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Virtual Meeting Wraps Up Between Xi Jinping And Joe Biden; Dire Conditions At Migrant Camp In Belarus; France And Germany Caution Moscow Over Military Moves; Judicial Panel: Killing Of Unarmed Protesters With A Massacre. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired November 16, 2021 - 00:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

Ahead this hour, soaring tensions and low expectations as the presidents of China and the United States held their first virtual face-to-face summit.

With Russian troops massing on Ukraine's border, Paris and Berlin pled unwavering support for Kyiv, and warned the Kremlin of serious consequences for any further escalation.

And how could they do it? Health workers in China (INAUDIBLE) killing a pet corgi, enforcing pandemic protocols.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with John Vause.

VAUSE: In the lead up to the summit, expectations were so low, the fact the leaders of the United States and China were even talking was seen as a win.

A from the outset, public remarks were friendly and civil. Xi Jinping referred to Joe Biden as old friend, even though the U.S. President had earlier made it clear he was not.

Instead, Biden talked about the dire need to avoid conflict, and both men agreed better communication was essential.

Their first face-to-face virtual meeting ended just a short time ago. They talked for almost 3-1/2 hours, we do not know precisely what they talked about. But, we do know they had much to discuss.

Almost every aspect of the relationship between China and the U.S. has been under strain and heading South.

Ahead of the summit, Beijing made it known Taiwan was the number one issue and demanded reassurances from the U.S. it would stick with the One-China policy.

For Washington, the militarization of the South China Sea and human rights abuses remains sticking points. Regardless of the issue, the U.S. president stressed a need for clarity and honesty.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our responsibility as leaders of China and the United States is to ensure that our competition between our countries does not veer into conflict, whether intended or unintended. Just simple, straightforward competition.

It seems to me we need to establish some common-sense guardrails. To be clear and honest where we disagree, and work together where our interests intersect, especially on vital global issues like climate change.


VAUSE: Well, for the very latest, let's go to CNN's Kristie Lu Stout live this hour in Hong Kong. And Kristie, in terms of deliverables and say towards -- as I like to say, deploy (PH) speak, it seems these two men talking is considered a win.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, this was about just keeping that channel of communication open at a very high level. The long awaited, virtual summit between these two world leaders wrapped up in the last 20 minutes or so. And it comes at a time of high tension and also, high hopes that this virtual summit could somehow improve the tone and the overall U.S.-China relationship.

The meeting spanned several hours and then we heard from Chinese President Xi Jinping who reiterated his call for mutual respect for a peaceful coexistence, and for the both sides to be able to pursue a term that the Chinese like to use, win-win cooperation.

We also heard from U.S. President Joe Biden who reiterated what he has been calling for, to better manage this very intense rivalry and competition with the use of guardrails in order to avoid conflict and to avoid misunderstanding.

As you mentioned, John, going into this meeting, Biden administration officials downplayed any sort of concrete deliverables to come out of the meeting. But, the meeting did achieve one thing, here's Paul Haenle.


PAUL HAENLE, FORMER WHITE HOUSE NSC CHINA DIRECTOR: In the near term, it can certainly help to reduce risks in the relationship, uncertainties in the relationship, put the relationship on more stable footing.


HAENLE: We have to keep in mind, however, that the sort of the long term structural challenges between the U.S. and China have really yet to be addressed. This could be the start of a process for that to happen.


STOUT: Look, china and the U.S. have lock horns on a wide array of issues, on unfair trade practices, the China's treatment of Hong Kong and Xinjiang, rising military tension concerning the island of Taiwan.

On top of that, the Biden administration has been rallying U.S. allies, creating these alliances like AUKUS, like the QUAD, much of the chagrin of the Chinese who see as a challenge, a containment challenge to its economic military rise.

But even so in the last week, we've got hints from even Xi Jinping himself of a thawing in the relationship. He was asked Tuesday, when the Chinese president said that China is sticking to manage differences with the United States.

And of course, that climate deal that pact to cooperate together, that was announced last week between the U.S. and China, John?

VAUSE: There are bright spots to be sure. Kristie, thank you. Kristie Lu Stout there in Hong Kong.

We'll stay with this story, live now to Washington, Jonathan Ward, Founder of the Atlas Organization which advices governments and business on U.S. China competition. He is also the author of China's Vision of Victory.

Thank you for being with us and staying up late.


VAUSE: OK, neither Biden or Xi made any direct reference to Taiwan during their opening remarks. But Chinese officials said ahead of the meeting, it would be their number one issue.

