tv CNN Special Report CNN November 28, 2021 9:00pm-10:00pm PST
the iron rule of xi jinping. >> strong man, authoritarian dictator that he has become. >> he's the most powerful man in the world today. >> he created a personality cult around himself. >> his vast ambition. >> the chinese military grown dramatically over the course of the last few years. we deserve this. we want this. and we are going to take this. >> the threat to america. >> you want to man handle china? >> no. none of that is acceptable to the chinese government. >> controlling the chinese people. >> east, west, north, south, the party must control all. >> hundreds of millions of surveillance cameras and drones. >> big brother is always watching. >> there is the freedom to get rich.
>> lamborghinis and ferraris, and a lot of people were getting very, very rich. >> but get too rich, and you may disappear. >> where is jack ma? >> publicly criticizing the chinese authorities. you can't do that in china. >> fight the system? xi jinping will meet you with massive force. religion can make you an enemy of the state. >> cultural genocide is going on here. >> what is the end game for china's supreme leader, xi jinping? >> china's time is now. >> china has risen. ♪ good evening. i'm fareed zakaria. one and five people on this planet lives in china. 1.4 billion people.
and their rise has been remarkable. cities three times the size of new york sprung up out of dusty farm fields. 800 million people climbed from poverty to the middle class. beijing now has more billionaires than any other city in the world. china is of course a dictatorship. it forbids political expression, religious freedom. i think aer the government and you can simply disappear. for years this once close -- closed country seemed to be opening up. not anymore. one man has changed the course of history. china's supreme leader, xi jinping. should the u.s. be afraid? should the world? polls show they already are. more than 80% of americans do not trust president xi. the numbers are similar in democracies across the globe. and now, new fears about chain's
growing military might. who is xi jinping? what does he want? let's start with two crucial days this year. the beating heart of democracy. the u.s. capitol. the beating heart of communism. tiananmen square. the certification of the new american president. the 1 hundredth anniversary of the communist party. a triumphant china bursting with pride, marching as one. in washington, americans at war with each other, tearing democracy apart. >> the chinese government saw that. xi jinping is said to have watched january 6th with
revulsion. >> that cannot happen in china. no. none of that is acceptable to the chinese government. >> that was a moment of the chinese saying, those americans, they're not who they think they are, and they're not who we think they are. >> he sees the united states as in a real decline, and he sees a lot of dysfunctionality in american society. systemic racism, black lives matter, political gridlock in washington, the trump years and charlottesville. >> they see themselves as promoting order against the forces of chaos and increasingly they see the united states as representing the forces of chaos. >> there was a time when xi loved america, especially the heartland town in iowa.
he studied farming there in the 1980s. then came back just as he was about to bm the president of china. i feel, he says, like i'm coming home. >> i want to welcome vice president xi to the oval office. >> xi also went to the white house. and in l.a., he took in a lakers game. >> self-confident and gregarious. even westernized in his way. >> america was charmed. >> it was inappropriate, but i love that man. >> so how did that xi jinping, viewed with so much hope -- how did he become this xi jinping? >> xi jinping making a veiled threat against the united states. >> anyone who tries to bully china, he says, will be banging its head bloody against a great
wall of steel. >> this indelible phrase that struck people around the world. >> many china scholars do not recognize the xi jinping they see now. >> i didn't see -- i don't think any of us saw the kind of dictatorial sycophantic control freak that he has become. >> china is much more of a dictatorship today. >> because of xi jinping. >> that's a recipe for series danger. >> xi jinping is the most repressive leader china has seen since chairman mao. in just the last few months he has handed down dozens of new orders. they see greater state control over everything from education to technology to entertainment. >> things as simple as who you can admire in the movies, every piece of entertainment culture. >> no more efemmement men on
