Return to Transcripts main page


Remembering Tiananmen 25 Years After; African Startup:; Taliban Releases Video of Bowe Bergdahl's Exchange; Conflicting Reports As Crackdown Continues In Ukraine

Aired June 4, 2014 - 11:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: New images of a former prisoner of war, the moment U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl was set free all from the perspective his captors -- the Taliban.

Also ahead, remembering what happened in Tiananmen Square 25 years after the pro-democracy uprising and crackdown.

And MERS concerns, these camels don't look too worried, but there is evidence there could be a link between these animals and the virus that has taken a deadly toll in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.

ANDERSON: A very good evening. It is 7:00 here in the UAE.

We rarely get to hear the machinations behind controversial government negotiations like the ones with the Taliban that freed a U.S. army sergeant in Afghanistan. And it is even rarer that we get to see a settlement in action.

Well, that is what makes this newly released footage so compelling. It's the moment U.S. authorities came to recovery Bowe Bergdahl as viewed by his captors of five years -- the Afghan Taliban.

And it's supposed to be a moment of triumph for the White House, proof that no man in uniform gets left behind.

But what's happening in the background is equally intriguing. Five key Taliban members released from Guantanamo and transferred to Qatar seen here hugging and celebrating knowing that they may be free to leave in a year's time.

Well, Bergdahl may never be free from allegations from some fellow soldiers that he was a deserter, and the Obama administration may never be free from claims from Republicans that it broke the law.

Well, Bergdahl is still recovering in a military hospital in Germany ahead of his return to the United States. Matthew Chance live there from now.

What's the latest there, Matthew, on his condition?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, his condition, Becky, is still said to be stable. He's receiving medical treatment. Of course there are certain health issues, because of patient privacy laws. Medical officials here aren't going to any great detail about what exactly is wrong with him. But they say he's being treated for dietary and nutritional needs, that meant that he had to be hospitalized. It's important. Because one of the reasons the White House has said it had to act and broker this prisoner exchange is because from the videos they'd seen, from the intelligence they've gathered, they felt there was a sort of severe deterioration in the health of Bowe Bergdahl.

It seems that at the moment, though, according to the medical officials that we've spoken to and they've given statements here at Landstuhl, he is in a stable condition. There's going to be psychological analysis as well before he's sent back home, Becky.

ANDERSON: And when will that be? Any sense at this point?

CHANCE: No. They haven't given a time frame for this. They say the pace of his recovery will determine when they send him back. He's undergoing something called reintegration. It's what they call him being introduced back into society, back to his family. A lot of psychological analysis because of his years in captivity, the medical tests as well, and the medical treatment.

The ultimate ambition, though, is to send him back home to Texas where he'll be treated at the San Antonio medical facility in that state.

It's also an opportunity here for investigators from the United States to get his side of the story. They haven't heard from him yet as to how he ended up in Taliban hands, Becky.

ANDERSON: Matthew Chance in Germany for you this evening. Matthew, thank you. Stay with us here on Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson, for much more on this story.

We're going to take a closer look this hour at how those involved in this prisoner swap have managed the aftermath as the White House defends itself against claims of ignoring protocol and aiding a possible deserter. The Taliban are working their publicity machine to the max. We'll speak to Washington aficionado Ryan Lizza (ph) about the long-term repercussions of the deal as well. Stay with us.

Now we've got widely conflicting reports on the violence in eastern Ukraine. The self-declared mayor of Slovyansk has told CNN that 10 separatist militants, or fighters, were killed in the region on Tuesday. He's also said 12 others were injured by Ukrainian jets and helicopters in attacks near the city and he city of Chervoniy Liman.

Well, the mayor also claims militants shot down two helicopters on Wednesday.

A Ukrainian government spokesman on the other hand says more than 300 pro-Russian militants were killed in what's described as anti-terror operations in those areas.

Well, CNN's Diana Magnay is in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine joining us now.

Di, conflicting reports, as I said on the ground, any clearer at this point what's going on? How many casualties and who these fighters are?

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is one of the most concerted efforts by the Ukrainian authorities to root out the rebel positions around Slovyansk, which is basically the epicenter of the separatist movement. And it has been going on for two days. And it is ongoing.

