THE COMING WAR ON CHINA – A NEW PILGER FILM FOR TV AND CINEMA

THE COMING WAR ON CHINA – A NEW PILGER FILM FOR TV AND CINEMA

John Pilger’s new film – The Coming War on China – will be in UK cinemas from Monday 5 December 2016 and on ITV at 10.35pm on Tuesday 6 December.

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“The aim of this film is to break a silence: the United States and China may well be on the road to war, and nuclear war is no longer unthinkable”
 – John Pilger

Read more from John Pilger about the film here

This new feature-length documentary by award-winning journalist and filmmaker John Pilger is his 60th film for television. Coming straight after the election of President Trump, the film is one of John Pilger’s most timely and urgent investigations and 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 powerful interviews, Pilger reveals America’s secret history in the region – the destruction of much of life in the Marshall Islands, once a Pacific paradise, by the explosion of the equivalent of one Hiroshima every day for 12 years, and the top secret ‘Project 4.1’ that made nuclear guinea pigs of the population.

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.”

In key interviews – from Pentagon war planners in what is now Donald Trump’s Washington, to members of China’s new political class – Pilger’s film challenges the notion of the world’s biggest trading nation as an enemy.

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 fence line and beneath the screeching of military aircraft – Okinawans are challenging the greatest military power and succeeding.

One of the resistance leaders is Fumiko Shimabukuro, aged 87. A survivor of the Second World War, she took refuge in beautiful Henoko Bay, which she is now fighting to save. The Japanese government wants to fill in much of the bay to extend runways for US bombers. “For us,” she said, “the choice is silence or life.”

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 now 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 a 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. Father Mun Jeong-hyeon, says: “I sing four songs every day at the base. I sing in typhoons – no exception.”

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John Pilger

Journalist, film-maker and author, John Pilger is one of two to win British journalism’s highest award twice. For his documentary films, he has won an Emmy and a British Academy Award, a BAFTA. Among numerous other awards, he has won a Royal Television Society Best Documentary Award. His epic 1979 Cambodia Year Zero is ranked by the British Film Institute as one of the ten most important documentaries of the 20th century.