tv CNN Special Report CNN January 30, 2022 7:00pm-8:00pm PST
the iron rule of xi jinping. >> the strong dictator that he has become. >> he is the most powerful man in the world today. >> his vast ambition. >> the chinese military has grown dramatically over the course of the last few years. we deserve this, we want this and we're going to take this. >> the threat to america. >> you want to manhandle china? no, none of that is acceptable to the chinese government. >> controlling the chinese people. east, west, north, south, the party must control all. >> big brother is always watching. >> there is the freedom to get rich. >> lamborghinis and ferraris. >> but get too rich and you
might disappear. >> publicly criticize the chinese authorities. you can't do that and triumph. ztz what china's time is now. >> good evening. i'm fareed zakaria. one in five people on this planet lives in china china, 1.4 billion people. and the rise has been remarkable. in just a few decades cities three times the size of new york sprang 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. anger the government and you can just disappear. for once this 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 china's growing military might. who is xi jinping? what does he want? let's start with two crucial days last year. an aging democracy, a beating
heart, tiananmen square. the search over a new president. 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 set to have watched january 6 with revulsion. >> that cannot happen in china. no. none of that is acceptable to the chinese government. >> that was a moment for the chinese saying those americans, they're not who they think they are, and they're not who we think they are. >> you see, as the united states is in a real decline, and he sees a lot of dysfunctionalty in
american society. systemic racism, black lives matter, political gridlock in washington, the trump years in charlottesville. they see themselves as promoting border 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 of muscatine, iowa. he studied farming there in the 1980s. then came back just as he was about to become 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. >> he's confident, gregarious, even westernized in his way. >> america was charmed. >> i can't tell it, i love that man. >> so how did that xi jinping give us 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 don't think any of us saw the kind of dictatorial,
sycophantic dictator he has become. >> china is more of a dictatorship from xi jinping. that's a recipe for danger. >> xi jinping is the most repressive leader they've seen. in a matter of months, he has handed down dozens of orders. they see great control in everything from technology to education to entertainment. >> things as simple as who you can admire in the movies. every single piece of entertainment culture. >> no more effeminate men in china. they call them sissy men. also forbidden? karaoke songs that endanger national unity. many video games no longer allowed. >> the china public says, hold on, you want control of what's
in my heart and in my mind. what's left for me? that's a very dangerous thing, a very 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, no snapchat, no instagram. some of that predated xi but he has doubled down on a separate chinese technosphere. >> the chinese government said we're actually going to separate. we don't want a worldwide web. >> they have 20 monitors of social media taking down postings like whack-a-mole. >> step by step, over the course of the years that xi jinping has been in power, he has been eating away at the domains of
autonomy in chinese life and consolidating them into the hands of the party. >> in fact, the scho scholar elizabethan economy calls xi jinping bringing the communist party back into dominance everywhere. >> the chinese government really now controls the physical environment of the chinese people through hundreds of millions of surveillance cameras and drones that can identify a chinese person with facial recognition or even by how a chinese person walks. all of this information is transmitted back to china's public security bureaus instantaneously. >> what they have instituted through xi jinping is a surveillance system that's unprecedented. this is all while on steroids
and that includes watching a xi jinping app on your cell phone. >> the xi app is on many chinese phones. its purpose? to help people study xi jinping talk. that's right, study what he thinks about everything. >> xi jinping's sayings, his speeches, his activity, party dogma. then they take quizes and they have to report those quizzes to their work party unit. >> there is even a game show. how much do you know about xi jinping thought? much of xi jinping thought is communist idealogy and the central role he believes it should play in chinese life. but there lies a central conflict. he is preaching strict adherence
to capitalism that has been exploding for decades. >> luxury goods, things like lamborghinis and ferraris and rolexes. >> the rich have been getting richer, and in some cases, more decadent. there is 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 point at 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 is still a socialist country. >> whatever economic reforms that 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 begins in the 1960s, the chaos of the cultural revolution. chairman mau wanted to reassert his control over the communist party. he accused it of being too liberal. he called for young people to
rebell rebel against the elite of their own party. >> basically turn chinese life upside down. all the powerful people found themselves suddenly attacked and criticized, sometimes by 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 who created the people's reb of china. >> so his son had the best of everything. >> he literally grew up in the leadership comepound where leaders worked and the most senior ones lived. he had a very privileged existence in a very socialist society. >> they used to call themselves born red, which means 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 krcriticized mau. 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 histories. >> 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 culture rev lolution was this implosion of chinese society, right down to the family level. just this kind of inferno of all
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 very poor county in northern china, basically doing manual labor, being a farmer, feeding pigs. >> after years spent working as a farmhand, xi made a decision about his future. >> xi then did a very surprising thing, which is he applied to become a member 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 the party? >> xi decided in a response to all this pain and turmoil was to become redder than red, to become the truest of believers. >> the 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. >> when you have the president of the united states in the form of former president trump threatening to raid them? china will stand up.