And that is why, alongside the fact that he anti-terror operation has inflated numbers before, I think you have to be extremely careful, especially with numbers like 300 rebels killed. It -- you know, it just is a number that you should take with a very real pinch of salt, especially given the position of the rebels that only 10 were killed.

It's very difficult to say for now how could the Ukrainians possibly know when this operation is ongoing.

Certainly, what we do know is that Slovyansk, which the Ukrainian authorities have been trying for awhile to target, is the center of an operation at this time where the Ukrainians are using very heavy air power, certainly by Ukrainian standards.

I spoke a little earlier to the prime minister of the self-declare Republic of Donetsk here in this city. This is what he had to say about the operation in Slovyansk.


ALEXANDER BORODAI, SELF-PROCLAIMED LEADER, DONETSK PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC (through translator): The enemy uses heavy weaponry -- planes, armored vehicles, large caliber artillery, and these are used in residential areas. In fact, there's nothing else there the weapons could be used against other than residential areas.


MAGNAY: Not strictly true, Becky.

There are -- that is not strictly true, Becky, there are of course positions outside of the towns. But Slovyansk really is a sort of classic insurgency site where the rebels are hiding themselves in amongst the civilian population there. You can now see some video, though, of what the Ukrainian authorities presumably don't particularly want to have aired, video of a hospital in the town of Krasny Lyman that was struck through presumably air strikes. You can see the windows are entirely blown out.

The challenge that the Ukrainian authorities have in trying to root out the separatists across the Don Bas (ph) region is of course that they must prevent against civilian causalities. And with this kind of air power, that is going to prove very, very difficult. And that is, of course, the way that you will risk any remaining support that Kiev might have in the east, which is extremely limited in any case, Becky.

ANDERSON: Diana Magnay on the ground for you today.

Well, 25 years after the brutal crackdown on Chinese pro-democracy, protesters in Tiananmen Square, Beijing has tried to wipe the events from the nation's history. But try as they might, the Chinese government hasn't been able to eliminate all public remembrances of that day.

Now as you can see, tens of thousands of people packed into Hong Kong's Victoria Park as they do every year to remember the crackdown.

But in mainland China any mention of Tiananmen Square is being censored. This is video from CNN's Beijing bureau showing me government blacking out our coverage of the anniversary.

Well, the Tiananmen crackdown is such a taboo subject there that many people are afraid to talk about it. What happened in public, as David McKenzie reports, the Chinese government hopes it will fade from public memory.


MCKENZIE: In 1989, thousands of student activists believed they would change China. And during one euphoric summer on Tiananmen Square, many thought they could. Then the Communist Party ordered the crackdown. And the soldiers mobilized, crushing the democracy movement.

"I was there," says this woman. "It was chaotic. They had guns and shooting, bang, bang, bang all night, it went. There was fighting everywhere."

"There were bullet holes right in these walls," says this witness. "It was a night of fear. And for many, of shame.

"Everyone thought they should not have opened fire," he says. "Why did they open fire?"

Back then, the party defended its crackdown. But now those questions are left unanswered and no one is allowed to speak of the massacre.

So before long, the police track us and shut us down.

"You both why you can't come here right now," he tells me.

The democracy movement started long before June 4. And this place, Beida University, was where the discussions started and the ideas started forming for the students to protest.

Does the date June 4 mean anything to you, we ask?

"What is it? A national holiday?" She says.


"No, I haven't," she says.

Many young people in China have never heard of June 4. But fresh from graduation, this student says some do talk about the massacre in private.

"Because you never know who could be listening," she says.

Have people forgotten history here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. People have not forgotten history, but I just say in China people are really tired. People know that things happened. And we need to focus on the future.

MCKENZIE: In a way the future looks like this, throngs of tourists streaming every day onto Tiananmen Square. It seems like the blackout of history is almost complete, because the party wants to make sure that this never happens again.


LU STOUT: Well, still to come this evening on this show, while mainland China ignores the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, Hong Kong remembers.

And researchers say there may be a link between a deadly virus and camels. We'll have much more later this hour.