television. china calls them sissy men. >> which rock stars you want to support, and how much you want to idolize them. >> also forbidden, karaoke songs that endanger national unity. many video games no longer allowed. >> the chinese public begins to say well, hold on, you want control of what's in my heart and what's in my mind? what's left for me? that's a very dangerous thing actually. a risky thing for the government to do. >> china has always censored the internet, but now it's scrubbing its own homemade entertainment. popular television shows and movies have disappeared. and, of course, there is no google, no facebook and no snap chat and no instagram. some of that predated xi, but he has doubled down on a separate chinese technospill. >> the chinese government says
we are going to separate, we don't want a worldwide web. >> they have tens of millions of monitors of social media 24/7. >> watching and taking down postings like whacka mole. >> step by step over the years xi jinping has been in power, he has been eating away at the domains of autonomy of chinese life and consolidating them into the hands of the party. >> first came mao, the founder, then do xiaoping, the reformer. and nowx xi, bringing the communist party back into dominance everywhere. >> the chinese government really now controls you know the physical environment the chinese people through hundreds of millions of surveillance cameras
and drones that can identify a chinese person through facial recognition, or even by how a chinese person walks. and all of this information is transmitted back to china's public security bureaus instant contain usely. >> >> surveillance system that's unprecedented. this is orwell on steroids. that includes watching xi jinping's app on your cell phone. >> the xi app is on many chinese phones. its purpose is help to study xi jinping's thought. that's right, study what he thinks about everything. >> xi jinping's sayings, his speeches and activities and party dogma and take quizzes and they have to report those quizzes to the local party head of their work unit. >> there is even a game show, how much do you know?
how much do you know with xi jinping thought? much of xi jinping thought is communist ideology and the central roll he believes it should play in chinese life. but there lie as central conflict. he is preaching strict adherence to socialism in a country where capitalism has been exploding for decades. >> the socialist economy that was also one of the most ravenous consumers of lugsy goods things like lamborghinis and ferraris and row elections and louis vuitton. >> the rich have been getting richer, and in some cases more decadent. there is a school for butlers. and a finishing school for children of the rich. young chinese billionaires often behave as badly as their counterparts around the world. >> translator: it's like raising
a child. i have deep affection for my dog. >> this young man started a chinese version of pets.com, then used his money to build a mansion for his dog. xi is now cracking down on all kinds of private enterprise. >> he doesn't have a problem with them getting rich. but he wants them to get rich in a patriotic way. >> at the point at which it began to feel as if it was brushing up against the outer edges of his power and authority, that's the points in which it became intolerable. >> and he may be trying to quell a deeper fear, could communist china collapse the way the soviet union did? >> the dying gasp of the soviet system. >> always in the back of his mind is the subject of the soviet collapse. why did it happen? >> for xi, the fall of the soviet union became an
obsession. >> xi jinping often talks about the fall of the soviet union as a lesson for china. >> what accounted for it? what were the stresses? >> why did the soviet union collapse? >> xi's answer -- don't try to be too american. >> even though china has emulated america, china still, after all, a socialist country. >> whatever economic reforms they engage in, you cannot allow political liberalization to accompany it. >> and he would point to the soviet example as a sign that that's the risk we face. >> and that means the party must be seen as strong, clean, and legitimate. it's ironic, because no one has suffered more under communism than xi jinping himself. to understand it, we have to go back to tell the dramatic story of xi's childhood.
