Return to Transcripts main page
China and United States Ramping Up Trade War; Trump Imposing $200 Billion of Tariffs by the End of the Week; Beijing Put Uyghurs in Concentration Camps; Paul Mozur, Technology Reporter, The New York Time, is Interviewed About China's Technology; How Nations React to Crises; Jared Diamond, Author, "Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis," is Interviewed About his New Book, "Upheaval." Aired 1-2p ET
Aired May 7, 2019 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this police officer does not want us to film. But what we believe is that that's a camp right there. This is
as close as we've been able to get.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Inside China's surveillance state as Washington and Beijing talk trade, we look at what's not up for discussion.
Then, how countries can cope with crises. Jared Diamond, author of "Upheaval" gives me a 12-step guide for the world.
Plus, how one woman reacted to her husband's crime, his child porn habit, by taking her story on stage and staying with him.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
China and the United States, the world's biggest economic powers, are ramping up their trade war again. President Trump has promised to impose
another $200 billion of tariffs by the end of this week unless Beijing comes to his table and meets his demands. A top-level Chinese delegation
is due in Washington this week amid falling stock prices and new uncertainties about the global economy.
But while negotiators focus on the dollars and cents, they're ignoring the flesh and blood as human rights disappear from the discussion, particularly
the suffering of China's Muslim minority, 11 million Uyghurs live almost entirely in the Western Xinjian region. Human rights groups warn that
China's hand majority government is trying to obliterate their culture and assimilate them.
And last week, the U.S. Secretary of Defense accused Beijing of putting as many as 3 million Uyghurs in concentration camps, something Beijing
We're going to explore China's massively expanding surveillance apparatus and how it's using it to control its ethnic minority. Uyghurs want their
human rights linked to trade talks but that's not happening and just reporting their story is an almost impossible task as correspondent Matt
Rivers found out in his journey across Xinjiang.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RIVERS: The bedroom hasn't changed since they left, stuffed animal on the bed, their clothes in the closet. Their grandmother won't change it. She
says it still smells like them.
Ansila (ph) and Nusila (ph), ages 8 and 7, they left their home in Kazakhstan to go to China with their mother, Adiba (ph), in 2017. Adiba
(ph) grew up in China, so she went back for a short visit to see some family and take a few classes in Xinjiang in Northwest China.
Her husband, Esten and young son, Normaken (ph), stayed home. But shortly after they arrived, Adiba (ph) and her daughters disappeared because they
went back at the wrong time.
Xinjiang is the region where the U.S. says China has put up to 2 million people, nearly all Muslims, in detention camps over the last few years.
Activists say Beijing has done that to try to eliminate Islam within its borders. And ex-detainees have told CNN they were tortured inside while
undergoing political indoctrination.
Adiba (ph) and her family are Muslim. Her husband, Esten, says a relatively told him his wife was put in such a camp while his daughters
were sent to live with distant relatives. He hasn't heard from any of them in nearly two years. "When he sees young women in the neighborhood, he
calls them mama," Esten says. He doesn't even know what his other mother looks like.
China says these camps aren't prisons but voluntary vocational training centers that are being used to not eliminate Islam generally, only Islamic
extremism, but the government has linked to past terror attacks in the region so authorities play propaganda videos like this one on state-run TV
to show happy Muslims cheerfully learning. They interview some who have supposedly been "reformed" steered away from a life of terrorism.
But even if that's true, Esten says that still does not explain why his wife was locked up. "My wife is not a terrorist," he says. "She has
nothing to do with it. I can't express with words how much pain I feel when I think of her there."
We asked Chinese authorities what happened to Adiba (ph), they did not reply to our question so we went to Xinjiang ourselves to some of the most
remote parts of China, traveling thousands of miles in all. We went to six places, both to see what is happening here and in one town, to try and find
Ethnic Muslim minorities have lived here for centuries, Uyghurs, Kazakhs and others, culturally distinct [13:05:00] from the Han Chinese who
dominate the rest of the country. But now, every day, they're forced to prove that they're not a threat to the state. Cameras watch their every
move, in some places positioned every 50 meters while Han Chinese regularly breeze through the Myriad police roadblocks, anybody we saw who appeared to
be a minority got stopped, racial profiling appears rampant.
But all that is likely still better than life for those that end up in places like this, detention camps designed for Muslim ethnic minorities
like this one outside the City of Kashgar. What China calls a job training site, to us looked a lot more like a prison, high walls, barbed wire, guard
towers, things multiple experts told CNN are telltale signs of detention centers.
Images like this are rare. Few people have seen camps like this up close because China's government tries to prevent reporters like us from seeing
them, a police officer soon reminded us of that fact.
What's happening here is that this police officer does not want us to film. But what we believe is that that's a camp right there. This is as close as
we've been able to get. And right over there, we believe are family members, presumably, who could have family members inside that camp and
they're waiting to see them.
China says it has nothing to hide here. But not only do they obstruct attempts to film or go inside the camps, they also prevent us from speaking
to those who know anything about them. We tried to talk to this man who just brought food to his brother who he says is being held in the camp.
But before we could ask about life inside, plainclothes security surrounded us and told the man to be quiet.
There are camps like these all across Xinjiang, nearly 1,000 miles away, we took a train to the City of Turpan to see another, same type of prison-like
walls, same type of secrecy. And the minute after we arrive, same kind of police harassment.