In particular, making the U.S. sort of make some kind of commitment to the three Communiques on Taiwan. The 3rd Communique which was August 1982 states the U.S. would not sell arms (INAUDIBLE) the long term, those arms sales would not increase from what they were at that time in any significant way. And ultimately, they would end.

For the record in 1982, the U.S. sold Taiwan about $400 million worth of weapons. This year, the Biden administration approve its first weapon sale to Taiwan with about $750 million.

So, clearly, on that point alone, the U.S. would seem to be in breach, and the comments made by Joe Biden about defending Taiwan, in essence breached the other two Communiques. It would seem that Beijing has the right complain on this and complain loudly.

WARD: Well, I think the issue that you really got here is Beijing's broad spectrum military buildup is designed essentially for conflict with the United States in the pacific.

So, you know, all of their military systems are geared towards the U.S. military basis, you know, our basis there, our ships, even our satellite systems, and all of that.

So, that's been going on for quite a long time. And then, the more recent sort of, you know, escalation of air sorties into Taiwan's ADIZ, and then, this, you know, threats to the Taiwanese government and also threats to other regional allies I think are all creating quite a bit of tension here.

So, the U.S. Taiwan relationship I think has been a very long, complex thing, I mean, obviously, these are our original partner before the Chinese civil war torn in favor of the communists.

And at this point, with the rethinking of the entire relationship with the People's Republic of China, Taiwan's come back to the foreground that something that needs to be attended to.

So, the need for Taiwan to be able to defend itself I think has been a long-standing principle in U.S. Foreign policies, so, in that regard, I think we're just back to what we've always considered to be important.

VAUSE: So, as far as Taiwan is concerned, to Beijing it's an -- you know, it's a core issue. Are you saying that is essentially, you know, more of a trigger issue, saying which Beijing can use in terms of a conflict with the U.S.?

WARD: Well, certainly, it is a flash point. I mean, I think at this point, we have a series of territorial claims, you know, on behalf of Beijing from the Himalayas, to the South and East China Sea to of course, Taiwan and the Taiwan Strait. And, all of that, you know, present sort of the big military challenge in the Indo-Pacific to have a China that's building up for the sake of asserting its territorial claims, and potentially even, you know, carrying out aggressive military action in those -- in those areas.

So, I think there are series of triggers, but there is the underlying, more structural problem of the change in the military balance that's becoming less and less favorable to the U.S., and our allies. And that's something that we obviously have to address together, you know, as a group with Australia, with Japan, with India, with Taiwan.

VAUSE: Both leaders, you know, talked about this need for better communication, and more effective communication. Listen to the U.S. president, here's Joe Biden.


BIDEN: I think it's very important, as I've told other world leaders when they ask about our relationship, is that we have always communicated with one another -- with one another very honestly and candidly. And it's -- we never walk away wondering what the other man is thinking. And I think that's an important ingredient for this relationship: to be open and candid, in terms of our relationship.


VAUSE: If the U.S. president had an open and candid conversation with some of the more hawkish members of his Congress, about what the One- China policy is and whether the U.S. stands on Taiwan independence, would that take the issue off the table for Beijing?

WARD: Well, I think the United States, you know at this point, we have a very clear bipartisan consensus on China, it goes way beyond Taiwan.


WARD: I mean, we're talking about, you know, both the Trump administration, and the Biden administration have you know, formally, essentially designated what's going on in Xinjiang is a genocide.

I mean you've seen the crackdown on Hong Kong, the military buildup, there's such a paramount -- you know such an important issue.

And all of these things plus to say nothing of China's rhetoric where they've threatened Australia, and Japan, with nuclear use. They've threaten the U.S. with that. I mean, it's really quiet a long list.

So, I think at this point, I think the changes in Washington is so substantial, so bipartisan, and they're well founded.

So, we're going through this period of an awakening on a country which we engage for 30 years economically. We transfer technology, we, you know, let capital flow in, we invited them into pretty much every institution that matters in the world.

And, you know, I think discovered that Beijing's ambitions really are to displace the United States as the leading superpower. And they're building the military that's designed to do that, and of course, their position in the world economy is also part of the strategy.

So, you know, their strategies go back decades. I think it's only, relatively, recently, that the U.S. has come to this awakening on what this really means.

So, it's bipartisan. I think Biden understands it, you know, Trump understood it, it's being passed from one administration to the next. And it's also I think shared among allies, from Tokyo, to Canberra, to Delhi to, you know, at this point, London and much of Europe. So, this is really a rather global thing that people are rethinking the meaning and the rise of China.