it it begins in the 1960s, the chaos of the cultural revolution. chairman mao wanted the assert his control over the communist party. he accused it of being too liberal. he called for young people to rebel against the relead of their own party. -- elite of their own party. >> basically turn chinese life upside down. all the most powerful people found themselves suddenly attacked and criticized, often by some of the least powerful people. and xi jinping was right at the center of the storm. >> at the center of the storm because he was a son of privilege. >> his father was one of the leading revolutionaries of his generation, one of the people that created the people's republic of china? so his son had the best of everything. >> he literally grew up in the
leadership compound in the center of beijing where all the leaders work and the most senior ones live. he had a very privileged existence and a very socialist society. >> they used to call themselves born red, which means that they had been brought into this world with the expectation that they would eventually lead and would eventually take over the country. and then it all came apart. >> first, xi's father was arrested, supposedly for supporting a play and a book that criticized mao tse-tung. his mother was forced to denounce his father. one of his sisters reportedly committed suicide. >> because she was being hounded so much for the family's political problems. and that's a fact that you won't see in the official party history. >> xi, still just a child, was forced to fight for his life in
the streets of beijing. >> there was nobody at home. there were no parents at home for a very young teenager. >> and that teenager was trying to survive in the chaos of a revolution. >> the cultural revolution was this implosion of chinese society, right down to the family level. just this kind of inferno of all of the bonds of trust and hierarchy that organized society. >> in his late teens, the party sent xi out to work as a peasant in the countryside. >> he spent many, many years in a part of the country in northern china doing manual labor as a farmer, feeding pigs. >> after years working as a farm hands xi jinping made a decision about his future. >> he did a surprising thing which is that he applied to
become a emin of the party. not just once. he was rejected over and over and over again. he was rejected because his family name was now poisoned in chinese politics for this period of time. >> finally, he gained admission to the party and began an almost 40-year climb up the ladder. but why? why would xi jinping, a victim of some of the worst cruelties of communism, devote his life to strengthening the party? >> xi jinping decided that his response to all of this pain and turmoil was to become, as he said, redder than red. to become the truest of true believers. >> the traumatic childhood of xi jinping might have made him softer. instead, it made him hard as steel. next up, china versus the world. >> china is rising. china is becoming more assertive. and this is scaring countries.
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box office records. >> raking in close to $1 billion. >> wolf warrior two isn't shy about being pro-china. >> it captured a mood in china. a new-found swagger in the world. much like the "rambo" films. >> mr. gorbachev, tear down this wall. >> mirrored the muscular american 1980s, china's new attitude became known as wolf warrior diplomacy. and its real-life champion -- is xi jinping. ♪ xi has made a big departure from decades of a very different chinese foreign policy. to understand how, we need to remember china's first leader,
mao zedong. mao was one of the world's most notorious revolutionaries. h hell bent on destroying western capitalism, inspiring and aiding insurgencies all over the globe. >> bma, thailand, ta malaysia, the philippines, cambodia. >> they call themselves marxist leninist maoists. >> the guerrilla movement. >> each a nuclear apocalypse was acceptable to mao in his great struggle. if worst came to worst and half of mankind died, he said, imperialism want razed to the ground and the whole world would become socialist.
>> thank you. >> mao's successor, deng xiaoping had a toottlely opposite approach. >> millions have died bar lack of food. >> his main goal was to make his poverty stricken country rich. so he opened their borders to trade and sought peaceful coexistence with the west. >> deng xiaoping came up with a theory that he called hide your strength and bide your time. just st steadily invest in the chinese economy and just ease your way into the international system. >> the first peacekeeping engineering unit. >> china funned the u.n. and provided humanitarian aid, a remarkable turnaround from the days of mao. >> the chinese communist party is about to announce a new leader. >> but when xi jinping took power in 2012 --
>> what can china and the world expect from the leadership of xi jinping? >> the time for hiding strength and biding time was over. xi declared a great rejuvenation for china. a return to its historic place. as an undisputed world power. china once called itself the land between heaven and earth. outpacing the west with its innovations like the compass and gun powder. other countries would come and pay tribute. >> but beginning in the 19th century -- >> the great city of shanghai, on a september day in 1937 -- >> -- foreign powers carved up the country. a period that became known as
the century of humiliation. xi wants to move far away from that story of victimization and seize china's destiny as a super power. >> there is a sense of entitlement, that this is our due, this is where we should be. >> now fate is willing his hand. >> xi transformed china's military into a force that now rivals america in the region. and he's not afraid to use it. >> two nuclear powers facing off. >> in 2020, china seized about 100 square miles along its disputed border with india. >> they fought with fist, clubs, and rocks. >> at least two dozen died in vicious hand-to-hand combat. >> they built air fields, and
