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Hundreds Arrested During Protests Against Security Law; Hong Kong Official Involved in Drafting New Law Speaks Out; China Rejects U.K.'s Criticism of New Law; U.S. Jobs Report for June; Facebook Under Pressure as Brands Pull Ads; Trump Calls Black Lives Matter a Symbol of Hate; U.K. Policing in Spotlight Following COVID-19 Lockdown; Palestinians Rally Against West Bank Annexation; Israel Hints West Bank Plan May Be on Hold. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired July 2, 2020 - 04:30   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: On a flight from Hong Kong to London on suspicion of attacking and wounding a police officer during the protests.

Well, while the laws language is somewhat vague, it contains four main points that could lead to arrest and prosecution. Secession which effectively criminalizes protesters calls for independence. Subversion that includes damaging Hong Kong government buildings to pursue a political agenda. Terrorist activities, the law cites arson and vandalizing public transportation and property all seen during earlier protests. And foreign collusion, that includes working with a foreign government or organization to insight, quote, hatred against the central Chinese government.

And our Will Ripley sat down with Hong Kong's only representative on the law's drafting committee for an international exclusive. And Will joins us now with the details. So, Will, what all did that representative have to say?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, this is the only Hong Kong citizen who had a vote in this national security law out of 170 members of the standing committee of the National People's Congress. So he was essentially representing 7 million Hong Kongers when he was there. But he stands behind this legislation which he says is necessary because from the Chinese perspective, they view the protests not as a symptom of social inequality here in Hong Kong or mistrust towards the mainland, but instead a plot by foreign powers to influence young people to destabilize Hong Kong. And, therefore, try to destabilize the mainland for social unrest here to somehow spread to the mainland. They view that as a national security threat, that's why they enacted the legislation.

And in the first round of arrests that we saw yesterday, and we do need to point out that the chilling effect of this law was significant. There were far fewer protesters out yesterday versus one year ago. And yet, there were still 370 arrests. And some of those arrests, a handful of them under this new national security law, including a 15-year-old girl who was arrested for simply waiving a banner that said Hong Kong independence. So I asked how are these arrests and these people who are simply in possession of banners and whatnot a threat to China's national security?


TAM YIU-CHUNG, STANDING COMMITTEE MEMBER, NATIONAL PEOPLE'S CONGRESS (through translator): It might be because some people intentionally challenge the law. Also, it might be because they did not understand the content of the law.

RIPLEY: How is a 15-year-old girl in possession of a Hong Kong independence banner, or anyone for that matter, a threat to the national security of China simply for possessing such a banner?

YIU-CHUNG (through translator): We feel very sad that some youths and teenagers have violated the law. We really don't want to see such cases, but unfortunately in the last year many youths and teenagers violated the law.


RIPLEY: He says that's partially the result of what China considers a lack of proper education here in Hong Kong. Which raises the question, teachers and professors who might teach things that the mainland disagrees with and maybe post about it on social media, could they be considered in violation of this law and could they be prosecuted? I asked him that, he couldn't give me a yes or no answer. But he did say that even though this law is not retroactive, in other words, arrests can only be made based on your behavior from the time the law has been put into effect.

People who are arrested -- and were already hearing reports of this -- they have their phones taken away and police and prosecutors scour through their social media history, their electronic footprint. And anything that people have said previously could be used against them as the law is prosecuted. So the true effects of this law, Rosemary, we have no way to know because these are early days. But we have to watch very closely to see does this effect not only freedom of speech and expression here in Hong Kong but even the education system in this Chinese territory.

CHURCH: And the world is watching closely. Will Ripley, so are you. Many thanks to you for your report and exclusive interview. Appreciate it.

Well, the national security law has sparked concerns and criticisms. And now the U.S. House of Representatives has unanimously passed legislation authorizing sanctions on entities that, quote, violate China's obligations to Hong Kong. In a statement house Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this move is urgently needed to respond to the Chinese government which she called cowardly and she urged all, quote, freedom loving people to condemn China's new law.