Ma'am, can you tell me what that is? Is this something that you don't want us to see?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why you are here? You tell me, why you are here? Why you are here?
RIVERS: We're here to film what we believe is a camp for Uyghurs and for Kazakhs and for (INAUDIBLE) and for all ethnic Muslim minorities.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who told you that? Who told you that?
RIVERS: She threatened to arrest us and demanded we delete our footage, so we had to leave. Our last stop is the town of Twoli (ph) where Adiba's
(ph) family says she was detained. Her husband, Esten, believes she has since been let out of the camp and is back living with her daughters. But
Esten was told they can't leave China because officials took away Adiba's (ph) passport. He has no way to contact her and fears he could end up in a
camp himself if he went to find her. So, we tried to find Adiba (ph) ourselves.
But as soon as we arrive in town, traffic police block our way and officials who had been following us insist on a group dinner. We declined
strongly, saying, no, no, no. But in the end, we've got no choice.
As Muslim minorities languish in camps not far away, government officials drink liquor and dance to folk music. It is an absurd scene, but we can't
leave. And so, we were unable to find Adiba (ph) and we couldn't deliver this message, what Esten wanted us to share if we found her, "Our son and I
have been waiting and will always wait for you. You are the love of my life."
Matt Rivers, CNN, Xinjiang, China.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: It is Orwellian, isn't it? And let's turn now to Paul Mozur, he's the technology correspondent for the "New York Times" based in
Shanghai. He too has been to Xinjiang Province and he's been investigating how China is using technology against its people, particularly the Uyghurs.
This is the deep dive into the technology aspect of it.
Paul Mozur, welcome to the program.
PAUL MOZUR, TECHNOLOGY REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Thanks.
AMANPOUR: We've just seen how Correspondent Matt Rivers was systematically and serially prevented and obstacles put in his way when he's trying to get
the truth or any answers as to what's going on behind those high walls and that barbed wire.
You yourself have reported also that it's just really almost impossible to get right to the heart of the story. Tell me what you've experienced on
MOZUR: Yes. So, when you get there, I mean, we were mostly in Kashgar. And in Kashgar, they're professional about this. So, they have teams of
seven secret police per journalist. So, when I was first there, I had a team of seven just following me every day. And then once my colleague,
Chris Buckley, joined me, he had another seven.
So, we had 14 people kind of just walking alongside us everywhere we went. And when you get in a car, they follow you in cars, when you go down a road
that could lead to a camp or starts to get to a camp, you see cars kind of slam on the brakes and cut you off and you see spike strips get thrown out.
But you're under this sort of suffocating sort of constant, you know, secret police presence. They would follow us into the bathrooms.
You know, and then you have these checkpoints. And the checkpoints are kind of the [13:10:00] bane of Uyghurs' everyday life on the ground. You
know, every 300 or so yards, you're going to run into a checkpoint. And when we would run into them, they would make us, you know, open up our
phones, they might look at our social media, they might go through photos and delete photos.
You know, and at one point, my colleague had a picture of a camel and a police officer, very stern police officer, kind of wanted to make a point
so he deleted the camel and then he said, "In China, there are no lies when we protest."
So, you're just sort of, from every angle, getting hit. And, you know, it gives you -- you know, it's not truly what the Uyghurs are living under but
it gives you a bit of a sense of it and it really is overwhelming.
AMANPOUR: Well, it sounds absolutely overwhelming. I've honestly never heard of one journalist and seven secret police. That is just a remarkable
escalation in their control and their surveillance.
But what you've also unearthed is the scale and the scope of an expanding surveillance state, and particularly when it comes to the Uyghurs. How do
you discover this? What made you probe this, you know, use of technology to almost redesign their surveillance state?
MOZUR: Yes. I mean, so it's something that's been going on in China more broadly for quite a few years now. If you left China maybe five or six
years ago and came back today, probably the most sort of obvious change in the landscape, the urban landscape, are just this sort of -- you know, sort
of towers of cameras that have been assembled on, a lot of intersections, different places. So, that investigation led us, obviously, to Xinjiang
but it also led us to look more broadly within China about what they're doing with this footage.
And what we discovered is that they're starting to run computer vision and facial recognition algorithms that are marking people based on their race,
based on whether they might have a history of mental illness, based on a past history of drug use, based on their discontent with the government.
And once you sort of -- what happens is on a local level, you have small lists of people's faces being assembled by local police and then they can
program the cameras to try to send an alarm if somebody of that type walks by, and then the police know where they are or maybe the police can respond
and get them away from a certain area that they don't want them to be.
So, it's pretty stark in that respect. You know, and then that led us to Xinjiang, where you see the entire -- you know, the entire world of the
place reworked by technology with the help of technology, you know, in terms of the cameras but also the checkpoints, you know, the biometric
collection of data, you know, DNA samples, face scans, iris scans, voice samples, all these ways that they're just trying to kind of, you know, get
a more high-tech ability to know what every single person in this region is doing at all times.
AMANPOUR: So, Xinjiang is where the Uyghurs' essential homeland is. I mean, they're a minority but remember, we're in China and apparently, that
minority adds up to 11 million people. I mean, they can't detain and put into reeducation camps 11 million people. What is their aim with this
technology and with the detention camps?
