11 September 2017 — John Pilger
“The aim of this film is to break a silence: the United States and China may be on the road to war, and nuclear war is no longer unthinkable” – John Pilger in The Coming War on China.
Now available for screenings in the U.S.
**** 4 stars “A gripping film … a strong corrective to our bland and complacent indifference” — Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
**** 4 stars “A film that will change hearts and minds.” — The Upcoming
“Shocking, terrifying, disturbing” — Entertainment Focus
“The kind of stark warning we need” — Cinevue
Written, directed and produced by John Pilger
For further information, please contact
With Donald Trump threatening a war in Asia over North Korea, the real target is China. A new feature-length documentary by award-winning journalist and filmmaker John Pilger is perhaps Pilger’s most timely and urgent investigation. The film is both a warning and an inspiring story of people’s resistance.
Filmed over two years in the Marshall Islands, Japan, Korea, China and the United States, The Coming War on China reveals a build-up to war on the doorstep of China. More than 400 US military bases now encircle China in what one strategist calls “a perfect noose”.
Bringing together rare archive and interviews with witnesses, Pilger reveals America’s secret history in the region that has relevance to urgent events today.
Pilger and his crew chartered a plane to the irradiated island of Bikini where the 1954 Hydrogen Bomb poisoned the environment forever. He reports: “As my aircraft banked low over Bikini atoll, the emerald lagoon beneath me suddenly disappeared into a vast black hole, a deathly void. When I stepped out of the plane, my shoes registered “unsafe” on a Geiger counter. Almost everything was irradiated. Palm trees stood in unworldly formations, unbending in the breeze. There were no birds. It was a vision of what the world can expect if two nuclear powers go to war.”
The Coming War is also about the human spirit and the rise of an extraordinary resistance in faraway places. On the Japanese island of Okinawa, home to 32 US bases – where the population lives along a razor-wired fenceline and beneath the screeching of military aircraft – Okinawans are challenging the greatest military power in the world, and succeeding.
Across the East China Sea lies the Korean island of Jeju, a semi- tropical sanctuary and World Heritage Site declared “an island of world peace”. On this island of world peace is one of the biggest military bases in Asia, aimed at China — purpose-built for US aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines and missile destroyers.
For almost a decade the people of Jeju have been peacefully resisting the base. Every day, twice a day, farmers, villagers, priests and supporters from all over the world stage an extraordinary Catholic mass that blocks the gates. Every day, police remove the priests and the worshippers, bodily, and their altar. It is a silent, moving spectacle. One of the leaders, Father Mun Jeong-hyeon, says: “I sing four songs every day at the base. I sing in typhoons — no exception.”
From Jeju, Pilger flew to Shanghai. “When I was last in China,” he says, “ the loudest noise I remember was the tinkling of bicycle bells; Mao Zedong had recently died, and the cities seemed dark, forbidding places. Nothing prepared me for the astonishing changes that had taken place.”
China today presents exquisite ironies, not least the house in Shanghai where Mao and his comrades secretly founded the Communist Party of China in 1921. Today, it stands in the heart of a very capitalist shipping district; you walk out of this Communist shrine with your plastic bust of Mao into the embrace of Starbucks, Apple, Cartier.
The world is shifting east, and America’s dominance is ending. Once subjugated, scorned and impoverished, China is rising inexorably as the world’s banker and builder. Will all this be allowed to happen peacefully? “We need to make America strong again,” says President-elect Donald Trump. “We need to make America great again … and we need victories.”
In his new film, Pilger shows how close the world has come to nuclear war – in Asia. The Coming War on China has been broadcast on network TV in Britain, Australia and around the world, but is denied the equivalent in the US. It is a must-see for community and activist screenings
“John Pilger’s work has truly been a beacon of light in dark times” – Noam Chomsky.
For screenings, contact Bullfrog Films firstname.lastname@example.org