So, stabilizing that I think is going to be very difficult. It's why the expectations has been somewhat low for this meeting. But, the need to establish a dialogue is understandable to have those channels open.

And at the same time, you know, breaking ground on the real deep structural issues is unlikely, and I think most of you would acknowledge that.

VAUSE: Jonathan, we'll keep this conversation going next hour. You'll join us again hopefully at the top of the hour. Keep this going, because it's an interesting point you've raised and I think there's a lot more here for us to discuss. Let's take -- we'll see you in about an hour from now. Thank you for being with us, Sir, in the meantime. WARD: Thank you.

VAUSE: A new European sanctions are on their way, toggling everyone involve in creating the migrant crisis on the Poland-Belarus border.

Thousands of migrants now caught in a no man's land, living in dire conditions.

The German chancellor and the French president are both pushing Belarus and Russia to provide humanitarian assistance and bring this man-made crisis to an end.

CNN's Matthew Chance, reports now from the border region.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): With each day that passes this refugee crisis gets worse.

Desperate migrants here in Belarus had encamped against the razor wire set up by Poland to keep them out. Their dream of a new life in Europe insight but out of reach.

Where are you going? Where? Of course, into Poland.


CHANCE: Then as we prepared for a live report --

Where are you going?

-- the mood changed.

Just about to come to when everybody suddenly in this refugee camp right on the border here between Belarus and Poland suddenly got up, they're grabbing their things and they're moving off to a location that we don't know where yet. We're trying to establish where they're going to?

Where are you going to? Where?


CHANCE: The gate? What? To go to Poland?


CHANCE: And what started as a trickle became a flood.

The whole camp seems to be packing up its bags and moving on up this hill towards the border checkpoint between Belarus and Poland. We're seeing everybody, thousands of people are packing up their tents, they're packing up whatever belongings they have, and you can see these incredible scenes as far as I can see here in to the smoke although I don't know how much visibility you've got on the camera. But everybody now is moving away from where they 've been sitting along that border fence over here towards the Polish border.

Lining the road, we saw Belarusian guards keeping a watchful eye. Not encouraging the move, but not stopping it.

DINO, REFUGEE ORGANIZER: We're going towards Poland. If Poland open the door, we'll be pleased, you know, if they do.

CHANCE: They said they won't, though.

DINO: They don't know. We don't know as well. We go there, what going to happen next, I don't know, but we cannot wait here. We cannot hold ourselves here. Wove got no protection. We go there to European Union.

CHANCE: At the checkpoint, we throng through the gates with the crowd. Among the migrants, rumors may be spread by the Belarusians themselves of a humanitarian corridor possibly being opened.

To them, their children in thaw, it was a desperate plea.

Well, this is a direct challenge to the Polish and to the European Union. Let these migrants pass through the razor wire fences here for humanitarian reasons or push them back.


CHANCE: You can see the message from Poland. They've deployed police with riot shields. Their live speakers are broadcasting a message, saying you must obey your instructions or force will be used against you.

And so, the Polish authority showing no sign at all of backing down.

It is an uncompromising stance, and after a day of hope and drama in Belarus, these desperate people face yet another freezing night.

Matthew Chance, CNN on the Belarus-Poland border.


VAUSE: Tensions are also high in the border between Russia and Ukraine, Western leaders are warning Moscow about the military buildup in the area.

France and Germany are urging Russia to be transparent, say any attempt to undermine Ukraine's territorial integrity will have serious consequences.

NATO secretary general also warning allies to be realistic about potential aggression from Russia.

Jill Dougherty is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, and a former CNN Moscow Bureau Chief and White House Correspondent. It's good to see you. It's been a while.

JILL DOUGHERTY, ADJUNCT PROFESSOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Hi John, yes, very good. VAUSE: OK, now, well, France and Germany, they're warning a serious consequences for any breach of Ukraine's sovereignty by Moscow.

The U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson added that support for Ukraine, though, will not come without cost. Here he is.


BORIS JOHNSON, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: That others may recognize, other European countries may recognize that a choice is shortly coming. Between main lighting, ever more Russian hydrocarbons in giant new pipelines, all sticking up for Ukraine, and championing the cause of peace and stability.


VAUSE: So, in other words, you got Russian gas on the one hand, and Ukraine sovereignty on the other. If European nations have to make that calculation, how long will their result last?

DOUGHERTY: Well, you know, it really is complicated, because don't forget, you have the energy equation right now in the context of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline agreement. That's Germany and Russia.

