What is Steve Bannon’s new film, Claws of the Red Dragon, all about?
And why does he describe Chinese telecom giant Huawei as “the greatest national security threat we have ever faced”?
How does President Trump differ from previous presidents, both Democratic and Republican, in his approach towards China?
What did previous administrations fundamentally misunderstand about China and the ruling communist regime?
And what is the role of Wall Street and Western business leaders in funding and empowering the Chinese Communist Party?
And, how can we expect the Hong Kong protests to play out?
This is American Thought Leaders 🇺🇸, and I’m Jan Jekielek.
Today we sit down with Steve Bannon, former White House chief strategist to President Donald Trump, and former executive chairman of Breitbart News. He is also the Co-Founder of the Committee on the Present Danger: China.
We discuss how, in Bannon’s view, the Chinese communist elites have gained power and wealth through access to Western capital and technology, and used that power to stifle dissent and advance their self-serving global ambitions.
And we look at the threat of Chinese telecom giant Huawei and its ties to the People’s Liberation Army, which are spotlighted in a new film produced by Bannon called “Claws of the Red Dragon.”
Jan Jekielek: Steve Bannon, excellent to have you on American Thought Leaders.
Stephen Bannon: Listen, thank you so much for having me.
Mr. Jekielek: Steve, so in September, you’re going to be releasing “Claws of the Red Dragon,” a film that’s going to expose Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant. Tell me more.
Mr. Bannon: Well, one of the issues about Huawei, it’s the technological arm of the PLA. It’s a driver in 5G and quantum computing throughout the world. And whether it’s Western Europe, Canada, the United States, or Australia, people, particularly citizens, don’t really understand what’s in back of Huawei, the deception, what’s been in this indictment. So New Tang Dynasty TV was making a pilot for the beginning of a series. I got involved a couple of months ago, and I said, listen, this is exactly what the Canadian people and the American people need to see, which is a drama, not a documentary … Great acting, great photography, great music to really allow the citizen to understand what the situation is with Huawei. So I’m very excited.
This is a very powerful film. It talks about the arrest of the chief financial officer who is also the daughter of the founder. I think it opens up and explains in a dramatic form exactly what’s going on with China’s encroachment into the technology area throughout the world. People will be shocked when they see it. I’ve already tested it with some people. I’ve tested it here in the United States in Washington DC. Yes. I’ve had a couple of test screenings of the rough about a month ago. Tested it with some fairly senior people in the US government, and they were stunned by some of the revelations in the film.
And so that’s why I told Dr. Joe … we’ve really got something I think very powerful here. And what I’d like to do is make a big deal about the opening in Canada. And what I’m doing right now, I’m fielding calls from all throughout the world, Australia, Europe, and the United States, to cut distribution deals so the entire world can see this. I think they’re going to be very, very impressed.
Mr. Jekielek: That’s incredible. And Dr. Joe Wang [is] of course, the president of NTD Canada, our sister media. I’m going to read something that struck me in the press release, which kind of blew my mind a little bit. I mean, you describe Huawei as “the greatest national security threat we have ever faced.” That’s America. I mean bigger than nuclear war? This is quite the statement.
Mr. Bannon: Here’s why: the future of all technology, the backbone of the future of technology is 5G. It will be a dominant technology. Right now the path that Huawei’s taking, as a front for the PLA, is to basically take over the networks and the components throughout the world. If we allow this to happen even for a couple of more years, Huawei is going to control basically the communications systems of the West, and therefore will be able to control the West.
Even as bad as nuclear weapons are, and they’re terrible, even as bad as some of the opponents that we’ve had [which] has been terrible, that has been fairly localized, the damage that could be [done.] This is something that could actually … And it can do it in a stealth manner.
Remember we’re in 2019, and we’re finally having the conversation about Huawei because the CFO was arrested in Canada within the past year. Up until then, if you go to Europe, you see Huawei in the billboards. You see Huawei in the stores. There has been absolutely no discussion. The elites have let down the citizens of both Canada, the United States, and Western Europe. And now this film is the beginning of the exposure of that.
Mr. Jekielek: So to your point, I looked on the Huawei website, and Huawei claims to currently serve 3 billion people around the world.
Mr. Bannon: Yes.
Mr. Jekielek: It has almost 200,000 employees, penetration in 170 countries. I had someone, an old student of mine, text me and say, hey, all our cell towers around Vancouver are Huawei. Is that a problem? Wow. It feels like it’s been under the radar. How did this happen?