ANDERSON: A very warm welcome back to the UAE. This is is CNN with me Becky Anderson and Connect the World.

Now, new video has emerged of the moment that U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was freed by the Afghan Taliban after five years in captivity. What is striking is how straightforward this diplomatic settlement appears after years of presumably torturous negotiation.

We see a prisoner get out of the pickup truck and onto the helicopter. The deal done.

Well, the U.S has fulfilled its promise to leave a man in uniform behind. And these were the celebratory scenes as President Barack Obama welcomed Bergdahl's parents to the White House on Saturday. But they were short-lived. Some of the sergeants own company claim that he was a deserter who left his post, others point to the six American troops who died in efforts to rescue him.

Celebrations, though, are ongoing. Just look at the joy and relief in Qatar where the five Taliban members released as part of the swap tasted freedom this weekend.

These images could be a powerful tool for the organization that filmed them.

Well, the latest on what we know about the whereabouts of these men in Qatar in a moment. First, though, what must have seen like a fair trade for both sides now looking, well slightly lopsided. And the political fallout in Washington quite spectacular.

Here to discuss the dynamics of the situation is Ryan Lizza, CNN contributor and D.C. correspondent for the New Yorker.

Welcome to the show, sir.

If I were to describe this exchange as having stirred a hot debate in Washington, would I be anywhere close?

RYAN LIZZA, NEW YORKER: No, this is really one of the more dramatic debates between the two parties.

And look we're in a mid-term election here this year, so everything has to be seen through that filter where each party is looking for advantage in the mid-terms.

But Republicans are genuinely outraged about this. One, because there's no way to describe it, but the Obama administration did not follow the letter of the law, which required them to notify congress before -- with 30 days notice if they released any prisoners from Guantanmo. So, the Republicans have a pretty clear argument that the administration didn't follow that law.

So you can imagine how angry that has made some of the Obama critics.

ANDERSON: Right. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, the drip feed of what is quite frankly compelling video released by the Taliban stands right in stark contrast to the way the White House has managed this story.

PR victory for the Taliban, do you think?

LIZZA: I think so. They're always very quick with these -- to release these videos. And let's be honest, what this has done to a certain extent is given the Taliban more international legitimacy. They had, you know, one-on-one negotiations with the United States. And they're getting five of their prisoners out of Guantanamo Bay.

Now, the U.S. has been talking to the Taliban, trying to go through a reconciliation process for several years now. So it's not like we haven't been talking to the Taliban. But this is one of the few times where there have been a trade, a negotiation. You know, they got something and we got something.

So there's no doubt that it's a bit of a PR victory for the Taliban.

ANDERSON: Listen, Ryan, we've been looking at these images of the five Guantanamo prisoners being embraced as they arrived in Qatar, again part of this drip feed of these images coming from the Taliban media machine. Smiles all around.

In contrast, I'd like to show you how the U.S. secretary for homeland security Jeh Johnson, a man you will know well, reacted when I asked him what he knows of their conditions in Qatar.

He was here in Abu Dhabi earlier on today. And this was the exchange. Have a listen to this.


ANDERSON: What have you been told by Qatar to assure the U.S. that their citizens are safe from those men who have been delivered to Qatar?

JEH JOHNSON, U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Well, I was in Qatar to speak at the conference of the airline industry. I also met with local officials in Qatar. I'd say we have a very important relationship with Qatar right now on a number of fronts. They've been very good partners with us in national security on a number of fronts.

ANDERSON: People want to know how these men are living. It's been reported that they are living the high life. What do you know about their living conditions?

JOHNSON: I'd have to refer you to other agencies.

ANDERSON: Is Qatar not told the U.S. how they are living? Because there's much speculation. I'd love to put it to bed.

JOHNSON: That's not a conversation I'm involved in right now.


ANDERSON: As I say, Ryan, what these prisoners are up to, how they're living, where they'll live and what happens going forward, the subject of much debate.

And again, it seems to me at least, and correct me if I'm wrong, that this again has been something that Washington is managing really badly.

LIZZA: Really badly.

I mean, you can just see, Becky, from the way with his body language and his facial expressions that he wasn't comfortable answering those questions, because let's be honest a prisoner swap is a prisoner swap. They are no longer prisoners. We don't get to say how they live their lives, that is the nature of a prisoner swap. The only condition we were - - that the U.S. got was this one year you can't leave Qatar.

So, I think the administration -- Obama was very honest yesterday when he was asked about this. He said, yes, there is a chance that they could be a danger to us in the future and that is the nature of prisoner swap.

Remember, this -- we have 160 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and no way - - and really not many options of what to do with them. So there was some pressure on the administration to get them out. The other things is, we're winding down the war in Afghanistan. Next year, we're going to have very few troops there. These -- under the Geneva Conventions, you have to return your POWs. So at some point if we follow international law these guys were going to have to get out anyway. And it's sort of -- as some commentators have described it, a sort of hold your nose deal.

ANDERSON: Yeah, I saw it described as that, actually. I thought it was quite a good description.

Listen, briefly, when the dust settles and there's a lot of partisan politics going on at the moment. And as you rightly point out, we're heading into electioneering season, of course, in Washington and the states, but when the dust settles, can you -- have you got any sense at this point of how -- marks out of 10, how you would rate Obama, his White House and this administration and how they tackled all of this?

LIZZA: Well, I think their big mistake was they tried to turn this into a public relations victory. They had the Bergdahl family at the White House to celebrate. They -- and that really, really sort of rubbed the Republicans noses in it. So, I think the White House would have been better served if they had quietly done this, had the Pentagon announced it and sort of gone to Capitol Hill hat in hand and apologized for not following the law, but explaining the circumstances.

Instead, they announced it without giving congress warning and tried to turned it into their own PR victory. And that really, really backfired on them in the middle of political election season here.

So I think that was their big mistake.

I think the deal itself is defensible, Becky.

ANDERSON: Fascinating...

Yeah, yeah. All right. Good stuff. Thank you for that.

And as you've been talking, we are continuing to take a look at that video that, as I say, and I said at the beginning of the show, it's really quite compelling stuff. And it's very, very rare you get to see actual sort of machinations, this nuts and bolts of what's going on in these very, very, very secret negotiations.

All right, sir, thank you for that.

Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson.

Coming up on African Startup, a young businessman hands -- has his hands full after starting an online retail company in Senegal. Great story. We're going to tell you how he's overcoming his obstacles. Up next.


ANDERSON: Well, let's get you to the Global Exchange here on Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson live from Abu Dhabi. And we are going to introduce you to the people and places paving the way forward and some of the world's emerging economies. And today, we want to hook up with a young man with big dreams, Masata Faye started an online retail business in Senegal a couple of years ago. And as you'll see, he's working very hard to become Africa's version of eBay, or Amazon.


MASSATA FAYE, ENTREPRENEUR: Hello, my name is Massata Faye and I start in Dakar, Senegal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Diayma means sell me something in Wolof, one of Senegal's official languages.

FAYE: You can't do in business without the word diayma.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's why Massata Faye thought it was a perfect name for his online retail business.

FAYE: We sell computers. We sell chair. We sell phone. We sell dress, shoes, clothes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He sells just about anything online.

FAYE: The customer can see all pictures of this (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here in his office, he shows us his website. People can click to view products, choose specific details like color or size and buy.

One of his biggest challenges, however, has been the cost of internet. He says because it's so expensive in Senegal, online shopping hasn't really taken off here.

Despite that, he uses social media like Facebook to advertise, but he's been most successful using graffiti to spread the name.

FAYE: This is my first advertising, because this road is -- there are many traffic at this road, many times, many day, every hour there are many persons who are there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When orders come in, his team has to hustle.

Massata has an import shop where a lot of the electronic items on his site come from. The other products like shoes and clothes he uses local suppliers around town.

He started in 2012 and now he says there are hundreds of thousands of visitors every month.

FAYE: Amazon and eBay have a million a day. It's the objective for Diayma is to be like that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Massata used to work for a bank as a financial analyst. The idea to start up his own online retail business came after he was too busy to shop himself. Now his wife helps him run the business, a business they hope more and more Africans will tap into for a quick and easy way to shop.

