of the political spectrum. The film, which will get a theatrical release starting in Los Angeles on August 17th, only occasionally lessens in impact when Navarro incorporates unnecessary graphics into the film that only serve to mute its impact. However, this distraction is minor in comparison to the power of the argument put forth that since China joined the WTO in 2001 the nation has largely created its own rules and, at least on some level, hijacked the U.S. economy through currency manipulation, illegal export subsidies, piracy and other methods.

Navarro doesn't place the blame exclusively on China, but instead also points the finger at America's multinational corporations and their ever desperate search for ways to decrease costs that have led to millions of jobs going overseas. Narrated by Martin Sheen, Death by China goes to great pains to not paint what could have been the inevitable picture of good vs. evil. Instead, the film looks at the institution of China's government rather than the overall nation. Sheen eloquently speaks of the goodness of the Chinese people, but Navarro has no problem with railing against the institutions that have threatened to destroy America's economy.

The end conclusion, if one can say there is one, is quite simply that we can't truly have it both ways. We as Americans cannot simultaneously want the cheapest products out there and want to "buy American." We can't rail against the Chinese disruption of the American economy if we're not willing to support those companies who are not outsourcing jobs.

It goes back to the basic concept of "buy locally." You buy Wal-Mart, according to Death By China, and you buy from China.

The impact of Death By China will likely be determined by your own interest in the subject and your willingness to be more informed than entertained. Much like The Corporation in tone, Death By China is a call to action to the American people and a call to action that, according to Navarro, we can't afford to ignore much longer.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic