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China Committed to Reunification with Taiwan; Dozens Dead after Suicide Blast at Shia Mosque; Journalists Win 2021 Nobel Peace Prize. Aired 12-12:15a ET

Aired October 09, 2021 - 00:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Robyn Curnow.

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Thank you for joining me this hour, live from Atlanta, I'm Robyn Curnow.

We begin the show in Beijing. Chinese president, Xi Jinping in a major national address, just a short time ago. laid out, some of his more forceful, public remarks yet, on China's determination to reunite Taiwan, with Mainland China. Take a listen.


XI JINPING, PRESIDENT OF CHINA (through translator): The session a need at Taiwan independence is the greatest obstacle to national reunification and a grave fender to national reunification and rejuvenation.

Those who forgot their heritage betrayed their motherland and seek to split the country will come to no good and they will be detained by the people and confined by the police state.


CURNOW: Beijing, right now, is celebrating one of China's biggest national holidays, the Shanghai revolution, of 1911 marking the end of China's imperial court and the beginning of modern China.

President Xi used the occasion to make the case that, as China becomes more powerful, reunification with Taiwan, is inevitable. Ivan Watson is tracking these developments for, us from Hong Kong.

No doubt, this is not just a national audience an international one as well. How will those messages and identities go, down in the capitals around the world?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, messaging at home and abroad and to the people of Taiwan, who, this weekend, are celebrating their own national day. That comes to the crux of the sharp decades-old disagreement between

Beijing and Taipei, which is that, Beijing considers Taiwan to be a breakaway region of Mainland China and, refuses any move toward sovereignty for the island of Taiwan, which has never existed under Communist Party rule and, is democratically governed right now.

So Xi Jinping, in some respects, repeated some of the existing, long- held views, of the Chinese government. He did have some other interesting statements. He stressed a peaceful reunification and he said, this is the will of the Chinese people, though, he doesn't seem to be taking into account the will of the Taiwanese people sorry who have a lot more democratic freedoms, than anybody, on Mainland China.

He also stressed, bringing Taiwan back into the fold of the motherland as he puts it could be done under the formula of "One Country, Two Systems."

I don't want to bog people down too much but that is the formula that was used for Hong Kong, a former British colony, and Macau, a former Portuguese colony, under which China agreed international treaties to allow these former colonies to exist with more freedoms under international treaties and, that there would be a gradual reintegration with the rest of China.

I think many here in Hong Kong and around the world would argue that formula was ripped up, in the past 2 years, here in Hong Kong, when Beijing imposed new laws and basically, crushed freedom of political expression and dissent as well as opposition political parties, in fact.

That is seen, by many, to be seen as the death blow to getting the Taiwanese, voluntarily, on board with a reunification process with China.

One final note, is you had serious military muscle flexing coming from Beijing just the last week, with a record number of warplanes, flying into Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone.

CURNOW: Certainly, we have. Thanks for keeping an eye on that. Ivan Watson, in Hong Kong. Appreciate it.

So China is demanding answers from the United States about an incident involving a U.S. nuclear powered submarine, in the South China Sea last week. The U.S. says, the sub hit an unknown object, while submerged, last Saturday.

The front of the sub was damaged and 11 sailors suffered minor injuries. As you can see, from these images. But China expressed grave concerns on Friday, demanding specific details including, locations of the collision and whether it caused a nuclear leak.

At least 26 people are dead, after a third explosion in Afghanistan this week.

[00:05:00] CURNOW: A local official saying, the suicide bombing hitting a Shia mosque in the north, leaving more than 140 others injured. ISIS-K, later claiming responsibility for the attack. Clarissa Ward, looking at what growing violence means for the Taliban as they try to move the country.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Taliban's whole appeal to people here is the promise that they can provide security. After decades of war, they have, essentially, put themselves on a platform to say, we are the ones who can bring about an end to the fighting.

So when you have these sorts of terror attacks, the likes of which we've seen, over just the past few days, hitting soft targets, mosques, innocent people, the bombing today in Kunduz attacking a Shiite mosque, that is exactly the sort of ugly, sectarian violence that Afghans have become all too accustomed too but are also deeply sick of.

And so can the Taliban get a grip on the situation?

Can they try to contain the threat, posed by ISIS-K?

We have just seen that ISIS-K has claimed responsibility for this attack and one can only assume they will continue to try to hit these soft targets.

The Taliban spent years being an insurgency; now they're the ones in charge and they're having to grapple with an insurgency. And they see for themselves it presents a number of challenges.


CURNOW: Clarissa Ward in Kabul.

Senior Taliban representatives are set to meet with a U.S. delegation in Doha, this weekend. It will be the first meeting of its kind, since the U.S. withdrew from Afghanistan, at the end of August. U.S. officials say they'll focus on safe passage out of the country for Afghan, Americans and other foreign nationals.

A State Department official says the U.S. also intends to push the Taliban to, quote, "respect the rights of all Afghans including women and girls."