Mr. Bannon: Well, one of the things, you know, there’s an indictment out there. The reason she’s under house arrest in Canada today was this indictment. They want to extradite her to the United States. This indictment, when you read it … and here’s the thing, nobody in this town has read it. I’m talking about people in power have not read it. You’ve got to go read—and we’re going to put it up on the website—you’ve got to read the indictment of Huawei. It starts back in 2007. I mean this has been a history of their nefarious activity for quite a while, and it has never really gotten exposure, really hasn’t gotten any media exposure. Part of that is the misinformation campaign that the Chinese Communist Party represents.
People should understand this is not about China. It’s not about the people of China. The people of China are some of the most hardworking, decent people on earth. They’re enslaved by a radical totalitarian surveillance state of the Chinese Communist Party and really a radical cadre inside the Communist Party that suppresses, enslaves the Chinese people. Huawei is a methodology, a high-tech methodology to basically have domination over the world. And this is what this film is the beginning of the exposure of that. It’s going to cause a lot of controversy. It’s going to cause a lot of conversation. That’s what we want. We want people to start questioning this.
Mr. Jekielek: So the centerpiece of the film is this arrest of Meng, right?
Mr. Bannon: Yes. She’s the CFO, the daughter of the founder.
Mr. Jekielek: Right. And this is actually in reality what alerted everybody to this threat. It took until 2018 basically.
Mr. Bannon: Yes.
Mr. Jekielek: And this has been happening since 2007 or [inaudible].
Mr. Bannon: It’s been happening longer than that. The investigation, when you read the indictment, the investigation in the United States started in 2007. So it’s 11 years. And they’re indicted for multiple causes, right? And so when you read the indictment, you sit there and go, why did it take so long to do this? Why did both the Bush and the Obama administration kind of look the other way, while investigators at the Department of Justice and other places were pursuing this. And so people have to remember also—and we don’t really bring this up in the film because it was just too much to get done in an hour—but when she was arrested in Vancouver, it was the same time virtually that dinner is going on in Buenos Aires of president Xi and president Trump, which at that time was the most important—and it was around I think the G20 meeting. It was the most important meeting that they had had in discussions about various topics and particularly about the trade war—what I say is the economic war that the CCP has been running against the United States, Canada, and the Western democracies. While that dinner’s going on and they’re having a very tough conversation, she’s arrested during that dinner.
Mr. Jekielek: Do you think that’s intentional?
Mr. Bannon: Here’s what I think. I think that it’s not intentional. I believe that now what you’re seeing in the United States, and this is what’s changed under president Trump. It’s the reason the other day he says, ‘I am the chosen one’ and kind of tongue in cheek. But he went through a litany of Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama. Since Tiananmen square … the Western elites have looked the other way on China’s behavior. They’ve let the CCP promise and then lie, okay? Promise and then lie. Promise and then lie. And get their way the entire time. And what Trump is saying, he says, I didn’t ask for this. It’d be very easy for me to cave and to give them what they want and just kick the can down the road, which every other administration has done. But I’m not going to do that. They’re engaged in economic war against us. … They’ve been lying to us, they’ve been having cyber theft against us. We’re going to actually now confront this, and it’s not going to be totally pleasant, but it has to be done, and that’s why he says, I guess I’m the chosen one, right? But he’s made a decision. You saw today with this really throwdown that president Trump had. He’s not going to back off this.
What I think you’ve seen the sea change in the United States is that—people call it the deep state, I don’t. I think the national security apparatus, which the Justice Department is one, is now fully engaged in this economic war that China is running against us, and I think in the normal course of business in the Justice Department, they finally decided they’re going to act upon this indictment. By the way, the indictment came down from a grand jury, and that’s why they acted upon it, and they went to Canada—the nicest people in the world, right?— and convinced the Canadian authorities that you have to do this, and you must do this for your own good. This is the power of the film.
One of the powers of film, and I think this is the reason the filmmakers were so brave, is that it shows the tension in the Canadian government. This is not an easy decision. The CCP play smash mouth, right? If you don’t go along with what they want to do, they’re going to come after you. … That’s the tension in the film is what happens to decent, honest people that see the facts and decide to stand up on the side of truth and the side of justice and the side of, really, democracy.
What you’re seeing in Hong Kong is kind of played out in this film … And these are just, it’s the common citizen. When they’re called to duty of what to do, it’s very easy to look the other way. It’s very easy to let this kind of stuff go on because I’m just one little guy in an entire system. In fact, in the film you see the tension of a lot of people saying, hey look, they’re creating jobs. They’re doing this. Why don’t we just get along? Why are you guys bringing up all these problems? Why are you doing this? And what’s so powerful is these citizens, whether in media companies or Canadian citizens or in the Canadian government, that said, no, this has to stop. And we’re the ones that have to stop it.
And so I think it’s a very powerful film, and I’m very proud to be associated with it. And I hope that through my efforts we can get distribution throughout the world, and that people can start to see, in one hour of a drama, exactly what Huawei is doing.