ports, deployed weapon there is. >> xi's fast-growing fleet has tried to extend its influence into the south china sea. >> china claims virtually all of it. >> harassing dozens of vessels. >> china is, quote, not frightened to fight a war in with the u.s. in the region. >> and even sinking ships. >> the international blowback against china, the willingness to see china as a threat is directly because of xi jinping. >> xi's most defiant move occurred in hong kong. >> hong kong belongs to china once again. >> back in 1997, when the british returned the city to china, beijing had promised the
world that it would allow autonomy and freedom there. >> repeated reassurances to the people of hong kong. >> hong kong residents shall enjoy various rights and freedoms. >> not anymore. >> the political fate of hong kong remade bye-bye jing. >> hong kong has changed beyond recognition. >> a sweeping national security law in 2020. >> prodemocracy activists have been charged. >> led to mass -- >> the press literally under attack. >> journalists are under direct physical threat. >> the end of a vibrant free press. and an orwellian network of party informants. just like any other city on the mainland. >> china is flexing its military might. >> many fear that xi's next
target could be taiwan. >> china sees taiwan as breakaway province that needs to be brought back into the fold. >> bringing the island democracy of 23 million under beijing's iron fist would be a crowning achievement for xi. the capstone of china's great rejuvenation. and while the risks of an invasion are sky high, there are reports that xi's military advisers have told him it would succeed. >> this problem is much closer to us than most think. >> could america aid taiwan? >> we have a commitment to taiwan taiwan? >> yes, but in more than a dozen war games over taiwan authorized by the pentagon, china triumphed every time.
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click, call or visit a store today. it's easy the understand why this man was embraced by the world as the symbol of a new era in communist china. meet jack ma, the founder of global internet giant, alibaba, china's very own king of capitalism. ma rose out of poverty and became the richest person in china. he is the ultimate showman. ♪ known for putting on flamboyant,
even bizarre performances for alibaba employees. jack ma became china's first celebrity ceo. he's not only famous inside china. >> i guess you have heard of jack. >> he was embraced by the world's most powerful leaders. jack ma seemed more popular and admired than xi jinping. >> young people across the country would have photos up of jack ma above their beds in ways that historically you would have seen for mao. >> to understand how there could be a cult of ma in xi jinping's china, you need to know one thing. >> in the beginning, xi jinping very much needed jack ma. >> china had missed the industrial revolution in the 19th century, and america had invented the internet by the end of the 20th century. >> china was not even connected to the internet yet. we started. >> two decades after deng
xiaoping opened china's doors, jack ma had his moment. >> china is opening. open the door. >> he founded alibaba in 1999, as an online marketplace for small chinese businesses. >> call of these individual workers and small businesses around the country could suddenly be connected to the rest of the world. >> the company became an internet behemot that sells everything from cars to high-end fashion and offers food delivery and financial services. it's chinese's amazon, google, e-bay, paypal, and more. by 2014, jack ma had arrived on the new york stock exchange to ring the bell. it was the world's biggest initial public offering. >> it bets out facebook. it beats out intel and amazon. you name it. >> it unlocked a huge amount of economic potential. >> tech jints like alibaba showcased china's rise to the
leading edge of economic and technological power. when xi took control in 2012, many expected him to continue to open china's economy like his predecessors. >> there was a belief among all of the leaders in the west that china would continue to integrate towards a private sector-led system. >> after decades of growth fueled by china's private sector, xi had inherited the world's second largest economy. but china also faces serious challenges -- an aging population, crippling debt, and a slowing export machine. >> a big concern for the leadership was how to keep the growth going. >> so they unleashed the tech sector. at first, the companies seemed like copycats. that changed fast. >> no one out there thought that china today would be at parity with the united states in major technologies. they thought these guys would steal stuff but they couldn't really innovate. >> by 2020 china's tech sector
had exploded in size and impact. in some areas china's tech was outpacing the united states. tiktok had overtaken the world. dee dee beat out eastbounder. ali bay made cash and credit cards in china obsolete and grew the parent company of ali pay had grown into a financial giant. >> jack ma was a great asset to china but also from the churchz communist party's perspective, a grave threat. >> on days before he was launching on the shanghai and hong kong stock exchanges? putting the bricks on the biggest ipo. >> this is a stunning turn events. >> suddenly everything came to a screeching halt. >> what happened? based on our reporting, president xi jinping himself personally intervened to stop the ipo from going forward.