MOZUR: Right. So, nobody is going to come out and say, you know, for years, they denied the existence of these camps and now they're saying,
well, they're just vocational training centers. So, we have to kind of guess at the goals. But certainly, you know, any kind of analysis would
show that basically they are trying to fundamentally alter Uyghur culture and, in some ways, just stamp it out entirely and make this minority a lot
more like all the rest of the Chinese everywhere else.
And so, you know, you see specific targeting of Islam and, you know, expressions of religion. You see Any kind of Uyghur culture has to be
mediated in a very specific state-approved way. And so, at the heart of it, these camps are about cultural transformation, about changing a
minority in this just, you know, profound way.
And you know, whether they'll be successful or not is sort of hard to say. But certainly, even with just a million people in camps, that's a powerful
enough deterrent that people are terrified in the way they live their day- to-day lives, you know, spontaneous expressions of culture are just much harder to come by now and people have kind of being cowed into a fear. So,
in a way, you don't have to lock up 12 million. If you lock up 1 million, that's enough to sort of, you know, put a lot of fear in the rest of the
And also, what you can do with it and what they've done effectively is kind of destabilize the trust that knits together these communities. So, you
know, if you're worried about your neighbor ratting you out or informing on you or, you know, if somebody else goes to a camp and they get out and you
don't know why, you know, you just sort of stop trusting people. And so, you see all these things going on. And the camps are just kind of a part
of it. The camps are just the kind of -- you know, one of the sticks, one of the levers they can pull to put that fear and control, to control that
AMANPOUR: Let's just, for the sake of reminding people, talk about the Uyghurs, the Muslim minority there and what the Chinese have thought about
them in the past. I mean, to wit, the Chinese ambassador to Washington said that Beijing would retaliate in proportion if Washington went ahead
with sanctions. And he said the aim was to reeducate a group it considers terrorists.
Put that into perspective. What [13:15:00] it means terrorists? Has there been terrible trouble up there?
MOZUR: Yes. So, the history of this goes back a ways. The first thing you have to kind of understand is there's been this massive demographic
change in Xinjiang. Xinjiang has been under Chinese control for several hundred years. Under the Chinese communist party, there's been this
intentional system of sending ethnic Chinese to the region. So, it was for a long time the homeland of the Uyghurs and mostly just Uyghurs and ethnic
Kazakhs live there.
You go from maybe 5 percent of the population being Chinese 50 year ago to 50 percent today. So, you have this huge intentional demographic shift,
and that causes a lot of tensions. Meanwhile, you know, party policies do tend to sort of focus on, you know, pressuring people not to practice their
religion and so on.
So, a lot of this, you know, kind of turned the place into a tinderbox. So, in 2009, we get this sort of race riot effectively in the Capital of
Urumqi where, you know, a viral video of two Uyghur men being beaten to death in a Chinese factory spreads through Xinjiang, people march, things
get out of control and then Uyghurs kill about 200 Han Chinese in the streets of Urumqi.
But what it looks like is not so much terrorism in the sense of a -- sort of, you know, the way that the Chinese government portrays it, which is
this sort of fundamental Islamic influence and terrorism, it's much more a kind of a struggle for the survival of a culture and sort of a pushback
against these Chinese rules.
AMANPOUR: When you talk about trying to destroy this culture and the importation of Han Chinese, ethnic Chinese, it reminds me a lot of what's
going on in Tibet. I don't know whether you think there's a similarity there. But also, some of the aspects that trigger surveillance, you know,
talk a little bit about that. I'm using the word feminism or certain things that they hear people talking about on the telephone or whatever it
might be and it just seems like China is going all the way back to a repression that hasn't been seen since Mao's days.
MOZUR: So, just on the Tibet point, real quick. So, the person who is in charge of Xinjiang at the moment, this guy Chen Quanguo, he led Tibet
before, and a lot of the policies that he started with in Tibet, he's kind of perfected in Xinjiang.
In terms of what -- how people are being watched and what -- you know, in Xinjiang, it's just overwhelming, right. There's really, the government
needs no reason and, in most cases, most family members of people who have been taken to the camps aren't even necessarily aware of why they were
I mean, to not have a smartphone can be suspicion enough. So, people were switching to flip phones because the surveillance was so intense. And so,
to switch to a flip phone was kind of basically used as implied guilt and people were taken away for that. To have a beard, to, you know, to read
the Quran, to discuss religion, was, you know, considered generally a problem. And so, you can no longer really speak honestly or trust anybody
And so, we have an example where a parent told their child about the Quran, the child went to school and talked about the Quran. And the next day, the
parent was disappeared. So, you know, this is like -- this is a level of control that sort of penetrates into how families are operating and how
people talk to their neighbors. I mean, it's truly staggering how much these controls have crept in.
You know, and Xinjiang is by far the most extreme. In the rest of China, it's harder to get away with it because you have a large middle class who
will push back if you push too hard and people who have power, you know, of their own within the system. But at the same time, just slowly we see more
and more draconian measures being, you know, imposed on the society via technology.
AMANPOUR: So, essentially, what we're talking about is the expansion of sort of government by surveillance. I just want to play a little bit of a
clip of a documentary from the "New York Times" that you also took part in about, you know, who is big brother behind all these, you know, hundreds
and thousands and however many cameras they've just installed there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most of the time, it's just police watching on the other end of these cameras. But the idea is that one day soon artificial
intelligence will be able to automate that job, analyzing the day-to-day lives of hundreds of millions of citizens.