Mr. Jekielek: And there are very real consequences. And I’m sure this is in the film. I think I saw a snippet of it in the trailer that two Canadians were arrested. And one Canadian, I believe was sentenced to death, ostensibly in retaliation or to show, hey, if you go through with this, there’s going to be political consequences.
Mr. Bannon: Look if you go throughout the history this, and we’ll be putting more up in the website as we get ready for distribution. There’s a whole history of people that have committed suicide … Professors or researchers that have just decided to fall off buildings. … In China in the last couple of years, you’ve had over a thousand, either people disappear, be put in prison, commit suicide, or just so happen to get depressed and fall off a 40 story building. All these kinds of random events are happening among people that are crossing the CCP.
In this film, you see that. You see that they fight back. One of the ways they fight back is to go after Canadian citizens. Some Canadian citizen maybe already broke the law and other Canadian citizens that haven’t broken the law, they kind of round them up … This is what you see in this film, what the young people in Hong Kong are fighting for, the extradition bill. Because once you’re in mainland China, the only rules are the house rules, and the house rules are controlled by the CCP. There’s no rule of law. Okay? It’s whatever they say goes.
And you see this with these Canadian citizens. It’s one of the tensions in the film as even the members of the Canadian government are saying, hey, look, we have a lot of people over there, expatriates that are working, that are on a missionary work or are doing things for NGOs. They’re going to be exposed. And that’s the way the CCP plays. But you have people back in Canada saying, hey, look, that’s essentially extortion. We have to do what’s right. It’s one of the powers of the film that you see everyday people that have to make these decisions. And I think that the film is a profile in courage, and I think it represents the Canadian people extremely well.
Mr. Jekielek: Sounds incredible. Something just struck me, I don’t know if you want to speak to this now, but the CCP, the Chinese Communist Party, it’s not the government of China. It’s kind of this parasitic organization that sits on top of all aspects of government and society. That that’s how I understand it.
Mr. Bannon: Yes, a parasitic—I would actually say it’s a gangster organization. … And that’s why the only way to me that you’re going to understand the CCP is as a parasitic or a mafia-type operation. These are criminals that don’t abide by any rule of law. What they’ve done to enslave the Chinese people is outrageous. What they’ve done to the Uyghers, what they’ve done to the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Buddhists, what they’ve done to the Evangelical Christians, what they’ve done to Falun Gong. What they’ve done to the underground Catholic Church is unacceptable. It’s unacceptable in a modern age that people that want to fulfill their own spiritual beliefs are not just suppressed, but actively gone after.
I think also, if you look, there’s no rule of law. So any entrepreneur, they decide … that they just want to take their business, they take their business, [if] they want to take their assets, they take their assets.
Listen, the people in Hong Kong are among the most orderly and decent folks on earth. If you’ve ever been there, It’s basically a rock island with no resources that the grit and determination of the Chinese people coupled with English common law has created the third greatest capital market in the world. These are amazing people … And they’re hardworking, and they’ve been historically apolitical. What Hong Kong is about is business, okay? And focus.
And here you see every week now millions of people in the streets very polite with the umbrellas, cleaning up afterwards, kids studying, refusing to back down. And what are they doing? They’re saying this extradition bill is actually their step to totally do away with the rule of law and be able to come in and take me, whatever they want to do, and send me to mainland China to some prison, that I have to be in a Chinese court. And this film shows you what a Chinese court’s like. They show you how a Chinese court can basically just make up the rules as the CCP wants to make it up.
So yes, I don’t consider the CCP legitimate. What I consider it is a gangster organization … Remember, the CCP, the Chinese Communist Party is the Frankenstein monster created by the elites in the West—the capital provided by the elites in the West, the technology that’s provided by the elites the West.
We could shut down Huawei in 30 days if you denied Huawei, the component technology that they need. The Chairman CEO said the other day, one day before we announced the film, that Huawei is now in a life or death struggle with the West, and that the West could literally shut it down. They’re trying to make the best case that it’s a fine corporate citizen. We’re trying to make the case that no, it’s not a corporate citizen. It’s a branch of the People’s Liberation Army. It’s an intelligence branch. It has to be stopped. People should watch this film, and they should question everything they see in this film. They should demand that we back this up, and we are going to back this up on our website and as we go around the country and Canada and the United States and talk about it.
Mr. Jekielek: Well, I imagine you’ll be digging into some of Epoch Times reporting because we detailed the evidence around the links of Huawei and the CCP extensively. It’s stunning, right?
Mr. Bannon: Listen, the reason I wanted to do this interview, I have said for a long time, China’s been one of my big focuses. One of the reasons I came into the Trump campaign. At Breitbart for years, we were talking about the the threat, of not a rising China, [but] the threat of the Chinese Communist Party, and how it’s getting more radicalized over time, and how it had hegemonic designs on the world. And it was really the reporting of The Epoch Times that so impressed me. … Who are the writers of this paper here because you don’t really hear much about it, but the reporting is so amazing. So one of the ways I learned about Huawei was reading The Epoch Times and of course we’ve done additional research, but I have to tell you, The Epoch Times has led the reporting on so many different verticals in China today I think to give you a pretty good picture of the enslavement of the Chinese people.
With this thing, they call it a trade war [that] President Trump’s in. He’s not. This an economic war that the Chinese Communist Party has visited on the West, the industrial democracies. And what we have today, we have a world system that’s half slave and half free. … They’ve enslaved the workers of China, okay? And they have taken basically all the value away from them. They give them de minimis wages, no health care, terrible environmental conditions, no pensions, or virtually no pensions, and they’re worked to death to make cheaper goods for the West at slave wages. And that’s what this whole battle is about.
The defining event, I believe, in the first half of the 21st century, is the freedom of the Chinese people. Only the Chinese people can free the Chinese people. Can’t come from the Westerners. It can’t come from outsiders. What we can do is, I think what president Trump’s doing, is put the spotlight on people like Xi. Put the spotlight on Wang Qishan, put the spotlight on the stability force, put the spotlight on what they do to the Uyghurs, on what they do to the Falun Gong, what they do to the underground Christian church, the underground Catholic Church, the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Buddhists, and all the decent kids in Hong Kong. You see the mask ripped off them. When you see the tear gas, you see the beatings, you see the rubber bullets, you see exactly what they are. This is a gangster organization that doesn’t believe in any individual rights.
Mr. Jekielek: I wanted to get back to the Hong Kong question in a moment with you. I think it’s fascinating, absolutely fascinating what you’re saying. When it comes to Huawei, at this point you’re saying in 30 days, Huawei could be brought to a standstill. How would that look like?
Mr. Bannon: I think basically you cut them off from their component pieces. Remember president Trump, the other day, last weekend, he said, hey, I’m going to make a decision on Huawei tonight. And if I call them a national security concern, we can literally shut them off from their component pieces. And these guys will be essentially, I think, out of business in 30 to 60 days, just like ZTE could have been. President Trump and the Department of Commerce gave them an extension for another 90 days because of some business relationships they have in the United States. But I think this is going to be under further review. Huawei is very susceptible to being shut down. …. Look, these are not my words, this is their chairman and founder who says they’re in a life or death struggle right now. They fully realize that.
And one of the reasons they’re in a life and death struggle [is that] this is all now getting exposed. So all the billboards, and the 170 countries and the cell towers, your friend saying, hey, do I have a problem—all these cell towers of Huawei, is that a problem? … From The Epoch Times, it’s now getting into the mainstream media. The New York Times reports it every day. The Wall Street Journal reports it every day. You’re seeing TV coverage. CNN’s covering it. So as people ask more questions, they’re not comfortable with the answers.
Mr. Jekielek: So the president … I’ve read a number of columns … people are worried that the president, one is too friendly with Xi Jinping, and secondly, they’re worried that he’s going to go too easy on Huawei, which indeed they see as a kind of existential threat to America and the world. What do you think about that?
Mr. Bannon: I’m glad we’re having this interview today on Friday because I think the friendship, quote unquote with president Xi and president Trump probably ended today when China came back and tried to play smash mouth, raised tariffs on these American goods. President Trump immediately went back and not just raised tariffs. … He alluded to his emergency powers as president. He gave a warning shot to American corporations. He says, now is the time to come home and manufacture your goods in the United States. I’m ordering you to bring your manufacturing back to the United States.
Well, people think, well, hey, we live in a free market capitalist society, the president … his mandate doesn’t go to ordering corporations to go where they want. Well, he does have emergency powers. There’s very defined emergency powers in the [International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977]. And I think if you look at how we have gone through … When I was in the administration, laid out these tariffs … I think the president is sending a warning shot to corporate America that the Chinese Communist Party has engaged in economic warfare against the West for a number of decades. President Trump is the first person to stand up. The first president to stand up. He’s not going to back off, but I think he’s given fair warning to the corporations.
This economic war, which trade is a part of, it is not going to end on Monday morning. It’s going to go for a ways, and you’ve been warned. I’ve been trying to tell you that it’s not a stable environment over there to invest, but you better start thinking about bringing your supply chain back to the West. And I think today was a seminal day. I think president Trump transcended his presidency today and really became the leader that he was destined to be.