FAYE: In five years, we want make Diayma in Nigeria. We want to make Diayma in Egypt, can make Diayma in Tunisia and in (inaudible).

We want to be Amazon in Africa, not only in Senegal, but in Africa.


ANDERSON: The latest world news headlines are just ahead.

Plus, the Tiananmen Square crackdown 25 years on, we're going to speak live to one protester who survived the chaos and the bloodshed.

And the U.S. president is handling a very busy schedule at present. We're going to recap his visit in Poland and talk about his next stop in Brussels after this.


ANDERSON: All right. This is CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. Your headlines this hour here on CNN. New video released by the Taliban shows the final moments of captivity for US army sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. Army fighters surround the area as he's transferred to a Black Hawk helicopter. Now, he was handed over in exchange for five Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay.

Today marks 25 years since China's brutal crackdown on student protesters in Tiananmen Square. These images from the height of the massacre, when soldiers and tanks stormed the crowd of demonstrators. It is not clear how many were killed at the time, but estimates range from the hundreds to the thousands. Today, China blocking any mention of the crackdown online or on television.

The European Union is tonight calling Syria's presidential election illegitimate. It's urging President Bashar al-Assad to reengage in political negotiations. Al-Assad is widely expected to win a third seven- year term after Tuesday's vote. Opposition groups and many Western countries say the vote was rigged.

We got wildly conflicting reports on the violence in eastern Ukraine this day. The self-declared mayor of Slaviansk has told CNN that ten separatist militants, or pro-Russian militants, were killed in the region on Tuesday. A Ukrainian government spokesman, on the other hand, says more than 300 pro-Russian militants died in a big offensive aimed at rooting out separatists.

Meanwhile, the US president is expressing support for Ukraine's new leader, Petro Poroshenko. They met in Warsaw, where Mr. Obama gave a speech at celebrations marking 25 years since the fall of Communism in Poland.

Mr. Obama reiterated NATO's obligations to defend its allies. He then flew to Brussels, where he arrived for the G7 -- G8, as it were -- summit without Russia. Senior international correspondent Nic Robertson is in Brussels and joins us now, live. Obama in Poland and Brussels. What's his message?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ukraine's topping the agenda here for sure. Look, this was supposed to be a G8. It was supposed to be held in Sochi in Russia, and President Putin was supposed to be the host. But after the annexation of Crimea, it was decided by the G7 members that they would hold their own, Putin wouldn't be invited. They say he has excluded himself.

So, Ukraine is going to be the topic of discussion, how to support this new president-elect, Petro Poroshenko. How to support his plans for the future of the country, militarily as well, shore up the army there.

President Obama will be looking to his European allies for support if President Putin doesn't heed their warnings and concerns, that he continues to back the armed militias in the east of the country, the separatist militias. Then he'll want these European allies, his G7 allies, to continue and up economic sanctions, potentially. They'll be looking at energy security.

But really, there will be emerging from here very likely a very clear message for President Putin, and that was a message that President Obama delivered very clearly in Poland earlier today. This is what he said.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We stand together because we believe that upholding peace and security is the responsibility of every nation. The days of empire and spheres of influence are over. Bigger nations must not be allowed to bully the small, or impose their will at the barrel of a gun, or with masked men taking over buildings.


ROBERTSON: Now, the global economy, the high -- global high unemployment rates, these will also be issues that get discussed, along with Syria, Libya, Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan. But it really is Ukraine, President Putin, that's going to dominate a lot of the discussion, Becky.

ANDERSON: Right. Meantime, in Germany, the chief federal prosecutor has opened a criminal investigation against US intelligence services. What do we know about that? And how is Ms. Merkel reacting to Obama's presence, as it were, at this meeting?

ROBERTSON: Well, of course, President Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel will be at the G7 together, they will be sitting down for dinner together today, and at lunch, again, tomorrow.

What the public prosecutor is saying in Germany is after a lot of investigation, they do think there's enough evidence and information to launch an investigation into whether or not US intelligence agencies were spying on the German chancellor's mobile phone. And also whether or not their British and US intelligence were eavesdropping on German telecommunications of German citizens.

So, this is something very much of concern. The issue of cost faith last October when the NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden first leaked this information that the US intelligence agencies were allegedly spying on Angela Merkel's mobile phone, and it caused consternation at that time.