You might think, "Well, that's just China," but it's not only in China. See that? That camera is in Ecuador.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, that's where it gets even more scary, right, Paul? I mean, how many countries and why Ecuador? Why are they, you know, rushing to get
this particular kind of technology from China?
MOZUR: Right. So, the big thing you notice with these exports are just camera networks. I mean, that's like the major way that if you go to
China, the place is blanketed in cameras. And so, what we start seeing is these cameras appearing elsewhere, Ecuador for instance, and it's in dozens
and dozens of countries as far as we can tell. I mean, it could be as many as 40, 50 countries have bought these kind of comprehensive surveillance
systems from Chinese companies backed by Chinese loans. So, you know, this is kind of the belt and road initiative, right.
So, China [13:20:00] has all these big infrastructure projects, they're spending money in a place like Nigeria or Kenya or Ecuador and, you know,
they give you a $2 billion loan for a dam and they say, "For $200 million, you can also get this countrywide camera network." And so, a lot of
countries are saying, "Yes, let's do that."
In Ecuador's case, there was a big crime problem and a real need to bring in security. But the question is, buying a $250 million camera network, is
that really the best way to address Ecuador's crime problem? And in Ecuador, we saw a lot of people actually had experienced in front of
cameras where they -- you know, the police didn't come. They might be mugged in front of a camera and nothing happened.
And so, then what we found is that actually the domestic intel group within Ecuador, which was following an intimidating political opponent of the
previous president, also had access to those cameras and was using them to follow people, to spy on political marches, all kinds of stuff like that.
And we know there's a similar camera network in Venezuela where, obviously, there's massive protests in kind of, you know, dealing with real political
upheaval at the moment. Bolivia has one, Angola has one, we know Pakistan has something similar, the Philippines is putting one. And even in Iraq,
we're seeing the Chinese -- these Chinese surveillance systems go in. So, it's spreading in a very real way and it's -- a lot of it is actually
funded by the Chinese government.
And so, after the cameras, next comes the facial recognition. And all of a sudden, if you're a country where there's no protections, you could put
facial recognition that targets a racial group and tells you every time a racial -- you know, a certain racial group goes to a certain place or every
time five people of that ethnicity, you know, go into a square. And so, you can start really adding these things up. And Chinese companies are
hard at work on all of this and we know there will be funding there from the Chinese government to help countries buy this. So, it's a very real
AMANPOUR: Wow. It really is mind boggling, amazing. Paul Mozur, thank you so much for joining us.
AMANPOUR: And it really is social engineering on a sinister scale. And in a world that can often seem like it's facing multiple crises at once, which
ones handle them best? Jared Diamond has a fascinating mind and he's frankly a lot of things, he's a polymath, a biologist, a geographer, a
linguist and historian.
He's million copy bestseller, "Guns, Germs, and Steel," one the Pulitzer Prize in 1998. And now, he's back with another book called "Upheaval:
Turning Points for Nations in Crisis," about what makes certain nations more resilient. Looking at history, geography, biology, anthropology, but
also now psychology. Why? Well, let's ask him. He's joining me from New York.
Jared Diamond, welcome to the program.
JARED DIAMOND, AUTHOR, "UPHEAVAL: TURNING POINTS FOR NATIONS IN CRISIS": Thank you. Here I am.
AMANPOUR: Here you are. And I am interested in the psychology aspect and I wonder whether you might just start by perhaps putting it into context
with what we've just seen, this unbelievable crackdown and surveillance state in China.
DIAMOND: Sure. The issues of national crises, China faces its own problems and it's dealing with its problems, but national crises, all
countries face crises. The United States is spiraling into one today. And when I reflect on the countries in which I've lived during my 81 years of
life, Germany, Indonesia, Australia, Finland, Chile, Japan, they've all either had or been experiencing or been going into crises while I was
there. It's not that I caused the crises, it's that crises are common among nations.
Well, my wife is a clinical psychologist. Marie did a specialty in a branch of clinical psychology called crisis therapy, helping people deal
with personal crises such as breakdowns of marriages and deaths of loved ones and career setbacks. And as Marie talked to me about the outcome
predictors that help understand whether or not a person will respond to a personal crisis and change in a constructive way, it dawned on me that
nations also react to crises in ways that in many respects are similar to how people respond to personal crises.
AMANPOUR: So, let's -- I mean, drill down. Show me a sort of a case study of that, because it's really interesting. I mean, bringing sort of a very
personal psychological element to trying to resolve national crises and problems. I mean, let's just take America, not one of the countries you
studied, because you listed the six. But what crisis do you identify and what's the psychology of it?
DIAMOND: Sure. I discussed six crises that have unfolded in six nations where one can draw the conclusions. But my book concludes by looking at
four crises in the process of unfolding where we cannot yet say what the outcome is. Japan today, the United States today, and the world today.
In the case of the United States, the problems that the United States now faces are familiar to Americans, they are the deterioration of political
[13:25:00] compromise, the restrictions on voting that mean the decline of American democracy, increasing inequality and decreasing government
What might lead us to hope for a good outcome for the United States and what might lead us to hope for a bad outcome, well, people derive
confidence from crises met previously. The United States has a long track record of having dealt successfully with difficult things such as World War
II and the Civil War, that gives one optimism for the United States.
Something giving one pessimism for the United States is that people can get through personal crises by using other people as models. When my first
marriage broke down, I went out and talked to friends who had gotten divorced and learned from my friends about how they had conducted their
marriages more successfully.
The United States has a belief in what's called American exceptionalism, the belief that the United States is exceptional is so different from any
other country that there's nothing that we can learn from another country. But the fact is that the United States is wrestling with problems of
education and health and prisons and development, problems that face Canada and Western Europe and Japan, other democracies, and yet, we refuse to
learn from our neighbor Canada or from Western European countries in the belief that we are so unique that there's nothing we can learn even when
other countries are dealing more successfully with these problems.
AMANPOUR: That's really interesting. And you also sort of lay it out in a sort of a 12-step process, which is very AA, isn't it? I mean, it is
something that many people in those kinds of dire straits are familiar with, and you say that there are certain, you know, factors that you have
to actually accept.
For instance, you say acknowledge that one is entering a crisis, acceptance of responsibility, honest self-appraisal. How do you rate the United
States on those three factors?
DIAMOND: On those three factors, I have to rate the United States today as not doing very well. Many Americans, perhaps most Americans, don't yet
acknowledge that we are spiraling into a crisis. The next step in dealing with a personal crisis or a national crisis is to acknowledge that you can
do something about it, you have responsibility. It's not just pitting yourself as a victim of those bad people or bad countries out there.
But in the United States today, there's too much talk about what China and Mexico and Canada are doing, but there's no way that China, Mexico or
Canada can bring an end to American democracy. The only people who can bring an end to American democracy are we Americans. So, there's that
denial of responsibility.
And then once again, the issue that I mentioned, declining to look to other countries for models. Those are all things that could make one pessimistic
about the United States but they're also the things that can make me optimistic.
AMANPOUR: And just to put a not too fine a point on it, you also say that unlike some of the other countries that you've examined, the United States
has not faced a crushing defeat or an occupation such as whether it was Japan or France or, you know, in World War II. How does that factor in to
the U.S. resilience or not in a time of great crisis?
DIAMOND: Interesting question. One way that I think it factors in is that if you've been defeated and it's taken you a long time to dig out, as has
been the case for Germany after World War II, you got to be patient. Germany was partitioned after World War II. That was, what, 1945 onwards
and Germany did not get reunified until 1990, 45 years later. Germans had to be patient. There was nothing they could do to bring about the
Americans tend not to be patient. We were impatient about, in effect, our military defeat in the Vietnam War. We are somewhat impatient today. So,
patience is a quality that is -- doesn't characterize Americans. Instead, we have a can-do attitude and we expect quick success.
AMANPOUR: Well, I want to dig down a little bit on that because, you know, you say that some crises build over a long time. I mean, you know, you
talked about divorce in a personal situation. But I spoke to the economist, Paul Romer, a Nobel Prize winner, and he said, for instance,
about the climate crisis, which clearly has been building over a long, long time, the following regarding patience. Just have a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[13:30:00] PAUL ROMER, 2018 NOBEL LAUREATE, ECONOMIC SCIENCES: Here I think, one has to be patient. This is a problem that's been getting worse
for more than a century. It will continue to be a problem in the future.
Those of us who produce suggestions about ways to address it and mechanisms, we just have to be patient, keep kind of beating the drum on
this. At some point, the chance will emerge for the politicians to say, OK, now's the time to do this and that will come. We just have to keep
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean do you agree with that, that we can afford to be patient about some crises until the right moment comes, for instance, in this, you
know, existential crisis of ongoing climate change?
DIAMOND: I agree half with you. I agree that there are some things about which we need to be patient. Germany had to be patient about waiting for
unification. And there were other things about which no, we should not be patient, the time is now.
Climate change is a good example. There's no reason why -- there's every reason not to be patient about continuing to let the climate change crisis
And again, we can use an analogy to a marriage. If a marriage is deteriorating and it's continuing to deteriorate, this is not the time to
tell your husband, dear, let's be patient, our marriage is going downhill, but we're not in a crisis. Let's wait for it to get really bad.
No. There are times to be patient and times not to be patient.
AMANPOUR: Going back to sort of tolerance and that I think you identify as one of the big crises, the intolerance and the divisiveness in American
society. You attribute quite a lot of it to declining face-to-face communication. Expand on that a bit.
DIAMOND: Yes. It's striking that political compromise and tolerance of different points of view are declining in the United States. Why? Is this
purely a political phenomenon?
Well, there's a decline in compromise in American academic life among scholars, the world that I live in. There's a decline in tolerance just
socially generally in the United States. There's a decline in tolerance in getting out of elevators.
When I grew up, you let people come out of elevators before you rush in. Nowadays, people rush into elevators in the United States so I see a
general decline in social civility in the United States.
Why? Because I do so much of my work on the island of New Guinea where societies are traditional and people engage with each other face-to-face,
no cellphones, no telephones, no radio, no television. You look at someone in the face, you read their body language, you can smell them, you
experience another person as a person.
In the United States, and increasingly in the first world, we experience other people as words on a screen, but it's easier to be rude and abusive
towards on a screen than to be abusive to another human who's sitting two feet away from you and you're talking to them.