Mr. Jekielek: It’s fascinating because I was speaking with General Robert Spalding a little while ago on American Thought Leaders, and he described this scenario of what it would look like if the U.S. disengaged from the Chinese economy. He felt that’s something that has to happen. What are your thoughts?
Mr. Bannon: Yes. In fact, that’s the one I was trying to remember. That’s the one I just saw the other day. I know General Spalding, worked with me in the White House. He’s a specialist we brought in. He’s one of the most knowledgeable individuals in the world, not just on China because his military attaché there, but also on 5G. It was his 5G plan that was leaked to the press, that led to Spalding going back to the Defense Department, eventually retiring and coming out and working in the private sector. He is someone who was a brilliant interview. And I recommend everybody watch it because his level of depth of knowledge is pretty astounding.
Listen, one of the issues we face … Remember, people always talked about Thucydides trap that we in the West were the declining power, and China was the rising power. That’s a lie. That’s the same lie that Graham Adelson and Henry Kissinger ran this whole deal back in the early 1970s about the Soviet Union. … When I was … [a] naval officer, I was taking courses at the Naval War College. The first thing you had to learn about is the Peloponnesian War, Sparta and Athens, because you had to learn about this whole concept, Thucydides, the Peloponnesian War. We had this concept of the rising power, the declining power, and how the declining power … if they played it smart, they could avoid a massive war. But they had you convinced that the Soviet Union was the rising power, and we were the declining power. It turned out it was the exact opposite.
Ronald Reagan came into office, and he had a new set of analysis done and they realized that the economy, they had the math wrong, the economy in the Soviet Union was only half as big as they thought. They had a basically a 50% miss and that led to his war plan to destroy the Soviet Union, basically with economic warfare.
President Trump being a businessman didn’t believe all the happy talk he’s heard from America’s elites and the world elites about the rising power of China. China is paper tiger. The CCP economy is built on a house of sand. We know that it’s highly over-leveraged, okay? It’s like a failed leveraged buyout. And president Trump knows that. The people in the Treasury Department know that. The people in the capital markets … What’s happened is the West continues to give them access to capital and access to technology, either through forced technology transfers where we basically just acquiesce, or [we] allow them to steal it. And in some cases just have them buy it outright for the surveillance state, which is unacceptable.
But president Trump is now standing up to that. President Trump is saying, no, we know we’re engaged in economic war, and we’re going to win this. Just bear with me … He’s the stabilizing force, but he’s put Xi on notice that he’s not prepared to back down.
Mr. Jekielek: You’ve just reminded me, you said at one point several months ago that Wall Street acts as the investment relations arm of the CCP. I believe that was the quote.
Mr. Bannon: Yes the quote.
Mr. Jekielek: Can you explain that? And actually how has that changed over the last four months I think?
Well they’ve been put on notice. Remember, in corporations that go public that need access to capital markets, they have two things: they have an IR department that explains what they’re trying to do, and they have a lobbyist. And here’s the analogy I make: Wall Street is the investor relations department for the Chinese Communist Party, because they’re the ones that raise capital for them. The corporations are the lobbyists.
Remember when Liu He, in the height of the trade negotiations a couple of months ago, when Liu He came to the United States, his first day before he goes to the White House, the Treasury Department, where negotiators see the president, his first two days are spent on Capitol Hill. We’re on Capitol Hill right now. He’s over there in the halls of Congress meeting all these free traders who are well-intentioned and have this kind of soft gauzy notion that they read in Adam Smith about free trade, not understanding that you have a gangster organization that runs a totalitarian mercantilist state. Okay, so Liu He goes there, and he’s the cheerleader for globalization. He’s the cheerleader for free trade. And they’re all saying Liu He’s the greatest.
Then the next stop, he goes and has lunch with like the hundred biggest corporations in China, because they’re the lobbyists and [inaudible] he says hey fellas, we’ve got a problem… Or fellas, you have a problem. And the problem is you have a guy in the White House that actually looks like he means what he says. And that’s a problem for you guys, and you’ve got to solve it. Wall Street’s the cheerleader. And corporate America has been the lobbyist. And it’s the working men and women in the middle class in this country [who] have paid the price.
Remember, over the last 20 years, we’ve de-industrialized the United States, and we shipped those manufacturing jobs to China. We shipped the manufacturing jobs to China; they sent in the opioids and the fentanyl to go into the old manufacturing areas in Ohio and Pennsylvania and Michigan where that depression and angst, right, and fear because the manufacturing jobs have left, and people are left with no futures. And so what did they do in that anxiety? They turn to fentanyl, they turn to opioids. This is not just a crisis. It’s a tragedy of the United States.