The relationship has been rebuilt a little bit, Angela Merkel visiting Washington in May earlier this year. They're diplomats, they're politicians, they'll get on with it. But clearly, the timing of this, can we take it as coincidence? Certainly it will be a reminder for the United States the relationship is not entirely rebuilt, Becky.

ANDERSON: Sure. I'm sure Angela Merkel doesn't spend all her time looking at her phone, but we were just showing pictures. There was a remarkable amount of time that she does. Nic, thank you.

As the world marks the 25th anniversary of the massacre in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, the square itself looked much like any other day today. No official observances are allowed in mainland China, and international coverage of the anniversary being censored by the Chinese government. CNN's signal, for example, in China is being blacked out, and always is whenever we cover the story.

But it's a different story in Hong Kong. Tens of thousands gathered for a candlelight vigil in Victoria Park. Anna Coren was there for you.


ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Chinese regime may refuse to acknowledge the Tiananmen Square crackdown, but the people of Hong Kong are refusing to forget 25 years after the bloody massacre.

As you can see, tens of thousands of people, possibly as many as 200,000, according to organizers, have gathered here at Victoria Park for this candlelight vigil. Well, they are here to commemorate the deaths if hundreds if not thousands who died on that fateful day on the 4th of June, 1989.

Of course, Hong Kong is the only place in China where people can gather and remember the massacre, and from the people that I've spoken to, they believe it's their responsibility to remember this tragic part of China's history and to remind the Communist regime that the people of Hong Kong and mainland China will never forget.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every year, people should remember this date. No matter how much economic development and how rich people in China become, money does not bring back the victims. Money does not buy you freedom. So, in that sense, 25 is just a number. But this is a lifelong dream.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm merely doing what I think I should do. That's all. And I'm proud of the young people. There are so many young people that are coming every year. And recently, there's many people from China. So, we are -- I'm pleased.

COREN: Ironically, the message of freedom, democracy, human rights, and an end to corruption that protesters were calling for 25 years ago is what the majority of people in China want today. And while people on the mainland cannot take to the streets and voice their dissent, the people of Hong Kong are hoping that their message is being heard loud and clear.

Anna Coren, CNN, Hong Kong.


ANDERSON: All right. Well, our next guest was a protester who survived the crackdown in the square 25 years ago. Rose Tang joining us now, live from New York.

And as we take a look back at some of the video and images of that day, of policemen in Tiananmen Square, of teargas, that iconic image of the man standing in front of the tank. Take us through what you remember. Why were you there?

ROSE TANG, TIANANMEN SQUARE PROTESTER: I was there to die. I -- in the afternoon of June 3rd, I dressed in black and took a dagger, cycled for 25 kilometers to Tiananmen Square, and I thought it would be a moment to die for democracy.

And I was interviewed by a CNN crew, actually, minutes after I climbed over a tank to get out. I was among the last group to leave Tiananmen Square at the crack of dawn on June 4th.

ANDERSON: That's remarkable stuff. How long had this been building? Just remind our viewers what had been going on ahead of what we're looking at now, which is this iconic image of the protester in front of the tanks.

TANG: Well, the build-up was more of -- I would call it a Woodstock without the mud, but with plenty of blood. All -- millions of people were out in the streets in Beijing and the other cities in China in a thirst for democracy, which they had very little idea about.

I was asking around, "What is democracy?" Nobody really knew what it was about, but we knew we wanted something very new and very open, and we wanted freedoms.

ANDERSON: This is remarkable stuff, Rose. I want our viewers just to be taken back to that period of time that you're talking about. When US president George H.W. Bush said of the bloody crackdown in Beijing this. Have a listen.


GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: During the past few days, elements of the Chinese army have been brutally suppressing popular and peaceful demonstrations in China.

There's been widespread and continuing violence, many casualties, and many deaths. And we deplore the decision to use force. And I now call on the Chinese leadership publicly, as I have in private channels, to avoid violence and to return to their previous policy of restraint.