So I see part of the reason for decline in civility in the United States as being the proliferation of non-face-to-face communication but then you
respond. Well, in Japan, and Italy, and Germany, there are also cellphones. Yes, that's true.
The United States is bigger. We are 3,000 miles coast to coast. We move every five years. When Americans move, they move beyond the range of their
original friend, so friendships, social interactions, are shallower in the United States than in other countries.
I just come back from Italy and I'm really struck that in two weeks in Italy, I had more social life than in a year in the United States. Those
are the two factors that I see as possibly responsible for the decline in civility, including political civility in the United States.
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you because that's quite a profound and interesting observation at this point. You have also weighed in about
compromises and tradeoffs that citizens of certain nation, states, city- states, nations have to make.
You looked at Singapore, for instance. What are the compromises and tradeoffs for a good life that you have identified?
DIAMOND: Singapore, interesting country, interesting city, but it's a city that is a country. Singapore is a tiny nation city-state wedged between
two giants, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Singapore detached itself or was, in fact, expelled from Malaysia 50 or 60 years ago. Singapore found itself in a difficult situation. It still gets
its water and much of its food from Malaysia.
Next door is Indonesia with a strong military. How is Singapore going to be able to maintain a path between these two giants? The Singapore
government realized we cannot make mistakes, we cannot let our citizens shoot off their mouths [13:35:00] and insult Malaysia or Indonesia. That's
going to ruin our country.
And so, Singapore micromanages its citizens. There are monitors to monitor the movements of cars. But most impressed me on my recent visit to
Singapore was a Singapore City official who explained that they are installing monitors to monitor not just energy consumption, electricity
consumption in every apartment, but also the flushing of toilets.
In Singapore, we Americans would say for the government to monitor the flushing of my toilets, that's an intolerable intrusion on my privacy. But
in Singapore, there is a compromise.
The citizens accept that there's a compromise. They give up individual freedoms in order to have a rich and healthy life. Americans, that's
AMANPOUR: And you know what? For a whole other segment, we'll leave the issue of flushing toilets and why that is important in this debate. But
Jared Diamond, thank you very much indeed for joining us.
And now we turn to a very difficult subject, the victims of child pornography are, of course, the children, many of whom carry feelings of
suffering and shame that can last a lifetime. And child pornography, those who view it on the Internet, actually increase the illicit trade. That's
only grown stronger in recent years.
On the other side of this painful crime sit the families of the perpetrators, wives, children, mothers who must grapple with the reality
that someone they love was watching child pornography. This is what happened to actress Maddie Corman when her husband of two decades was
arrested on child pornography charges in 2015.
After going through years of therapy, Corman then went a step further. She wrote and performed a one-woman play about her experience called
"Accidentally Brave". And she's been talking to our Michel Martin, discussing the complicated path to forgiveness and her decision to stay
with her husband, who is now a registered sex offender and on 10 years' probation.
MICHEL MARTIN. CONTRIBUTOR: Maddie Corman, thanks so much for talking to us.
MADDIE CORMAN: Of course.
MARTIN: Just briefly, if you would, just for people who don't know the story --
CORMAN: Sure, sure.
MARTIN: Just give us the --
CORMAN: Yes. And I still, by the way --
MARTIN: The short version of --
CORMAN: As much as now I'm used to doing the show eight times a week, this still - I still get the tightness in my chest and I have my fake lashes on
and my hair done and I still feel like a little scared --
MARTIN: And I'm sorry to have to ask you to do that.
CORMAN: I mean I wrote the damn thing. My husband, a few years ago, late July, I'll just tell it the way it happened to me, because I do say that in
the play, I try to tell my story, not my kids' story, not my husband's story but, so, I was driving to work at 5:00 in the morning.
I am an actress so I was going to shoot a T.V. show, a guest spot, and my phone rang and it was my daughter screaming and I couldn't understand what
was going on and the police were in my house and they were seizing our computers and they had found child pornography or at least evidence of
child pornography on my husband's laptop.
I didn't even comprehend that that -- I didn't even understand at first what was going on, why they were there, what they had found. I wanted it
to be a mistake.
MARTIN: And you found out that it wasn't.
CORMAN: It wasn't a mistake.
MARTIN: And not only it wasn't a mistake, you confronted him, you said, is this true and he said.
CORMAN: Yes. And my heart just -- my heart sank. My stomach fell. I can feel it now and I do feel -- it was unbelievable.
MARTIN: To your knowledge, he never touched a child or harmed a child.
CORMAN: To my knowledge, he never touched or harmed a child or a person.
MARTIN: Do you draw a distinction between watching and doing?
CORMAN: I do. I know that some people don't but I absolutely do and that was an important thing to me to find out. I asked him. But I more than
just asked him.
There were polygraphs involved. There was forensic evidence, making sure that both legally but also for me, to make -- there were no chat rooms,
there was no texting, there was no contact. This was a very, very private, secret activity for him.
MARTIN: But does he acknowledge, though, that the viewing of child pornography creates a market for child pornography, which means somebody is
going to be inducing a child or touching a child?
MARTIN: Des he accept that?
CORMAN: He accepts - yes, as do I. And we both would say there are -- it is absolutely not a victimless crime, and I'm not talking about me and the
-- my kids. Absolutely.