Then you have the buildup on the border with the United States and the West say is a major buildup of Russian forces along the border with Ukraine. And then, you have Belarus.

So, a lot of people are kind of joining these issues, and it has become very convoluted. But you can definitely say that there is an enormous and very loud chorus coming from the United States, Eu rope and basically, the western general, warning Russia, don't do anything with Ukraine. Do not invade. Russia at the same time saying, don't worry, we have no intention and how dare you say that anyway.

VAUSE: Yes and saying pointing through NATO troop movements in recent days and weeks, as you know, sort of what you are up to.

But this Russian troop buildup has been seen by some maybe as a diversion from its ongoing immigration crisis with Belarus, fumbling thousands of migrants illegally enter the E.U. and on Monday, the E.U. announced that there has -- there was an agreement among member states on a new round of sanctions on Belarus. Listen to this.


JOSEP BORRELL, E.U. HIGH REPRESENTATIVE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS: By spending these global sanctions, we will be able to target those responsible for exploiting vulnerable migrants, and for facilitating illegal border crossing into the E.U.


VAUSE: So, let's make this a little more complicated. If this list, which is expected to include officials from Belarus, CNN airline, possibly the airport at Minsk, but if they were really targeting those responsible, then why not sanction Vladimir Putin who has been accused by a number of NATO countries as being the mastermind of this migrant crisis?

DOUGHERTY: Because not everybody agrees with that. I mean, let's look at the situation kind of back up. Europe has dealt with migration problems for a long time, with 1.3 million people coming in 2015. There aren't that many on the border right now. The situation is terrible but technically, there aren't that many.

So, why is it different this time? Because the West is saying, this is really the weaponization of migration by Lukashenko. But Russia and Belarus have an odd relationship sometimes. And you saw a certain dissonance just the other day, when Lukashenko said, if this doesn't resolve, we are going to cut off natural gas from Russia to Europe, which goes through Belarus right now. And Vladimir Putin said, I don't think that is a very good idea.

So, it is murky, and Russia is playing -- excuse me, at this point a very I'd say deliberately unclear role, denying that it's doing anything really bad. But not really explaining what it is doing in these circumstances.


VAUSE: That's interesting to, because you know, there is this perception that Lukashenko serves the pleasure of the Kremlin in many ways.

And what we're hearing, though, is that many of the migrants who are now trapped in this sort of no man's land on the -- near the Polish Belarussian border, we know that from the Middle East. And they're from countries like Iraq.

And how this whole scheme has been working, alleged scheme, I want you to listen to the Iraqi foreign minister talking to CNN. Here he is.


FUAD HUSSEIN, IRAQI FOREIGN MINISTER: Belarus is using these immigrants as a political tool against the European Union and European countries. We cannot forbid our people to travel abroad.

So, they are free, and this is according to our constitution. But when they arrived there, in Minsk, we fear that there are some organizations there, and they organize for them to get them to the border.


VAUSE: Yes, it all sort of makes it rips a little for exposures, you know, the absurdity of in denials coming from Lukashenko, that he's actually behind this crisis.

DOUGHERTY: Absolutely. And you know, John, it gets even more complicated because, you can say, in a way, if it's not that many people, why don't you just let them into Poland? I know this is a gross exaggeration, but in a way, it feels like it

could be a manageable situation, but you have Poland now vigorously defending its borders. And asking the E.U. and NATO and all of the West to support it. And it is getting that support.

So, Poland right now is very glad to get the support from Europe, by standing up, as they would argue for Europe, and protecting Europe from these invaders. So, there was -- there's a lot of signaling, there's a lot of posturing and there's a lot of finger pointing.

VAUSE: And there's a lot of really murky confusion out there as to where this will end up and where this will be going. But we will find out and we will find out along the way with you.

Jill, thank you for being with us. We appreciate it.

DOUGHERTY: Thanks, John.

VAUSE: Still to come, a massacre, then a cover up. the damning judicial report more than a year after a Nigerian army open fire on unarmed protesters. Details when we come back.


VAUSE: More than a year after Nigerian security forces opened fire on unarmed protesters and the findings from the judicial panel are blunt it was a massacre followed by an attempted government cover-up.

October last year in Lagos, protesters have gathered and angered by police brutality. They were mostly young, the demonstration was peaceful. But then, the military opened fire.

CNN's Nima Elbagir has details on the findings.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): It's been much anticipated and much delayed, but finally, after over a year, the report by the panel of inquiry into the events that Lekki toll gate in Lagos, in October of last year has finally been released. And the report makes for grim reading.