>> with global investors still reeling, jack ma seemed to suddenly disappear. >> there are growing questions about the whereabouts of chinese billionaire jack ma. >> where is jack ma. >> ma can given a speech accusing china's regulators of sty felling innovation in a roomful of government officials only ten days before ant's planned ipo. >> you can't do that in china. >> if jack ma believed that he could challenge the chinese political leadership and ultimately the party itself then the entire edifice of control in china was at risk. >> the communist party had allowed ant group and other private tech companies to grow largely unregulated for a decade. they had created a capitalist free for all, a wild west in which the government had little say. >> companies like ant are perceived to have amassed huge power. they have got the data. they have got the technology.
they have got the capital. >> xi jinping decided, enough, and began the crackdown on big tech. >> it was this sudden assertion of political power in the face of what had felt like this almost inevitable growth of chinese commercial and capitalist power. >> xi wants capitalism, but with a state that is in ultimate control. when jack ma appeared for the first time in a video since his disappearance he seemed uncharacteristically subdued. this is the necessary reining in of an out of control system or is it the end of china's capitalist golden age. >> even if it costs him a huge amount economically, that's a risk he is willing to take because, from his perspective, the alternative is possibly the collapse of china itself. ♪ so light 'em up, up, up light 'em up, up, up ♪
two vehicles rammed into shoppers in a bustling open-air market. >> may, 2014. two suvs are screen down a street crashing through bodies and tossing explosives. a terrorist attack in china. just one in a series of strikes that rocked the country and killed dozens. the bloodshed reaches china's very heart, tiananmen square.
>> those attacks really shook xi jinping. >> xi jinping is vowing to catch and severely punish those responsible. >> the attackers are uyghurs, a largely muslim ethnic group with its own language and culture. for xi jinping, the uyghurs become public enemy number one. he launches an unprecedented mass surveillance of their population. in china's xinjiang region, building refugee camps that locked up over a million people and ripped loved ones away from their families. former camp prisoners say uyghurs have been tortured, forced into having abortions,
and each sterilized. detainees are brainwashed with communist party ideology. they are forced to speak mandarin rather than their own native language. and they are forbidden from practicing the religion they followed their entire lives. >> there is a kind of cultural genocide going on here. >> why is xi doing this? because he sees uyghurs as a threat to china's very survival. he's afraid they will split from the country and form a whole new nation. separatism is one of xi jinping's greatest fears. because he has seen it bring down a giant before. >> the symbol of the soviet union fluttered down in a freezing moscow wind christmas night. nothing will ever be the same.