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in 1993, xi fell in love with a new hero. he was a veteran over an elite armed special forces unit known as the wolf warriors. wolf warrior 2, making china's highest grossing film of all time in less than two weeks. >> this film broke domestic box office records. >> raking in close to $1 billion. >> he is not shy about being pro-china. >> it captured a mood in china. a newfound swagger in the world. much like the "rambo" films.
>> mr. gorbachev, tear down this wall. >> china's bold new attitude became known as wolf warrior diplomacy. and its real life champion is xi jinping. she 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, mau tse dung. mau was hell bent on destroying capitalism, inciting aiding insurgencies all over the globe.
>> burma, thailand, malaysia, the philippines, the kamera rouge. in latin america, the shining path guerrilla movement. >> even a nuclear apocalypse of the acceptable to mau in his great struggle. if worst came to worst, and half of mankind died, he said, imperialism would be a race to the ground and the whole world would become socialist. mau's successor, jinping, had a different approach. his main goal was to make his pov poverty-stricken country rich. so he opened his borders to trade and sought equal co
existence with the west. >> dunjau ping came up with a strategy. just nudge your way into the economy. >> china funded the u.n. and provided humanitarian aid, a remarkable turnaround from the days of mau. >> the chinese communist party is about to announce a new leader. >> but when xi jinping took power in 1912 -- >> what can tchina expect from i jinping? >> the time for 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 gunpowder. >> 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 superpower. >> there is a sense of entitlement that this is our due.
this is where we should be. >> now fate is really his hand. >> xi transformed china's military into a force that now rivals america in the region. 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. at least two dozen died in vicious hand-to-hand combat. >> they built airfields, built weapons there. >> xi tried to influence the south china sea, amassing dozens of vessels. >> china is not fit to fight a war 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. >> he repeated reassurances to the people of hong kong. >> they had various rights and freedoms. >> not anymore. >> the political fate of hong kong remade by beijing. >> hong kong has changed beyond
recognition. >> a sweeping national security law in 2020 -- >> 47 pro-democracy activists have been charged. >> amid the mass of politicians. >> the press literally under attack. >> journalists under threats of physical threats. >> and a network of party informants just like any other city on the mainland. >> china is flexing its military might. >> many feared that xi's next target could be taiwan. >> china sees taiwan as a 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 add vis -- advisors have told him it would succeed. >> this problem is closer to us than most think. >> could america aid taiwan? >> we have a commitment to taiwan. >> yes. but in more than a dozen war games in taiwan organized by the pentagon, taiwan triumphed every time. honey! (man) like what? (burke) well, you'd get a discount for insuring your jet skis... and boat...rv...life... ...home and more. you could save up to forty-five percent. (man) that's a whole lot of discounts. (burke) well, we offer coverage for a whole lot of things, and you could save a whole lot of something with farmers policy perks. (kid) sup, dad! (burke) seventeen-car garage you got there? ♪we are farmers♪ ♪bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum♪
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it's easy to understand why this man was embraced by the world as a symbol of a new era in communist china. meet jack ma, the founder of global internet giant, ali baba, china's own king of capitalism. ma rose in popularity and became the richest person in china. he is the ultimate showman. ♪ >> known for putting on flamboyant, even bizarre performances for ali baba
employees, jack ma became china's first celebrity ceo. eetz n he's not only famous inside china, 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 you would historically see from mau. >> to understand how there could be a cult for ma in jinping's china, you have to know one thing. >> in the very 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 with the internet yet. >> two decades after jau opened
its doors, he founded ali baba online as all these businesses. >> all the businesses across the country could suddenly be connected with the western world. >> they sold everything from cars to high-end fashion and offers food delivery and financial services. it's china's amazon, google, ebay, 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's detailed in facebook, amazon, you name it. >> it unlocked a huge amount of economic potential. >> tech giants like alibaba showcased china's rise to the leading edge of economic and
technological power. when kxi took control in 2012, many expected him to continue opening china's technology. >> there was a belief among all 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 death and a slowing export machine. >> a big concern for the leadership was how to keep the growth going. >> so they unleashed the tech sector. first the companies seemed like cop copycats. that changed fast. >> nobody thought china would be a parody to the united states in technology. they thought guys would steal stuff but they couldn't really innovate. >> by 2020, china's tech sector
had exploded in certain impacts. in some ways it was outpacing the united states. tiktok had taken the world by storm. china's bidi beat out china. the parent company of ali pei had grown into a giant. >> from the china perspective, jack ma was a huge threat. >> only days before antwerp was officially about to launch -- >> they put the brakes on the ipa. this is a stunning turn of events. >> all of a sudden, everything came to a screeching halt. >> by all reporting, president xi jinping personally intervened by stopping it is ipo from going
forward. >> were growing resources still reeling? >> there were growing questions about china's billionaire jack ma. >> where is ma? >> ma had given a speech accusing regulators of stifling innovation only ten days before ant's planned ipo. >> you can't do that. if xi believed he could challenge the chinese leadership and ultimately the party itself, then the entire edifice of control in china was amiss. >> they had convinced other tech companies to grow largely unregulated for a decade. they had created the wild west in which the government had little say. >> they have perceived to have massed huge power. the gava technology, the gava
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. is this the necessary reining in of an out of control system? or is it the end of china's golden age? >> even if it cost him a huge amount economically, that was a risk he was willing to take, because from his perspective, the alternative is perhaps the collapse of china itself.