And [13:40:00] not taking the moral out of it, putting it back in, I have said to him, I just can't believe. And he would say, I feel the same way.
It is against everything I believe. It is not who I am. It is not what I want.
MARTIN: You know what's so hard about this is that because you -- your husband -- I just want to mention, he's a very distinguished director,
right, very highly regarded, and also by your accounting, a great dad. I mean really involved in --
CORMAN: Yes, way more so than what --
MARTIN: Just doing all kinds of, you know --
CORMAN: And we were a good team. Like we weren't in this --
MARTIN: So it's just hard to understand how somebody who, you know, respects, loves and wants to support kids is then involved in seeing other
kids being treated in a way that is damage - could be damaging forever. It's hard to get. It's hard to understand.
CORMAN: It's hard for me to understand too. And it's taken me a long time.
And I will tell you the truth that a couple of days ago, I was at couples' therapy, still talking about the same thing. And I don't know that I will
ever fully understand it.
There is a compartmentalization that addiction seems to bring out and that people can have a part of their life that is completely separate and do
things that they swore they would never do. Pornography has its own special brand of addiction where I think that even if you're not viewing
children, which is obviously just horrible, but even if you're viewing something legal, I would -- well, I would say now that I, with what I've
learned, that a lot of people look at things that they would not actually be OK with doing in real life.
MARTIN: You had no clue because I know a lot of people are going to ask that. I mean I know a lot of people did ask that, did you have any idea,
did you in any way think or did you suspect and you were like, no, no, and no.
CORMAN: He was a great --
CORMAN: -- and is a great person with some issues but certainly, I didn't know this. And I didn't know he was watching pornography, which is -- I
have a lot of shame about that.
We never talked about it. It wasn't a part of our romantic life. It wasn't something -- and yet, we are not super religious or super
conservative. And this is part of the recovery for me and part of the putting my history back together that is a whole other thing that partners
of sex addicts or I would say any addicts have to go through or anybody whose partner has kept a secret from them.
I know the topic is salacious and exciting but if we put that aside for a minute, it's putting back together your history and going wait, we joked
about that. We were not precious about that. You are a person who's funny and could make jokes about sex and things. We weren't like let's not talk
MARTIN: How on earth did you come up with the idea of making a play out of the worst, not just day but months of your life?
CORMAN: Yes. When I received this news and I was lying on the bathroom floor and I was -- the last thing on my mind was, you know what I should
do? I should make this into a one-woman show and maybe star in it. No.
I was just, like, how can I get the kids to school? How can I go to the market and see the fewest people possible and not start crying when I'm at
Like, I was just -- and I was in triage. It was one thing at a time, one minute at a time, putting my oxygen mask on, then putting it on the kids,
sometimes putting it on them, falling down, remembering to put it back on myself.
So that was the last thing on my mind but about a year and a half ago, I had come up for air. I wouldn't say I was fine because I still don't say
I'm fine but I was feeling a little bit more stable. And I thought, I think, maybe, possibly, I'd like to write about this.
MARTIN: Did you think, I'm going to actually tell my story myself? Or was it more, I just got to get something down on paper because I have to?
CORMAN: I thought I had some need to tell the story. Mostly because the way that I got off the metaphoric and literal bathroom floor that I was
falling on over and over again was through someone sharing her story with me, the truth, the messy, the ugly, the heartache, the anger, the love, all
of it and she was kind enough, a stranger.
MARTIN: The person you call your angel.
MARTIN: Somebody who really steps up for you [13:45:00] and you've never named.
CORMAN: She ran the story in the "New York Post," which, by the way, if I had read that story, I would have said, ugh. And she read that story and
she saw past the headlines and the details and said, there's a family that must be hurting so badly and I believe that I can be of service.
And she found me and I am forever grateful and I don't know that I would be OK had she not. And it helped me so much, more than any of the therapy and
any of the friends and amazing family support that I had. It was this stranger telling me her story.
MARTIN: And then you committed to sharing your worst day.
MARTIN: Eight times a week. And I just have to ask, you know, what is that like?
CORMAN: You know, one of my sons said to me the other day, "Mom, are you having fun doing the show?" Because I love doing plays and I said, that is
not the word I would use but it is fulfilling sometimes.
I'm in group therapy with other partners of sex addicts and I would dread when we would get a new person, when someone would leave and we'd -- or not
leave and we'd bring in a new person because that meant I had to tell my story again and I had to see your face when I tell you my story.
Because I had so much shame and the trauma of the way my story unfolded which was an arrest first thing in the morning, my kids were there, I
wasn't there. I mean there's so much, and the shock of it being a total surprise and secret revealed and then it being in the newspaper within 24
And I started to see there was some method to the madness of my therapist actually wanting new people to come in and encouraging us to tell our
stories once again and reliving -- not reliving the trauma but re-examining what it is to share what happened to you.
MARTIN: What's going to be hard for some people to believe is that the play is hilarious. I mean I've got to be -- I just have to assert that
CORMAN: Thank you.
MARTIN: And I know that that's going to be a hard thing for some people to hear because, like, how the heck --
CORMAN: Gallows humor at times.
MARTIN: But I want to play a clip from the play where you are, I guess we'd call it in family therapy.
CORMAN: Family week at rehab.
MARTIN: Family week. He goes to rehab while he's awaiting the disposition of his legal case, right?
