One of the bloodiest battles of the Korean war is the subject of a film that will soon start production in China, in a move which is being linked to surging Chinese nationalism amid poor relations between Beijing and Washington. The film, based on the Battle of Triangle Hill – also known as the Shang Gan Ling campaign in China – was given the green light by state regulator the China Film Administration in July, but was not reported by Chinese official media until last week. Hou Jianwei, one of China’s best known war novelists, has been signed on as screenwriter for the film, to be produced by Ao Bo Film Zhejiang which confirmed on microblogging platform Weibo that production was already in “active preparation”. “More than 100,000 people from the People’s Voluntary Army and forces from the US and South Korea took part in the 43-day fighting, and over 2.4 million shells of ammunition were fired. The battle was unprecedentedly fierce and 40,000 lives were lost,” the film company said in its most recent Weibo post. “With a multitude of heroes, our army built up an impenetrable barrier in the East.” China invokes Korean war talks as reason not to bow to US in trade dispute News of the film has coincided with mounting confrontations between Beijing and Washington on multiple fronts ranging from trade and technology, to Hong Kong and Xinjiang. Korean war-themed productions have long been a taboo subject for China’s heavily censored film industry, partly because of Beijing’s complicated relations with the US and North Korea. But the 1950-53 war, in which China and North Korea battled Western forces led by the US, has increasingly become a tool to rally public opinion behind Beijing’s ongoing trade war with the US. Study Times, a Central Party School publication, for example, has directly likened the trade war to the end of the Korean conflict, saying China was determined to oppose US bullying as trade negotiations entered their 17th month. While Beijing has never given an official account of its decision to join the Korean war, it is often portrayed as a necessary intervention to shield China from US aggression. The Battle of Triangle Hill has often been presented in China’s official media as a victory by the “volunteers” of the People’s Liberation Army over foreign aggressors. News of the production has raised avid discussion on Chinese social media, with many seeing the new film as part of China’s efforts to reinforce surging Chinese nationalism in the face of growing pressure from the West. “Isn’t the approval [to make the film] a strong signal to the West that we are now a strong power?” one Weibo microblogger wrote.