Greg Autry

Fighting for space, not over it.

Films expose life and death in China

Reposted from my piece in the Ottawa Sun

Albert Einstein once said, “The world will not be destroyed by those who do nothing, but rather by those who watch them and do nothing.” This weekend’s Free Thinking Film Festival gives us an opportunity to consider those words.

The festival features Kean Wong’s film Free China (directed by Michael Perlman) as well as Death by China (directed by my co-author, Peter Navarro). At first glance, one film appears to be a very personal insight into the value of freedom and the other a technical documentary on trade policy gone bad. However, at their core, both films are essays on the outcome of conceding power to an unethical regime.

Death by China exposes the insanity of a “free trade” regime that while promising an El Dorado of future market access has actually delivered 30 years of ever-growing trade imbalances, plant closures, intractable unemployment and mounting debt. One must either conclude that something fishy is going on with this relationship, or accept the premise that a centrally planned economy dominated by huge state-owned enterprises offers a superior economic model.

The fishy thing turns out to be the short-term profits used to bait Western CEOs into outsourcing their production to a nation where the people and the environment can be pillaged at will. Enriching a dictatorship at the long-term expense of your firm and your nation just happens to be the cost of increasing this year’s bonus. That would be bad enough if our lost manufacturing capacity wasn’t also supporting a military confrontation with China’s peaceful neighbours and an unchecked nuclear arsenal pointed at America.

Free China’s Jennifer Zeng is not only jailed and beaten, but compelled by the brutal “One Child” policy to abort her child. When a women is forcibly denied the right to reproduce, jailed for her religion, and tortured by fascist thugs you would think the response of the American and Canadian governments would be something other than eagerness to hand over further assets, capital, technology and jobs to her persecutors. When this tragedy is scaled up to 400 million coerced abortions, millions of political jailings, and the uncountable executions that feed a ghoulish organ-harvesting business, we are left to wonder at the culpability of our leadership. If they are not completely devoid of conscience, just what sort of sleep aids do Messrs. Harper and Obama employ after a day’s kissing up to Hu Jintao or Xi Jinping?

Every North American worker that surrenders their job and their dreams to unscrupulous Chinese trade abuses becomes a victim of the same system that silences, imprisons and tortures Chinese citizens. If our governments continue to enable this historic transfer of wealth and power to the greatest totalitarian regime in history we will surely all become victims of the Chinese Communist Party.

Two decades after Tiananmen Square it has become undeniable that our engagement policy is an emperor with no clothes. There is still time, though not very much, to admit that China is not progressing, our trade deficits are skyrocketing and a frightful Asian war is brewing. Once we face these facts, our choice of action is clear, we must actively support a truly Free China or we will suffer a Death by China. This means confronting and starving the communist beast rather than fawning on it and feeding it with further investment deals.

Greg Autry is the co-author of Death by China, a producer of the film version. He blogs at www.gregautry.us. 

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David Kilgour – Reluctantly for Romney

Greg Autry - Jennifer Zeng - David Kilgour

Greg Autry, Jennifer Zheng (former Chinese labor camp and torture victim, author of Witnessing History and star of Free China), and Hon. David Kilgour at Parliament on Friday 11/2/2012 before the Death by China showing.

 Today’s guest post is by the Honorable David Kilgour, former Canadian Member of Parliament, former Secretary of State for Asia, and a Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. David and I had the opportunity to discuss many things in Ottawa this weekend and we spent a lot of time on the American election. As a thoughtful moderate and a fan of Mr. Obama concerned about human rights in China and jobs in North America, he was torn. His thoughtful insights are reflected here.

RELUCTANTLY FOR ROMNEY – by the Hon. David Kilgour

From all indications, most Canadians would vote to re-elect Obama president tomorrow if we could, just as we would have done in 2008. One opinion survey four years ago indicated that as many as 92 per cent of us favoured Obama-Biden over McCain-Palin. The pre-election endorsements of Obama by Colin Powell, Michael Bloomberg and the Economist magazine, all of whom might have been expected to endorse Romney, will make the comfortable choice even easier for many Canadians.

