(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump’s re-election could hinge on the outcome of his trade war with China. As markets wobble and central bankers gather in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to consider the fallout, a familiar combatant is about to lob a bomb designed to fire up the president and intensify his focus on China.
Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon, never one for subtlety, has produced a new film called “Claws of the Red Dragon” attacking Huawei Technologies Co., the Chinese telecommunications giant Trump has forbidden U.S. companies from doing business with over concerns about its ties to the Chinese government.
Bannon’s goal is to steel Trump’s resolve to confront China — a resolve that seemed to weaken when markets plunged in early August and the administration granted Huawei a 90-day reprieve. Bannon hopes “Claws of the Red Dragon” is sufficiently alarmist that Trump puts off worries about a recession and presses ahead with tariffs.
“The central issue in the 2020 presidential campaign is going to be the economic war with China: manufacturing jobs, currency, capital markets and technology,” Bannon said in an interview. “Huawei is a key part of that, and this film will highlight why it must be shut down.
Unlike Bannon’s earlier films — high-intensity right-wing documentaries — “Claws of the Red Dragon” is a moody action-drama with professional actors “inspired by the 2018 arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer and daughter of the founder of Huawei Technologies,” according to a press release.
The movie follows fictional Chinese-Canadian journalist Jane Li, whose reporting exposes her to what Bannon and the filmmakers allege to be Huawei’s countless perfidies, including ties to the Chinese Communist Party and the country’s military.
Meng remains under house arrest in Canada as her lawyers fight attempts by the U.S. to extradite her in a sanctions case. Both she and the company deny wrongdoing. After her arrest, China detained two Canadian citizens, who are still in custody.
While anyone can watch the official trailer, Bannon’s project appears aimed mainly at an audience of one.
“One of my objectives is to get a screening for President Trump at the White House,” he said.
The film will first appear on Canadian television in mid-September. It was released by New Tang Dynasty Television. Bannon is working to arrange U.S. distribution.
- The Democratic National Committee meets until Saturday in San Francisco. Most of the top presidential candidates -- except Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg -- will speak to members on Friday.
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