>> when the soviet union was teetering on the edge of collapse -- >> gorbachev has destroyed the whole country. >> -- many of its republics demanded independence. >> the delicate fabric holding together the variety of ethnic republics in the soviet union is unraveling. >> one by one those republics each dominated by a different ethnic group, declared themselves free. >> the parade out of what is left. >> the seventh. >> eighth. >> the ninth republic to officially declare. >> the 12th republic to declare independence. >> the lesson xi took from that? allowing cultural separatism could trigger collapse in china just as it had in the soviet union. so he is stamping out diversity in favor of a national chinese identity loyal to just one
thing. >> i love the communist party of china, this man has written. >> the accusation is there is a kind of forcible brainwashing of the uyghurs in detention camps that look a lot like concentration camps s. part of the danger, is part of what president xi worries about, a danger of separate. i? >> separatism is a crime in china. if anyone in china wants to split any part of china against china or from china, he or she becomes our public enemy. >> xi and his loyalists often respond with what aboutism. they argue, what about american human rights abuses. >> if any country has practiced genocide, it is not china. enslavery of negro americans for example, for hundreds of years, that's the real crime against
humanity. >> china's abuses are mostly hidden from western eyes. >> why you are here? >> we are here to believe what -- we are here to film what we believe are camps of uyghurs. >> xi's -- is part of a larger campaign to snuff out separatist threats everywhere. from xinjiang to tibet to hong kong. it's one of the final pieces of china's revolution under xi jinping. >> for years, china had had an almost apologetic approach to its human rights abuses. xi jinping said, that's no longer how we are going to talk about it. we are not going to apologize. they were just going do it. >> for all the criticism from the west, it's important to understand that in china, which is more than 90% hahn chinese, there is not much sympathy for
the uyghurs. pop you list nationalism has swept the world, and china is no exception. xi jinping has used that nationalism to keep his and the communist party's iron grip on power, no matter what the cost. ♪ hlines, he takes robitussin naturals powered by 100% drug-free ingredients. are you gonna leaf me hanging? soothe your cough naturally. with directv stream, i can get live tv and on demand... together. watch: serena williams... wonder woman. serena... wonder woman... serena... wonder woman... ♪ ♪ ace. advantage! you cannot be serious! ♪ ♪ get your tv together with the best of live and on demand.
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a leader in science and technology, was largely isolated from the great wave of military and technological advancement that began in the west in the 16th century. it was late coming to the powerful economic gains that began with the industrial revolution in the 18th century. it was dominated by outside powers during the 19th century. and for the last century, when this chinese couple's parents and grandparents were alive, china suffered through a collapsing qing dynasty. civil wars, a brutal occupation by japan, and a prolonged battle. the country was plunged into 30 years of highly charged revolutionary experiments from the great leap forward to the cultural revolution, all of which failed. china by the late '70s was an exhausted, impoverished,
isolated country with a revolutionary regime whose red china cause had lost any global relevance. this chinese couple's parents were among the poorest people in the world with the fewest options. then came dong xiaoping, and his policies that opened china up to the market and the world. they have resulted not just in sustained piece and stability but what the economist jeffrey sachs has called the most successful development story in world history. for four decades, china's economy grew at almost 10 percent a year, and gdp per capita has jumped more than 25-fold. with this economic progress has come the creation of a new chinese society, much more open, more ambitious, and confident of its place in the world. it's only natural that people in china have a great measure of
pride and satisfaction, and that can sometimes morph into overconfidence and arrogance. and when they hear criticisms of their country in the west, they may well wonder whether foreigners are just resentful of a china that has moved up so fast in the ranks of nations, whether america in particular wants to keep china in its place. it's a fair question. it's always been difficult for the existing superpower to find space for an up and coming one. but it is surely made far more difficult by china's third revolution, the changes that have been wrought by its now supreme leader, xi jinping. xi has moved china toward greater repression at home with a smaller role for free markets and a stronger insistence on communist ideology in every sphere. he has also pursued a more aggressive policy abroad.
the architect of china's opening, deng xiaoping, spoke of the need for china to hide its strength and bide its time. but that was not simply a counsel to wait a few decades. deng understood that china was so large, bordering so many countries with so many border disputes, that it needed to reassure the world. winston churchill once said that russia was a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. china is a cornucopia, a vast teeming land full of contradictions. say anything about china, and you can find it in there and its opposite. will xi be able to control the sprawling country and force it along the lines he wishes? so far, he has succeeded at home. but in doing so, he's making life for that average chinese couple less open and one in
which their country is less admired. xi has changed china but in a way that makes its rise onto the world stage far more dangerous. i'm fareed zakaria. thanks for watching. [upbeat music] ♪ i am what i live my way the new eau de parfum intense giorgio armani ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ kiss the people you love. mark this moment in time, and celebrate every kiss. get zero down special financing with the kay jewelers credit card.