There are many qualities we like in Obama, including his intelligence, compassion, surmounting of early upbringing obstacles, and his family. Both his books, Audacity of Hope and Dreams from my Father, are compelling.  In short, many Canadians continue to have confidence in the president and to extend him the benefit of various doubts since he moved to the White House.

Mitt Romney, despite having a family cottage in Canada and thus more direct exposure to our country as a youth, is harder for many of us to identify with. He epitomizes the much-criticized 1% in a difficult economic period for many across America, Canada and the world.  He is also obliged to accommodate the Tea Party faction in the Republican party, essentially contemporary political Know Nothings, who have made it difficult for him to be what he undoubtedly is: a Massachusetts moderate.

The New York Times columnist, David Brooks, recently offered some interesting predictions about the kind of administrations each candidate would offer.

Obama would probably seek to enact the sensible program he recently laid out in an interview: recreate the budget deal of two years ago ($2.50 of spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases); cuts in corporate taxes as part of business reform ; attempted immigration reform; implement Obamacare; increase spending on infrastructure. The rest would be about smaller items, such as more math and science teachers and increased foreign affairs initiatives to build a legacy.

Romney would begin with the conviction that the status quo is unsustainable: the mounting debt is ruining America and “byzantine tax and regulatory regimes are stifling innovation and growth.” Under a Romney administration, Brooks thinks the federal government would spend about 21 per cent of the G.D.P. instead of about 24 per cent.  Importantly, Romney would respect the main lesson of the election campaign: moderation wins. Among other lessons, this means he’d have to increase taxes on the rich, reduce his tax-cut promises and abandon the draconian spending reductions in his running mate Paul Ryan`s budget proposals.

In short, for Brooks, an Obama win probably “means small-bore stasis; if Romney wins, we`re more likely to get bipartisan reform…He`s more likely to get big stuff done”.

While foreign policy is one of Obama’s perceived advantages over Romney, he has certainly fumbled some major issues abroad, including climate change and the Doha Round of world trade negotiations. Whether Romney or anyone could have done better internationally as president is an open question, especially during a global economic crisis and the rise of new players on the world stage.

Among Obama`s accomplishments are his ending of George Bush’s “global war on terror”, removing American soldiers from Iraq, and his handling of the Arab Spring in some countries. On other issues–Iran, Afghanistan, Russia, Pakistan, North Korea, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict come readily to mind — there have been few strategic gains.

There is enormous but little-focused-upon-by-the-media concern about China and the continuing loss of manufacturing jobs across the United States. As a consequence, only about nine percent of Americans now work in the sector, when probably at least one quarter are needed for a successful modern economy. It is disingenuous for Obama and business CEOs to brag that America exported $100 billion last year to China when it imported almost $400 billion. Beijing cheats on most of its World Trade Organization commitments, but its continuing manipulation of its currency is doubtless the most destructive in terms of good jobs disappearing in America, Canada and all countries trading with China. Romney is right about the urgent need to declare China a ‘currency manipulator’ and to add 20, 30 or whatever percentage the tampering is determined to be to the price of every import from China.

On reversing the problems affecting America, Canada and so many economies, which candidate is better equipped? Martin Wolf, one of the world’s leading financial columnists, identifies some clues. At the end of Obama’s first year in office, the world was on a path very similar to the calamitous one taken in the 1930s, but managed to adopt policy responses that included expansive monetary and fiscal policy and support to the financial sector.

Wolf believes that a debt crisis inside the U.S. and a meltdown of the Eurozone are today the most likely triggers for another major crisis. He adds that there is no consensus today on what is the “right macro policy-that is the right monetary policy, the right fiscal policy, and the right policy on dealing with debt overhangs.” Whichever candidate has convinced more Americans that he can restore the American economy and get back to reasonable employment levels and growth is likely to win tomorrow.

Very reluctantly, and primarily because of Obama’s weak stand on jobs/China, I’d vote for Romney.

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You can find David Kilgour on the web at: http://www.david-kilgour.com

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Free China: The Courage to Believe – a most important film

The practice of “Truth, compassion, and tolerance” is not an activity that a civilized nation responds to with torture. China today is an uncivilized country. From a Chinese perspective this is the gravest national insult and I would not make such a statement without purpose or cause.

My purpose is to turn around our failed engagement failed policy with communist China. Since the massacre at Tiananmen Square this policy has been an unjustifiable disaster. Millions of American jobs have vanished while millions of Chinese live like slaves. The despotic Chinese regime has been enriched, empowered and emboldened. Censorship and repression has escalated and the goose-stepping People’s Liberation Army is on the verge of provoking war with nearly every one of China’s neighbors. The details of all that are found in my book with Peter Navarro, Death by China and Navarro’s film based on it. But the more important question might be “Why has China consistently responded to American engagement with lying, cheating, stealing and threatening?”

A powerful new film, Free China: The Courage to Believe directed by Michael Perlman and produced by Kean Wong provides the evidence that backs up my charge and addresses the root cause of China’s uncivilized behavior.

Free China opens by showing how Mao Tse Tung and his sociopathic, communist followers intentionally and systematically attacked the moral foundations of ancient China. Mao’s movements, purges and pogroms including the infamous “cultural revolution” were aimed at the very soul of China. Their goal has been nothing less than to replace centuries of Taoist, Buddhist, and Confucian thought with the amoral philosophy and disastrous economics of a drunken German and his mad Russian protégés.[1]

Inside China, this has been manifest in the brutality, murder and repression that is so elegantly portrayed in Free China. This English language film (with Chinese subtitles) is intensely personal look at a dream of a free China through the story of two courageous practitioners  of Falun Gong.

Falun Gong, is a moral philosophy that arose in reaction to the communist depravations and seeks “truth, compassion, and tolerance” and advocates for the restoration of China’s historical values. While the communist regime has attacked every source of ethical standards from Tibetan Buddhism to American Evangelical “house churches”, it has been the practitioners of Falun Gong that have led the resistance and suffered the cost. They have conducted their peaceful civil disobedience with resolve that would make Gandhi and Martin Luther King proud.

Like many others, our film’s protagonists, Jennifer Zeng and Dr. Charles Lee end up in Chinese prison camps where they are subject to depravation, torture, political thought control and enslavement. We are lucky to have them alive so they can share both these horrors and their valor with us. As the film tells us, so many more have not been so fortunate. They’ve been starved, beaten to death, mentally broken and even used as involuntary organ donors.

Like Mr. Pearlman’s other work, Tibet: Beyond Fear, this film is beautifully shot and edited. Zeng and Lee are genuine and powerful. Additionally, two of the West’s great voices for human dignity, Canada’s David Kilgour and American Congressman Chris Smith, offer poignant contributions. Free China is a compelling and heart-wrenching look at a human tragedy in progress that America continues to ignore only at our own peril. Please see this film and share it with as many others as you can. Free China should give Americans the courage to stand with the bravest of the Chinese people so that China may reassume its place as a great and civilized nation.

 

Free China is showing Wednesday September 12 at the Los Feliz 3 Cinemas in Los Angeles. I hope to see you there! Additional information and pre-orders for the DVD are at: http://freechinamovie.com

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Greg Autry serves as Senior Economist with the American Jobs Alliance and is the co-author of the book Death by China. He also served as a producer on the Death by China documentary film  directed by Peter Navarro and narrated by Martin Sheen.

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[1] In the 1980s China’s rulers combined the very worst ideas of socialism with a poisonous corruption of capitalism to establish a new and utterly amoral brand of “state capitalism.”