In some parts of the world, the Delta-driven COVID surge, showing some signs of easing. But not in Romania, where some of the lowest vaccination numbers in the E.U., hospitals and health care workers are struggling to keep up with the rising number of cases. Here's Kim Brunhuber.


KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Like a war. That is how the staff in one hospital in Romania described conditions, as they treat the surge of COVID-19 patients, overwhelming the country's health care system.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Who can remember how many?

In the hundreds. Last night, we had 20 ambulances waiting outside and we had nowhere to put them. And this was the solution.

BRUNHUBER (voice-over): A makeshift tent is set up outside the main entrance, where exhausted workers treat the sick. There aren't enough ICU beds inside or anywhere in the country, the government said earlier this week.

Some spaces only opening up, when someone dies. This man is one of the lucky ones. He's been in the hospital for nearly a month, saying, he's recovered from the virus. The manager at this hospital says over 90 percent of the COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated.

GEORGICA VIERU, ORTHODOX PRIEST AND COVID-19 PATIENT (through translator): It is a terrible disease. I was one of those who thought the vaccine was not good. But I'm telling you now that it was a mistake on my part, an awful choice.

BRUNHUBER (voice-over): Romania has the second lowest vaccination rate in the European Union with less than a third of the population fully vaccinated. It recently tightened its virus restrictions after the number of new COVID-19 restrictions, sharply, increased over the past month.

The country's president calling the situation a catastrophe. The manager of one hospital, with patients lining the hallways, says he believes the whole system is near its breaking point.

CATALIN APOSTOLESCU, MANAGER, MATEI BALS HOSPITAL (through translator): We are right at the point of collapse. If the situation goes on like this, in one or two days tops, the health care system will succumb because we already don't have the space for the patients who require hospitalization.

BRUNHUBER (voice-over): The country is looking to neighbors like Hungary to divert some cases and ease the strain. But with so many unvaccinated citizens in Romania there could be no break in sight for these weary health care workers -- Kim Brunhuber, CNN.


CURNOW: A pair of journalists winning this year's Nobel Peace Prize. Maria Ressa from the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov from Russia. Muratov is editor-in-chief of the independent Russian newspaper, "Novaya Gazeta." He dedicated the peace prize to six fellow Russian journalists who, he says, gave their lives for journalism.

Now Maria Ressa, you might remember her. She worked at CNN for 15 years before she started her own digital media company. Will Ripley has more on her fight for journalistic freedom.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For award-winning journalist Maria Ressa, who has been in the media industry for almost 35 years, being the story was never part of her remit.

But hauled through the Philippines' justice system, accused of libel, alleged tax offenses and violation of foreign ownership rules in media, Ressa has made headlines around the world.


BERIT REISS-ANDERSEN, NORWEGIAN NOBEL COMMITTEE CHAIR: Ms. Ressa and Mr. Muratov are receiving the Peace Prize for their courageous fight for freedom of expression in the Philippines and in Russia.

RIPLEY: No headline will be more widely reported or more vindicating for Ressa than Friday's announcement, that she had won this year's Nobel Peace Prize, sharing the award with Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov. Representatives for the fight for press freedom everywhere.

MARIA RESSA, NOBEL PEACE PRIZE LAUREATE: Journalists will keep doing those stories and that's what I hope, that's what I hope will give us more power to do this.

RIPLEY: Last year, a judge in the Philippines found the veteran journalist and her former colleague, Reynaldo Santos, who wrote a story guilty of cyber libel. It followed the publication of an article in 2012 on her online news website "Rappler" about a top level judge with links to a business man with an allegedly shady past.

The article was published two years before new libel laws were enacted. Authorities initially dismissed the case but then president Rodrigo Duterte came to power.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The arrest warrant.

RIPLEY: He took exception to Ressa and her company's scrutiny and coverage of his war on drugs where thousands of extra judicial killings took place. In frequent media attacks, he even went so far as to say that journalists were not exempt from assassination if they did something wrong.

Suddenly, Ressa was facing 11 criminal cases from cyber libel to tax evasion, an attempt Ressa believes to scare and silence her.

The former CNN bureau chief and "Time" Person of the Year for 2018 said she was devastated by what she's always said were trumped-up charges. But Ressa has continued to inspire her colleagues not to give in.

RESSA: I appeal to you, the journalists in this room, the Filipinos who are listening, to protect your rights. We are meant to be a cautionary tale. We are meant to make you afraid, right?

So I appeal again, don't be afraid. RIPLEY: High-profile human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has represented Ressa as part of her international legal team fighting what she has called a sinister attempt to silence the journalist for exposing corruption and abuse.

Ressa, out on bail as she wins her Nobel Peace Prize, has proven she will not be silenced -- Will Ripley, CNN.


CURNOW: Thank you for watching, I'm Robyn Curnow. Join me in just under 2 hours time, when we will look at new U.S. legislation to support victims of that mysterious Havana syndrome. For, now I hand you over to "MARKETPLACE AFRICA." Thank you for watching.