Well meantime, China is firing back at Britain's Prime Minister after Boris Johnson criticized the new security law. He said it threatens Hong Kong's autonomy and civil freedoms and he offered eligible Hong Kong residents a path to British citizenship.


But China's ambassador to the U.K. said the country has no jurisdiction over Hong Kong's affairs and is calling the Prime Minister's comments gross interference.

Well, the U.S. could see another record month of job growth as the economy attempts to recover from the pandemic. Jobs and unemployment numbers for June will be published in the coming hours. Experts predict the U.S. added 3 million jobs in June but warn the crisis is far from over and unemployment remains at historically high levels.

CNN's John Defterios joins us now live from Abu Dhabi. Always good to see you, John. So how long might that job growth last and what's expected from unemployment numbers out in just a few hours from now?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN BUSINESS EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well it's going to be a headline grabbing number, we know that, Rosemary. Let's take a look at the official estimates here of 3 million which is above even in May. To answer your point, this looks like a short-term burst of growth because of the COVID cases. But that would take the unemployment rate down to 12.3 percent. It's very important to remember where we came from in February though and that was a record low, 50 year low of 3.5 percent. Something that President Trump was basically banging the drums saying we've never been in such great shape and then the pandemic hit.

Now the Federal Reserve is suggesting that by the end of the year very close to still a double-digit unemployment rate particularly with the snap back. 50,000 cases yesterday, over 2.68 million will affect hiring in the second half of the year. And also the Federal Reserve Board chairman was suggesting that the minorities are taking it really on the chin during the second wave of the crisis because of the exposure to the service sector. So African-Americans and Hispanics were singled out on the testimony on Tuesday.

We're also going to get the jobless benefits for the week. This is kind of an updated snapshot on where we stand. The trend line is down again, Rosemary, to 1.4. But the tally already that we've seen since the start of the pandemic at 47.3 is going to go up yet again. 1.4 is seven times the normal average. And we have to look again at the fine print, the re-occurring claims. Those who cannot get back into the work force is very important to Wall Street and in fact, there are all of those who can't get back into the job market. It still remains a crisis although improvement over the last few months.

CHURCH: Yes, just shocking numbers. John Defterios, many thanks joining us live from Abu Dhabi.

CHURCH: Well, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has agreed to meet with civil rights groups as a growing number of advertisers boycott the social media platform. Companies including Microsoft, Starbucks and Levi Strauss have stopped their ads for the month of July hoping that Facebook will take greater action against hate speech and misinformation. CNN's Abby Phillip has more. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The world's largest social media company now under unprecedented pressure from its advertisers to do more to stop hate speech online. Dozens of companies pausing advertising on Facebook in protest. The debate touching the highest office in the land with Facebook coming under fire for leaving up these recent posts where President Trump appeared to threaten looters with shooting and spread false claims and misinformation about mail-in voting.

RASHAD ROBINSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COLOR OF CHANGE: As we watch Donald Trump, I think become more and more volatile with his posts, the fact that these companies have sat on their hands and allows it means that they are complicit.

PHILLIP: Rashad Robinson of Color of Change, one of the civil rights groups that have organized The Stop Hate for Profit boycott, says for businesses, the choice is simple.

ROBINSON: Do you want your ads showing up next to white nationalist organizations? Do you feel comfortable having your ads next to theirs while you're also putting on those same platforms, messages about why Black Lives Matter?

PHILLIP: Civil rights advocates are pushing Facebook to do more including removing content and groups removing hate and disinformation. Allowing outside audits of its content and advertising policy and giving advertisers refunds if their ads run alongside content that was removed because it violated the company's policies. With more than 98 percent of all of Facebook's revenue coming from advertising, the pressure on Facebook's bottom line is only growing.

NICK CLEGG, VP OF GLOBAL AFFAIRS AND COMMUNICATIONS, FACEBOOK: Facebook, we have absolutely no incentive to tolerate hate speech. We don't like it. Our users don't like it. Advertisers understand that we don't like it.