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how much their accident cget the best result possible. two buses ran into shoppers in an open air market. >> may 2014. two suvs careened down the street, tossing bodies and he can -- 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 willing to catch and severely punish those responsible. >> the attackers are wegers. for xi jinping, the wegers become public enemy number one. he launches an unprecedented mass surveillance of their population in china's region. believing education camps that have locked up millions of people and torn them from their
families. uighurs have been tortured, forced into having abortions and even terrorized. they are brainwashed with communist party idealogy. they are forced is speak a different language. why is xi doing this? because he sees uighurs 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's seen it bring down a giant before. >> the symbol of the soviet
union flut tered down on 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 ethnics in the soviet union is unravrl i -- unraveling. >> one by one, the soviets, each dominated by a different ethnic group, declared themselves free. >> the ukraine became the ninth republic -- the 12th 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 that it's a kind of forceable brainwashing of the uighurs in detention camps that look a lot like concentration camps is part of the danger, is part of what president xi worries about, a danger of separatism? >> 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 about-ism. they argue, what about american human rights abuses? >> if any country has practiced genocide, it's not china. the enslaving of negro americans, for example, for a
hundred years? that's a crime against humanity. >> china's abuses are mostly hidden from western eyes. >> why are you here? >> we're here to form what we believe is a camp for uighurs. >> journalists have been shut out of the camps. xi warned the uighurs 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 uses. xi jinping says that's no longer how we're going to talk about it. we're not going to apologize. we're just going to do it. >> for all the criticism of the west, it's important to understand that in china, which is more than 90% han chinese,
their country, home to one of the greatest and ancient civilizations in the world, long on leading science and technology, was isolated from the great wave of 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 chain dynasty. civil wars. a brutal operation by japan, and a prolonged battle between the forces of mazadan. one that struggled and plunged the country into highly revolutionized experiments. from the great leap forward to the cultural revolution, all which failed.
china, by the late '70s, was an exhausted, i mpoverishedimpover isolated country by the regime whose red china had caused any global relevance. this couple's chinese parents were among the poorest people in the world with fewest options. then came hua guofeng. they had resulted in what the economist jeffrey sachs has called the most successful story in world history. china's economy grew by 10% a year. and the gdp capital has jumped more than 25-fold. with this came 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 the foreigners are just resentful of a china that has moved up so fast in the ranks of nations. whether an american 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 the stronger insistence on
communist ideology in every sphere. he has also achieved a greater spectrum abroad. he spoke for the need of china to hide its strength and bide its time. but that was not a council to wait a few decades. china understood they were so large, bordering so many countries with so many border disputes that needed to reassure the world. winston churchill once said russia was a mystery wrapped inside an enigma. china is 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. and in doing so, he's making life for that average chew knees
couple less open and one in which the country is less adm 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. we search for savings for you. from coupons to lower costs options. plus, earn up to $50 extra bucks rewards each year just for filling at cvs pharmacy.
>> it's a little like reading tea leaves. >> -- a bipartisan group of senators is trying to prevent war. i'll speak with two members of the foreign relations committee, democratic chairman bob menendez and republican ranking member jim risch next. are we done yet? omicron shows signs of retreating in the u.s. as some states rethink covid restrictions. but with millions still unvaccinated, is it too soon to figure out how to live with the virus? >> we're still seeing pretty high levels all across the state. >> i'll speak to new hampshire republican governor chris sununu. president biden will nominate a black woman to the supreme court -- >> long overdue. >> -- as some of the right object to the president's pledge. will any gop senators support the pick? our panel is here to discuss ahead.