ANDERSON: Didn't talk about democracy there. But today, the White House, 25 years on, issued a statement on this anniversary, Rose. It says it supports the basic freedoms protesters in Tiananmen Square were demanding, and calls on China to release a full account of those who were killed, detained or missing.

It concludes with this, quote, "The American people and government applaud China's extraordinary social and economic progress over the past three decades and value good relations with the people and government of China." It goes on to urge the government to guarantee universal rights and fundamental freedoms.

When -- Rose, when you take us back 25 years and consider what you and your friends went through and how many people died and what the US administration said at the time and what they've said today, does it disappoint you, firstly, where China is today?

And then, the sort of -- the rhetoric, as it were, from the West, which can be quite supportive and sort of leave the human issues, to a certain extent, to the end, doesn't it, often, these days?

TANG: I don't think the Western governments have been supportive of Chinese people or Tibetan people, Uighurs, their fight for democracy and human rights. I'm very utterly disappointed. I voted for Obama two years ago. It was my first time to vote in the United States, and now I think he has disappointed us, the Chinese and the Uighurs and the Tibetans.

Actually, for the last 25 years, massacres in China have never stopped. And daily killings, now, and lots of violence in all corners of China. And judging -- look at in Tibet, more than 130 Tibetans have self- immolated. And look at the people being fired upon in East Turkestan. They call it Xinjiang.

And Xi Jinping has made China a police state and has cracked down on dissent harder than ever. It's much worse than before 1989. It's because of the lack of the Western governments' pressure.

ANDERSON: When you say it's much worse, how?

TANG: OK. So, for example, as I said, more than 130 Tibetans have self-immolated. And the so-called riots, actually, it's people's resistance movement in East Turkestan, they call it Xinjiang. And the police fired upon, for example, a few days ago, fired upon protesters who were protesting a government ban on women, now, wearing -- Muslim women, now, wearing head scarves.

At least -- before 89, the Chinese government was not doing that. The massacre really started, made a very bad start. And now, because of the lack of Western governments' pressure and their thirst for Chinese market and the money, they forgot about Tiananmen Square massacre.

They forgot about 89. They forgot about those people who died in the square. We don't want those people who died for nothing.

ANDERSON: With that, we're going to leave it as we look back on some of those images from 1989, so seared in your memory, so seared in so many of our viewers' memories as they would have viewed that event, of course, on live TV. Thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

The team at CONNECT THE WORLD wants to hear from you tonight,, have your say about anything that we're reporting tonight. You can tweet me, as ever, @BeckyCNN. That's @BeckyCNN.

Live from Abu Dhabi, you are with CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. Just ahead, camel owners in the Middle East often have a special bond with their animals. Could, though, the threat of a deadly virus shake that relationship? That coming up.


ANDERSON: All right. We are, unfortunately, seeing a sharp rise in deaths from the so-called MERS virus, or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.

Saudi Arabia's Health Ministry said on Tuesday that 282 people have now died from the virus since 2012, and that is a significant jump from its earlier toll of 190. That same day, the government announced it had sacked the deputy health minister, but it did not say way.

So far, the WHO, the World Health Organization, says it's confirmed 633 cases of the virus around the globe. Although it's not clear where the MERS virus comes from, many researchers believe it is linked to camels.

There are more than 28 million domesticated camels worldwide, that is according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's figures from 2012. They are concentrated in Northern Africa -- Somalia has the most at 7 million, followed by Sudan, Kenya, a very large population of domesticated camels, around 3 million.

You do get large populations outside of North Africa, there are 438,000 in India, I'm told, and more than a quarter of a million on mainland China.

Well, they are also an integral part of life in the Middle East, as I'm sure you know, especially here in the UAE. Many owners don't seem concerned about the possible link between the virus and their animals. Amir Daftari on the story for you.


AMIR DAFTARI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On a farm an hour outside Dubai, a very clear demonstration of the link between camel and owner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very nice.

DAFTARI: It's a bond that even a potentially deadly virus cannot shake -- for now. Mohammad bin Homadon (ph) tells me his family has bred race camels for generations.

MOHAMMED AL FALASI, CAMEL OWNER: My father used to to take me every day to the camels, and I grew up with the camels.

