‘Cheating, rapacious, venal, disease incubator': here’s what Trump’s new trade tsar thinks of China
Trump’s team described the 67-year-old academic as “a brilliant policy mind and a tireless worker”
The Chinese government is a despicable, parasitic, brutal, callous, amoral, ruthless and totally totalitarian imperialist power that reigns over the world’s leading cancer factory, its most prolific propaganda mill and the biggest police state and prison on the face of the earth.
That is the view of Peter Navarro, the man chosen by Donald Trump on Wednesday to lead a new presidential office for US trade and industrial policy, a move likely to add to Beijing’s anxieties over the billionaire’s plans for US-China relations.
Trump’s team described the 67-year-old academic, who is infamous in China watching circles for being a radical hawk, as “a brilliant policy mind and a tireless worker”. But Beijing is unlikely to second such emotions.
Navarro has penned a number of vociferously anti-China tomes including Death by China and Crouching Tiger: What China’s Militarism Means for the World.
In The Coming China Wars – a 2006 book that Trump has called one of his favourite on China – Navarro portrays China as a nightmarish realm where “the raw stench of a gut-wrenching, sweat-stained fear” hangs in the air and myopic, venal and incompetent Communist party officials rule the roost.
The Harvard-educated hardliner accuses “cheating China” of destroying both American factories and lives by flooding the US with illegally subsidised and “contaminated, defective and cancerous” exports.
American politicians must “aggressively and comprehensively address the China problem” before it leads to full-blown conflict, Navarro writes.
In a 2012 Netflix documentary based on Death by China, which Trump has described as “right on”, Navarro blames Beijing for the loss of 57,000 American factories and 25 million jobs.
“The repressive communist government [is] now victimising both American and Chinese citizens alike,” the film claims.
“Help defend America and protect your family: don’t buy made in China,” Navarro tells viewers in an introduction to the 80-minute polemic, which is narrated by Martin Sheen.
Navarro, who has also dubbed China a “global pollution factory” and “disease incubator”, made no secret of his distaste for its rulers during Trump’s election campaign.
Speaking to The Guardian in Julythe academic railed against how China’s “brutal, authoritarian communist government” had decimated the US economy.
He painted China as a ravenous bully and said he agreed with Trump’s claim that Beijing was guilty of “raping our country” over trade.
“It’s an apt description of the damage and carnage that China’s trade policies have wrought on the American economic heartland. What’s happening is rapacious,” Navarro said.
Li Yonghui, the head of the school of international relations at the Beijing Foreign Studies University, said Navarro’s rise was consistent with Trump’s hawkish thoughts on China and would leave Beijing “a little worried” even if he still believed a radical shake-up of US-China relations was unlikely.
“We should stay vigilant. We have to be prepared,” the academic said. “Trump will certainly place unprecedented pressure on China.”