PHILLIP: Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg who has been criticized for appearing to be too close to President Trump and his campaign, saying publicly that the company will put in place new policies to flag, label, even remove content that violates its rules including from the President.

MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: If we determine the content may lead to violence or deprive people of their right to vote, we're going to take that content down no matter who says it. And similarly, there are no exceptions for politicians.


PHILLIP: Activists say Facebook is acting out of fear. Worried that President Trump will attempt to regulate social media companies he claims are targeting conservatives online.

ROBINSON: At every turn Mark Zuckerberg is worried about what Donald Trump will think.

PHILLIP: Abby Phillip, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: Well Donald Trump's postings have set off furious debate among social media companies about when his comments cross the line. And yet another tweet, this one about Black Lives Matter is getting a lot of attention.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.

Well, U.S. President Donald Trump is attacking the Black Lives Matter movement after continued resistance to condemn white nationalism. On Wednesday, the President called Black Lives Matter a symbol of hate in response to New York's decision to paint the phrase on the street in front of Trump Tower. The White House press secretary suggested the movement and the phrase are two separate things.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's talking about the organization?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We agree, all black lives matter with that sentiment but we will not stand with an organization that exhibits that kind of hate against our police officers.


CHURCH: Earlier the New York City Council had approved $1 billion worth of budget cuts to the NYPD. Mayor Bill de Blasio explained what redistributing the funds will do for the city.


BILL DE BLASIO, NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Our young people need to be reached. They don't need to be policed. Not only a billion you're talking about, another half billion beyond that to create recreation centers. Places young people can go that are positive. To create broadband access for young people in public housing. We've got to do a lot of things differently if we're going to change the reality for so many young of our people in our society. And one of the places we were able to find that money was in our police budget.



CHURCH: De Blasio says the plan to paint Black Lives Matter on Fifth Avenue will come soon and it will be the second time the words appear in front of one of the President's homes. The first being in front of the White House. Well, the U.S. city that once was the capitol of the Confederacy has

begun taking down many of its Confederate monuments after the city's mayor ordered their immediate removal. Crowds gathered in Richmond, Virginia, to watch and cheer as a crane and a cherry picker removed the statue of Confederate general and slave owner Stonewall Jackson. The monument had been standing for more than 100 years. The mayor said, quote, we have needed to turn this page for decades and today we will.

I want to turn to Britain now where a civil rights group says people of color are 54 percent more likely to be fined under coronavirus lockdown rules than if they were white. CNN's Nada Bashir takes a look at one such case.


NADA BASHIR, CNN PRODUCER (voice-over): Arrested for doing his job. Youth worker was Kusai Rahal was handcuffed after coming to the aid of a distressed black teenager stopped by police. His crime? Officers say Kusai breached lockdown regulations. He believes racial profiling is to blame.

KUSAI RAHAL, HEAD OF COMMUNITY SUPPORT, 4FRONT PROJECT: How do I come out of my vehicle and been approached by a police officer and I was white, I probably wouldn't have been treated in that way.

BASHIR: Based at one the capital's largest social housing estates, Kusai works to support underprivileged teens. The vast majority, he tells me, come from black and ethnic minority communities. Despite identifying himself as a key worker, which would have allowed him to be out during a lockdown, officers issued him with a penalty. With police now refusing to revoke the fine, Kusai plans to take legal action.

RAHAL: We need to show there is a way for us to try and fight these cases. And even if we might not be able to seek full justice, it will serve as a point for our members to feel empowered to fight for their rights and fight for justice.

BASHIR: For Kusai, challenging the police is a matter of principle. The incident occurred on the same day that the Prime Minister's senior advisor Dominic Cummings took a controversial trip with his quarantining family to Barnard Castle more than 200 miles away from his London home. No regrets on his part and unlike Kusai, no penalty.

This case coincides with a growing antiracism campaign here in the U.K. The Black Lives Matters forcing authorities to confront allegations of systemic racism. A recent study by civil rights group Liberty, has found that people of color were 54 percent more likely to be fined under government lockdown regulations. For some experts, this doesn't come as a surprise.