MARTIN: And you didn't want to go and you go through this sort of array of emotions but let me just play this clip and this is where you decide that
you're going to go to family week and you're telling us a little bit of how it goes down. So here it is. Let's play it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CORMAN: And I learned that my husband has some more secrets, things that happened to him long before I met him and hearing him share those secrets
makes me really sad but also really angry because I'm me, I shared everything with you, how could you not trust me with that?
And we learn about shame and abuse and I ask him why he couldn't just have an affair like a normal person and we do ropes courses. And even though we
aren't supposed to talk about the future, I break the rules and I tell him I will never, ever be OK with the things that you chose to look at and we
all wish that our partners had been struck by anyone of the way cooler, more socially acceptable compulsions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN: I'm curious about whether before this thing happened to your family, if you read something in the paper or if you saw that somebody had
been arrested for something, was there a part of you that was like, well, that person is --
MARTIN: I mean, you had to be like, wow I looked at these things very differently before.
CORMAN: Yes, absolutely. And I think it's one of the reasons I was so scared and continue to be so scared because I know or I made up in my head
what people would think and what I thought. And going to family week was a huge deal.
Not everyone at this rehab was there for the same reasons, but I met people who had done other kinds of unspeakable things and they became human to me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CORMAN: I'm not going to lie. It really helps that all of the ladies here at family week are beautiful, smart, and ferocious, and they are
entrepreneurs, and professors, and moms, and models, and bad [bleep] still happens to them.
And [13:50:00] I meet their husbands, doctors, generals, musicians, rabbis, and they are not evil trolls at all. And I start to feel something that I
can't quite put into word but it is compassion, which I can't feel for my own partner, at least not yet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN: Well, this play really has to be a part about forgiveness, doesn't it?
CORMAN: And I think there's acceptance and there's forgiveness. And for me, I had to come to a place of saying this happened. I'm not going to
That doesn't mean I'm OK with it. It also doesn't mean my husband's OK with it.
MARTIN: Spoiler alert. You do stay together.
MARTIN: And I think many people might be wondering, like, what was that like? What was that process like?
CORMAN: Early on, it was triage. It was, we got to put one thing in front of the other. I don't know what's happening. I don't know -- I can't even
The last thing I need is to -- I actually said to my therapist, well, I just want to run away and she said, OK, you can run away but the pain's
going with you.
So I'm not telling you what to do but you can't run away from the pain. You can run away from that guy, but you're still going to have to do the
work so my suggestion is don't make any decisions for the next six months.
Just take a breath, deal with your kids, deal with all the legal stuff that's going on, let him go to rehab, you do your work, and let's --
because I loved my husband. I didn't -- I had 20 years with a person who I loved. So I needed a minute to catch up.
So I don't -- there was no big moment where I said, OK, I'm definitely staying. It just -- I also had to see. I had to see what he showed up
MARTIN: You said you loved him. Do you still love him?
CORMAN: Yes, I do. I do. I think I said it in the past because it was never a controversial or shameful thing to say how much I loved my husband.
MARTIN: How's he doing?
CORMAN: Well, I would say you have to ask him but he's OK. He, too, is pretty -- the other day, I said to him, you know, I'm really -- I'm -- it
may not seem like it but no one's really harder on him than I am.
I mean I have been -- you know, I put a little bit of it in the play, but if there were a camera on me, there have been some pretty tough moments and
I have said some pretty harsh things.
And the other day, I just had a moment because maybe magazine came or something, I don't know, there was something where I said, you know, you've
lost a lot. I don't acknowledge it a lot, I don't give you this a lot but you've lost a lot, you know?
MARTIN: What's been the worst part of this whole experience?
CORMAN: The worst part, I mean, not to be specific, but the worst part is just that my kids are hurt and that my kids more than just hurt because I
think that there's some good that can come out of seeing if I put it on a holistic level and say, seeing your parent fall and seeing that parent get
back up is not the worst thing in the world.
MARTIN: Has he seen the play?
CORMAN: He did see the play. He snuck in.
MARTIN: He snuck in.
CORMAN: We had an agreement because we have no more secrets anymore. I mean, please, God. So he said I'm going to see the play. And I said I
don't think you should see the play.
And he said, "I'm going to see the play and I'm telling you but I'm not going to tell you when because I don't think you could do the play if you
knew I was there." And I said that's true. And so he did.
MARTIN: Any reviews?
CORMAN: Well, I said how was that for you? And he said, "It was really hard."
And about midway through, he said, "I'm aware every day of it, the hurt that I have caused, my family, my community, the victims, I think about it
every day. I don't -- I'm not in denial of what I did. But this was a new refresher course in how much pain I have caused you and the kids and that
was really, really painful."
And then he said at some point, "I was able to separate myself enough to say, my wife created something beautiful and important and funny and that
I'm proud of you." And then he said, "And I have a couple of notes."
MARTIN: I bet.
CORMAN: And I said I don't want to hear your notes.
CORMAN: And then in the middle of the night, I said, what are the notes?
MARTIN: Maddie Corman, thank you so much.
CORMAN: Oh, thank you. It was really nice to talk to you.
CORMAN: Happy to meet you.
AMANPOUR: That's our show for now. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast and see us online at amanpour.com. And you can follow me on
Instagram and Twitter.
Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.