Public health An American term for an incident at a nuclear power station in which a reactor core melts the ground under the reactor, figuratively burrowing its way to China, named after the Hollywood movie of the same name. See Three-Mile Island Vox populi Current business-speak for relocating manufacturing operations to China to reduce labour costs
(It was the fear of a meltdown that had given The China Syndrome its tide, from the hypothetical idea of a radioactive reactor core melting down through the reactor's steel-reinforced containment floor and penetrating the Earth's crust, all the way to the other side of the planet.)
When she wasn't agitating, Fonda was starring in a long run of zeitgeisty films besides Barbarello, Klute, and The China Syndrome. A partial list includes Cat Ballou; They Shoot Horses, Don't They?; Julia; Coming Home; 9 to 5; and On Golden Pond.
Acknowledging the concern, and taking steps to sidestep manufacturing's version of the China Syndrome, progressive companies are taking a hard look their core competencies and asking themselves the question, "What are we good at?" For example, a refrigerator company might conclude that it has become more of a packaging and marketing expert and realize it has no need to be as involved in making the actual refrigeration parts.
The China syndrome extended into 2001: When Bush apologized to Beijing for the shooting down of a Chinese plane that spring, Kristol and Robert Kagan complained in The Weekly Standard that the president had brought a "profound national humiliation" upon the United States and enjoined it to rescind China's trade benefits.
Fears of the so-called "China Syndrome" are probably exaggerated and dire predictions of the immediate demise of the maquiladora industries in Mexico are greatly exaggerated, not to mention clearly premature.