BEN BOWLING, PROFESSOR OF CRIMINOLOGY AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE, KING'S COLLEGE LONDON: On top of a terrible global pandemic, we are seeing disproportionate and discriminatory policing affecting communities of color in Britain. And that in my opinion, is not just a tragedy, it's a public scandal.

BASHIR (on camera): Many campaigners have accused British police of being institutionally racist.

BOWLING: There are practices, everyday practices that have a disproportionate impact on black and Asian communities which amount to institutional racism.

BASHIR (voice-over): And there's mounting pressure on the British police to address this issue. Giving evidence to parliaments policing and raise inquiry, the chair of the National Police Chief's Council conceded that more work needs to be done.

MARTIN HEWITT, CHAIR, NATIONAL POLICE CHIEF'S COUNCIL: And we have improved in many ways but are we where we need to be now? No.

BASHIR: With further antiracism protests set to take place in the coming weeks, the call for greater police accountability is only getting louder.

Nada Bashir, CNN, London.


CHURCH: And you are watching CNN NEWSROOM. Still to come, an Israeli plan to annex part of the West Bank appears to be on hold, at least for now. We will take you live to Jerusalem to find out why.



CHURCH: Israel's plan to annex parts of the West Bank may be on hold for now with thousands of people still protesting Wednesday in Gaza. The Trump administration has been helping the Israelis with a plan. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calls it extending Israeli sovereignty to Jewish settlements in the Jordan Valley. Palestinians want the West Bank to be part of a future state. CNN's Oren Liebermann joins us now live from Jerusalem. So, Oren, what's the latest on this?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, July 1st was always the date we were watching. Why? Because that's the date that in the coalition agreement between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition partners, he could begin to advance annexation of parts of the West Bank even if it was a process. Yesterday was the day Netanyahu hyped up as when this process would begin. And yesterday came and went with barely a blip.

Netanyahu simply saying will be in touch with the American administration for continuing conversations about applying sovereignty in the coming days. July 1st was always an artificial date. It was a date set in the coalition agreement and it was a date not only Israelis were watching, and that includes both pro-and anti-annexation but also the international community. And as we got closer and closer to the date, we saw international pressure ramp up against annexation. Including for example, a Hebrew op ed from British Prime Minister

Boris Johnson urging Israelis not to annex. Saying he is pro-Israel and anti-annexation. Annexation he says would be a violation of international law that nobody really could defend in Europe, certainly in the U.K. And that's a message we've heard from others as well. Including for example, a message from the Arab world, the UAE ambassador to the United States saying that Israel has a choice. It's either annexation of parts of the West Bank or crucially normalization with the Arab states.


So we've seen that international pressure mount on Israel. Crucially though, the question is, what is the U.S. and what is the Trump administration willing to green light? And that is also unclear. There were some meetings a couple of weeks ago. In fact, three straight days of meetings. Those came and went without a decision. Part of the issue here, Netanyahu when it comes annexation may not be on the same page as his crucial coalition partner, defense minister Benny Gantz.

All of this confusion has led to a place where we don't know when or what's going to happen. Netanyahu himself has been very secret about it. Meanwhile, Rosemary, what is it Israelis are worried about? Well according to polling, it's certainly not annexation, it's coronavirus and the economy.

CHURCH: All right, many thanks to our Oren Liebermann bringing us up to date on that situation live from Jerusalem. Appreciate it.

Well, people in Prague made the most of their lockdown being lifted with a feast on the famed Charles Bridge.

Well, Czechs gathered around the nearly 500-meter long table stretching down the bridge. Organizers say the lack of tourists made the massive dining event possible. The Czech Republic was among the first countries to implement a lockdown. There were lots of masks as well, noted.

Thanks so much for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Be sure to connect with me anytime on Twitter @rosemaryCNN. I'd love to hear from you. "EARLY START" is up next. You're watching CNN. Have a great day.