Donald Trump, the central reason he’s president of the United States is this: He said, we have to return America to her former greatness. We have to make America great again. And the way we’re going to do that, we’re going to confront the Chinese Communist Party. Wall Street has shipped those jobs over there, and I am going to break them back. And today, you saw in this confrontation is exactly what it is. This is the fulfillment of his basic campaign promise. He told the little guy … not in the room, not in the deal. You have not been in the room for 25 or 30 years. You’re now in the room, and I’m your voice. And that has been the sea change.
And that’s what Xi and Wang Qishan, they don’t know how to handle this. The party at Davos always say how sophisticated they are, how nuanced they are, how smart they are. Trump’s, you know, this barbarian. If you look at the way they’ve handled the trade relationships with Trump, if you look at the way they’ve handled Hong Kong, this is not a subtle group. They have people that have to kind of react to their aggression, and if they don’t act and stand up, Trump being one, the kids in the streets in Hong Kong being the other, they don’t know how to do it. All of a sudden they panic, and you see herky jerky moves. That’s why I think you’re seeing now a confrontation with a totalitarian, dictatorship that does not know how to handle the freedom and free men and women in the West, whether that’s in Canada or whether it’s on the streets of Hong Kong, and that’s why they’re going to collapse.
Mr. Jekielek: So ordering these companies to come back, how does that work? I’m trying to imagine.
Mr. Bannon: I think first it’s job owning. First off, he does have this power in the emergency act. I don’t know if you remember the scene in “Lincoln,” the fabulous movie by Steven Spielberg, where Lincoln’s hearing about the 14th Amendment, and all this trading he’s doing to try to free the slaves with a statutory change, not just to win the Civil War, but … change it in our Constitution, [so] that it’s abandoned forever. As he said, it’ll live forever. We’ll never have to go back and debate this again. And he’s just getting guys that want to trade post offices. And finally he’s had enough of it. He bangs on the table and stands up. He says, I’m the president of United States endowed with almost unlimited power, right? And everybody shuts up. And the next thing you know, you’ve got the 14th Amendment.
The way the founders and the framers structured the constitution. The president has checks and balances as he should in normal times. In crisis times or emergency times, the president has tremendous power, tremendous executive power to act for the good of the nation. And people said over this last week, oh, president Trump is crazy. That’d be the 25th Amendment. He’s tweeting out all this crazy stuff. What? You see the signal in the noise? That’s the noise. The signal is one of stability and saying, hey, I’m a rock, right?
Every administration, every president of both political parties—this doesn’t mean Democrat or Republican—have folded. When it came into the spotlight with the Chinese, they folded and let the Chinese do what they want to do, and that’s why we’re in this situation. And that’s why Donald Trump is taking that mantle, and he’s not about to back down. I think you’re seeing now his greatness. I think you’re seeing his rise to greatness as a president.
Mr. Jekielek: So why have all these past presidents folded as you describe?
Mr. Bannon: Well, it’s very simple. It’s the same pressure that’s on President Trump. It’s the IR department and the lobbyists. They folded because [of] Wall Street and the corporations. They always fold for the same reason. They fold because the corporate interests come to them and say, oh, we can’t do it. Think about Trump’s trade negotiations. The biggest grief he’s gotten is from the Republican Party. These guys say, oh, we’re all for free trade. Well, he sits there going, hey, I’m for free trade too. That’s not what we have right now. We have a totalitarian mercantilist system that we’ve allowed to kind of metastasize. That’s what I’m against. The reason every administrator has folded is because of money and power. …
And it’s not that people were bad people, they folded because they were always told … Here’s the lie they were told and what the elites in this country believed … if you see from the time we brought the Chinese into the World Trade Organization and gave them Most Favored Nation status, that as China became materialistically wealthier, as they started to develop a middle-class, they would become more of a free market and a democracy with rule of law, and they become more open and a real citizen of the world.
And we’ve seen the exact opposite. In the last 20 years, the CCP has become more radical. They become more dangerous, they become more corrupt, they become more gangster-like, and why is that? Because they have a totalitarian system. They run for their own twelve or fifteen families that essentially skims the money off the top and then tries to money launder into the West and to buy real estate in New York City or the city of London. You go to Belgravia, you go to the West End of London. A lot of that is Chinese money—Chinese money, not from the Chinese people, not from the hardworking “Old Hundred Names” that breaks his back every day in a factory for a buck a day.
That’s from the elites in the Chinese Communist Party that have skimmed the money off the top of the slave labor of China, money-laundered it through banks and investment banks, and bought real estate and hard assets in the West…
People know what’s going on. This is why the elites have no moral authority. Let’s go back in time to the third week of January of 2017. There are two speeches that take place that week. On Wednesday you have president Xi [who] goes to Davos, in front of Davos Man, right? All the top consultants and law firms, accounting firms, banks, investment banks, hedge funds, the elite of the elite in this elite Swiss ski resort, right? They’re all there. And he comes and gives a speech on globalization and the Financial Times and the Economist, he’s on the cover, and he’s Davos Man. He talks about globalization. He says, we’re the future, and we’re running this project, and it’s making money for everybody. And he is lauded. He’s given a conquering hero’s welcome.
Two days later, Donald Trump gives what’s called the American carnage speech, but what that speech did is very systematically go through what we called the Westphalian system and say, hey, the basic unit of freedom and governance is the nation-state, and citizens that can hold politicians accountable within that nation-state. Within those three days, you had the juxtaposition of the globalization project as seen by the CCP and cheered on by Davos, and you had the Westphalian system of the nation-state.
Here is what the tragedy and the crime is. Remember all those guys in Davos, those men and women, they all deal in one thing, information, right? And the movement of symbols. Whether that’s in investment banking or in marketing, accounting, law, etc. They’re the smartest from the best schools in the world. They know everything throughout the world. That’s why they’re there. That’s why they’re the smartest guys in the room. The party of Davos knows everything, right? That’s why they’re Davos Man.
They know about the Dalai Lama, and the Tibetan Buddhist. They know about the Uyghurs. They know about Falun Gong. They know about the underground Christian Church and Catholic Church. They know about the live organ harvesting. They know all of it, and they don’t care. When they see Xi, they see a hero. Why? It means more money. It means higher stock prices. It means lower slave labor, right?
They have no moral authority. They have totally bought into a system that’s completely corrupt, and they know all about it and they’re prepared to look the other way and mock a Donald Trump and say, oh, he’s the barbarian. He’s the wild man. He’s the disruptor to the system—when they are the ones that have gone on. The blood and the guilt is on their hands.
Everybody that lauds Xi, everybody that dined Wang Qishan, they’re going to be held accountable by history for what went on in this time and place, what went on in China, and what they knew about and looked the other way.
Mr. Jekielek: So you’re kind of suggesting there’s going to be a reckoning.
Mr. Bannon: There’s a reckoning, and there’s a reckoning happening now as people …that’s one of the things about this Huawei movie. As common citizens start to learn, where they know something hasn’t been quite right, as they start to get more information, as things like The Epoch Times continues to report and is indefatigable and won’t be turned off and continues to report the truth. As other mainstream media is now—everybody’s covering China. It’s the big story, right? Two years ago when Donald Trump took office, it wasn’t the big story. This was Donald Trump’s action that made it the big story.
As we peel away layer by layer, layer by layer, you see more and more. Look what’s happening in Hong Kong. Twelve weeks ago, nobody covered it. This weekend it was the big story on Drudge. Right? Now everybody’s focused on Hong Kong. Everybody’s now focused on these kids, say hey look, we’re the best educated kids in the world. We’re the nerds that are always doing our homework. We’re not going to school. We may have an actual strike on the secondary schools and the colleges.
People are paying attention and what they see everyday is what Davos has known for a long time, that the Chinese Communist Party is a gangster organization. It’s enslaved the Chinese people. It’s brutalized people that have looked to have spiritual fulfillment. It’s not acceptable in the modern world. The elites of the modern world have looked the other way and cashed out, and it’s working class people throughout the world [who have] said, hey, we’ve had a belly full of this. And we’re going to put an end to it. And that’s what Donald Trump’s fighting for.
Mr. Jekielek: Speaking of Hong Kong, based on everything you just said, it doesn’t look good for the people of Hong Kong. Or what do you think?
Mr. Bannon: I think that people of Hong Kong … you know, people always trashed the millennials as they’re lazy, they’re unfocused, they want everything handed to them. I say, hey, look at the millennials in Hong Kong. Those young men and women are exactly what the patriots of 1776 were in the United States. They have the grit, they have the determination, they have the indefatigability. They are not going to back down. They’ve been tear-gassed, they’ve been beaten, they’ve had rubber bullets shot at them. And time and time again they show up. I think they’re heroes of the modern world.
I think they deserve to be nominated for and win the Nobel Prize for peace because they have shown what free men and women will do to stand up against a totalitarian dictatorship. And they are a lesson not just for this age but for all ages. And that’s why I think it’s so remarkable what’s going on. We are seeing history made in real time, and what’s going on in Hong Kong every day is making history.
And yes, the CCP eventually, I think, is going to say, hey, we’ve had enough of this, right? This is like Tiananmen. We’ve done it long enough, but you’re not going to go back to work. You’re not going to play by our rules. We’re the Chinese Communist Party, and we can break you. And we will break you. And I have said the moment they force the Chinese Communist Party to do that, the moment they force them for another Tiananmen, that’s the beginning of the end of the Chinese Communist Party. The Chinese Communist Party, I don’t think, can sustain in the modern world another Tiananmen.
Mr. Jekielek: Why? Because they will no longer have the perception of a moral authority or?
Mr. Bannon: Yes, I think the world, I think they [will] start to get shut off from the world in technology. I think they [will] get shut off from the world in capital markets. And most importantly, I think even with the firewall, the contagion of freedom will start to spread in China. And I think people will realize if they’re prepared to do that there, they’re going to come and do it here. And I think the people in China are going to stand up.
The only people that can free the Chinese people are the Chinese people. And I think the Chinese people are going to come to a situation where they said, we’ve had enough of this. We’ve had enough of 100,000 people or 50,000 people, ruling a country of 1.4 billion and stealing all our money, stealing all our wealth, taking it for themselves, making us live in a totalitarian surveillance state, a police state, and in some cases concentration camps, to have live organ harvesting, to be able to suppress the great religions of the world, of people that just want to practice their faith or practice their religions. I think people in mainland China are going to look to Hong Kong as an example and say, no, we’re prepared to do what they do. I think if the Chinese Communist Party thinks that they can get away with another Tiananmen in the modern world, I think they’re going to come in for a big shock.
Mr. Jekielek: It just strikes me as you say this, it’s almost like if we believe your scenario that the Hong Kong protesters almost can’t lose because they either win it for themselves or they win it for everyone, right?
Mr. Bannon: Well listen, it’s easy to say theoretically when we’re sitting in Washington D.C. If you are in the streets and getting beaten and getting tear-gassed and having your head broken up or the young girl that had her eye put out with a rubber bullet, if it continues on, there’ll be a lot more of that because I don’t think the Chinese communist party will back off their brutality.
So I think it is a win for the ages, and I think it will be a win for China. I think the freedom of China starts in Hong Kong. I think it’s going to spread from there. That’s why I think these kids, I say they’re exactly like the patriots in 1776… And this is what I tell every show I go on, I said if you’re an adult at home, and you’ve kind of given up on kids, and you’ve given up on the modern age, and you say, gosh, I wish I was back during the revolution, I really would have been motivated because I was seeing all these great patriots. You can see that today. Cut the TV on, go on Youtube, and have your kids watch what these kids in Hong Kong are doing. See how they’re standing up for freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of speech. They’re free market capitalists. Many of them are Christians. To me, it’s very motivating to see young people that are not prepared to back down in the face of totalitarian brutality.
Mr. Jekielek: Steve, these are very, very powerful words from you. Let’s finish up with a little bit about the film. I noticed there’s a journalist that’s the central character in the film, and she’s basically a real person, right?
Mr. Bannon: Based upon a real person.
Mr. Jekielek: So the reason we have a lot of this footage is because of these journalists in Hong Kong, basically doing things that are potentially very threatening to them. Similarly, this journalist is also in this sort of situation?
Mr. Bannon: Yes, absolutely. You see it’s ordinary people put into extraordinary circumstances that rise above it and show us what the great attributes of human nature are. This film is a profile in courage, but it comes in a very tense situation where people are making moral trade-offs all the time. That’s the power of the film. You see the unrelenting power of the Chinese Communist Party in its technology arm Huawei that will stop at nothing to achieve its goals, achieve its ends. And what you have is the basic common citizens of Canada that just one day wake up, and this woman’s been arrested. And that starts the movie. And you see what happens in the courts. You see what happens in the jail. You see what happens, Canadians in China. You see the tensions in the government of Canada, right? With just ordinary people who are government bureaucrats or diplomats. You see that tension, and you see all the pressure people come under when it’s so easy—what the world has done, what the party of Davos has done is look the other way. It’s so easy just to look the other way: Let me make my money, let me have my lifestyle.
The central part with this young woman who’s a journalist and her fiance is the fact that life is good for them. They now have, they’re starting to have—they come from very humble roots—and they now have the nice apartment and the nice lifestyle and everything like that, and it could potentially be jeopardized. The tension of the film is it could be jeopardized by her relentless pursuit of the truth. And the audience is left to sit there and say, well, the pursuit of truth and pursuit of your higher moral self comes at a great cost. It’s just like in Hong Kong, there is a huge cost they are paying. They’re being jailed, they’re being beaten. They are being [told] your careers are ruined, your careers are finished. This is a high cost in the modern society, and yet they refuse to back down. And I think in the movie, the power of it, based upon a true story, is you see these citizens that will not back down. They will rise up to their higher, highest self.
Mr. Jekielek: Steve Bannon, such a pleasure to have you on American Thought Leaders.
Mr. Bannon: Thank you so much. Love the show. Glad to be on.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.