DAFTARI: Scientists believe camels are a possible source of MERS, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. Quite how it's transmitted to humans remains unclear, but the virus has already killed more than 280 people. And it's spreading, moving from its roots in the Arabian peninsula through the Middle East, and now into Asia, Europe, and the US.

In Asia, authorities regularly cull poultry to prevent the spread of the SARS virus. But for many here, killing camels is unthinkable. In Saudi Arabia, some are taking to social media to defend their animals.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They say you're the reason for the virus, but they don't know what they're talking about. Sneeze on my face.

DAFTARI: Mohammed says he's not worried about MERS either.

AL FALASI: They have never visited here around, around as we are, camels all around, camel neighbors, and our family are there. They're all with the camels. No one gets infected of the corona.

DAFTARI (on camera): Fears of the MERS feel a million miles away from this place, and in fact, the people I've spoken to today say they're not concerned in the slightest. And if anything, it's going to take a lot more to break the special bond they have with these beautiful animals.

DAFTARI (voice-over): As the day draws to a close, a camel is not for the evening meal.

AL FALASI: We'll go eat inside.

DAFTARI: Joined by other family members, we drink the heated milk. The talk this evening will no doubt be of camels, but not of MERS.

DAFTARI (on camera): That's delicious.

AL FALASI: Yes, very -- it is very nice, yes.

DAFTARI (voice-over): For now, at least, the virus remains an abstract and distant concern.

Amir Daftari, CNN, Dubai.


ANDERSON: Coming up after this short break, as the clock winds down for the first kick in the World Cup, Brazil's president gearing up for the excitement to begin. More on that after this.


ANDERSON: Just before 8:00 in the evening here in the UAE, welcome back. If you've got some spare time and can afford a ticket to Brazil and you've still got a bit of short change, get ready. Extra tickets for all 64 matches went on sale on the FIFA website at midnight Brazilian time, sort of about 12 or so hours in.

But who needs tickets when you are this man with this little beauty. On Tuesday -- sorry, on Monday, Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff had a chance to hold the trophy and imagine seeing her side win it for the host country next month.

We're just eight days away, now, of course, from the opening match. Iran's team anxious to get down to business. They hit the ground in Sao Paulo Tuesday and should have ample time to adjust, now, to the time difference. Iran's first match, of course, against Nigeria on June the 16th. This should be seared into your mind, these group stages already.

We've been talking to many Nigerians on the streets of Abuja to see what they think about who will win the World Cup and why. Guess what they said. Have a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nigeria will win the World Cup because we have the quality players to win the World Cup. We are the champions of Africa right now, so we can do represent that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are playing very, very well, now. We have midfield. We have the best. We have attackers who can go out there and make something good for Nigeria and make Nigeria proud.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Brazil 2014, Keshi is going to take our boys down there, and we should be in that semi -- now for the semifinal, if not by final, we should be in semifinal so that we can bring more Africa into the World Cup.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Brazil will win the World Cup because they are playing nice, most working hard to get the cup, Brazil is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nigeria is going to win the World Cup simply because Nigeria has great and talented player.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want Nigeria to make Africa proud. I want Nigeria to play for the World Cup, to win the World Cup.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anytime I watch my team scoring goals, I started predicting the one that will win.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go, Nigeria! Goal! It's a goal!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love that. I love that.


ANDERSON: I'm not sure you need a Parting Shots after that, but tonight, in your Parting Shots -- we return to Tiananmen Square, or more accurately, to the way the international community is marking the 25th anniversary of the atrocities that took place there.

Commentary and criticism take many forms, don't they? But few are as eye-catching as the one that we are about to show you from one of Beijing's leading detractors.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Tanks flowed through Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989, crushing the hopes of Chinese democracy just as it was beginning to flower.


ANDERSON: This cartoon is the work of the Taiwanese animators famous for satirizing so many news events in the past. Taiwan, of course, considers itself a sovereign state, independent of China, although Beijing would beg to differ on that.

The cartoon calls the masking of the Tiananmen incident one of history's biggest cover-ups, and uses the friendly persona of a panda to demonstrate how the Chinese government presents a virtuous face to its people and to the wider world.

I'm Becky Anderson, with CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching.