Chi­nese whis­pers

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Film -

WHILE leav­ing the pre­view screen­ing of John Pil­ger’s lat­est doc­u­men­tary, one pa­tron asked an­other what they thought.

“It was a bit un­bal­anced,” was the re­ply. Well, there is the rub with any­thing from this par­tic­u­lar jour­nal­ist. He’s not at­tempt­ing to cre­ate a work that re­lies on the nor­mal con­sen­sus of as­sump­tions prop­a­gated in Western jour­nal­ism.

That is a con­sen­sus largely shared by jour­nal­ists of the left and right, which per­ceives the USA as, if not the world’s friend, then at worst a nec­es­sary evil.

Pil­ger takes us into a dif­fer­ent space al­to­gether: the United States as a war­mon­ger in­tent on putting its stamp on ev­ery con­flict. Or, in the case of China, a con­flict that doesn’t ex­ist.

This is clearly con­tentious, as we are deal­ing now with the provo­ca­tion in­her­ent in China claim­ing is­lands in the South China Sea be­ing pre­pared for mil­i­tary pur­poses.

Filmed over two years across five po­ten­tial flash­points in Asia and the Pa­cific, The Com­ing War On China il­lus­trates a build-up to war on more than 400 US mil­i­tary bases that en­cir­cle China in a ‘per­fect noose’.

De­spite the ti­tle, a large por­tion of the film is given over to archival ma­te­rial and in­ter­views with na­tives of the Mar­shall Is­lands in the cen­tral Pa­cific Ocean, once the epit­ome of a trop­i­cal par­adise be­fore be­com­ing the sub­ject of pro­longed Amer­i­can test­ing of nu­clear weaponry.

Pil­ger says: “The aim of this film is to break a si­lence. A new cold war is un­der way along with the drum­beat to war, this time with the real pos­si­bil­ity of nu­clear weapons.

“The Com­ing War On China is also a film about the hu­man spirit and the rise of an ex­tra­or­di­nary re­sis­tance in far­away places.”

The most dis­qui­et­ing aspect of the doc­u­men­tary is the description of a nu­clear win­ter in the event of all-out nu­clear war.

A nu­clear win­ter af­ter a calami­tous Us-china war could be a very long sea­son in­deed.

John Pil­ger’s The Com­ing War On China.

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