Its key findings are, that the protesters who gathered at Lekki toll gate to give voices to their frustration at what they claimed was police brutality, harassment and kidnapping. In addition to hostility, that the protesters were largely the report found, peaceful.


ELBAGIR: They also found that there was no reason for the army to be deployed to Lekki toll gate. In addition, the 309-page report found evidence of cover-up by authorities that soldiers and other officers at the scene had removed bullets and bodies.

One particularly heartbreaking piece of testimony came from a protester who spoke of being shot and thrown in a van with other bodies, presumed to be dead. She said she counted 11 bodies in the van. Another witness counted seven bodies being taken into the van, corroborating the first witness' testimony.

In addition to that, they also said that there was an attempt to cover up by Nigerian authorities, that the authorities had tampered with CCTV footage.

Much of what was in the 309-page report, talliew with what CNN had found in our investigation at the time. In fact, CNN was cited 37 times in the report.

Nigerian authorities accused CNN of misinformation, fake news, and of using doctored videos in our reporting.

But in this report, by the eight-person commission of inquiry set up by Lagos state government, the finger is actually pointed at Nigerian authorities, accusing them, not only of a cover-up, but of cleaning up the scene, and taking away key evidence.

So, what now? Many of those who survived that night tell us that they haven't even seen this report. But the general sentiment was that they are really concerned. They're worried that the recommendations of this reporting, sanctioning of those from the armed forces in the police were present at Lekki. An apology to those victims and survivors of that horrible night at Lekki toll gate. An investigation by the government into how this all unfolded. All of that puts too much back in the hands of the very government, that spent much of the last year obfuscating, denying and obstructing this very inquiry.

CNN has reached out to Nigerian authorities for comment and has not yet received a reply to our request.

Nima Elbagir, CNN, London.


VAUSE: Still to come on CNN, with infection spreading faster than ever, parts of Germany now moving to ban the unvaccinated from public gatherings.

Also, taking a COVID crack down just way too far in china, just ahead on CNN NEWSROOM.


VAUSE: Well, tougher restrictions are being reintroduced in some countries where COVID cases are on the rise.

In the U.S., infections in children up 22 percent over the last two weeks, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Child cases now count for more than a quarter of all new U.S. infections.

[00:30:12] In the coming hours, though, the German state of Bavaria will ban all unvaccinated from restaurants, hotels, and other public spaces. Bavaria's minister -- president says it's the last step before the situation becomes completely uncontrollable.

Germany is now seeing a record rate of new infections, with more than 300 cases reported for every 100,000 people.

And it's not just Bavaria that is singling out the unvaccinated. Other governments are trying similar measures as public patience wears thin.

Here's CNN's Salma Abdelaziz.


SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A traditional Christmas market in Austria, but this year, in order to wander through these holiday stalls, visitors must, first, show that they are fully vaccinated.

Austria, like a growing number of countries with surges of new COVID- 19 cases, is getting tougher on the unvaccinated. It recently ordered a temporary new lockdown that only applies to those who have not followed government advice and received the COVID-19 vaccine.

Police have been stopping vehicles to check for COVID-19 certificates, though people under the age of 12, or those who have recently recovered from the virus, are exempt. Critics say the new rules will be hard to enforce.

Under the targeted restrictions, the unvaccinated can only leave their homes for specific reasons. Like going to work or shopping for essential supplies. People are divided over the policy.

MARTIN GOGEL, SALZBURG RESIDENT (through translator): I would say it would be difficult to control. You cannot differentiate between people that way. It creates two classes in society.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I think it's right. It would be nice to put an end to all of this. And scientists, and data, show that this is possible through the vaccine.

ABDELAZIZ: Imposing consequences on the unvaccinated is gaining momentum, especially in places where healthcare systems are strained, with record numbers of coronavirus patients. And where vaccination rates have stalled. The German state of Bavaria rolled out new restrictions, banning the unvaccinated from restaurants and hotels, starting Tuesday.

The Russian government is considering legislation that would make health passes mandatory to access bars and restaurants. A proposed bill is before Parliament but would require people to prove they have been inoculated, recovered from the virus, or have medical conditions that prevent them from getting vaccinated, before entering these public spaces. Singapore announced last week it will stop paying medical bills for

COVID-19 patients if they are unvaccinated by choice, a move that many Singaporeans support.

WESLEY TEO, SINGAPORE NATIONAL SERVICEMAN: It's been almost a year. Billions of people have already taken it. I think it is about -- it is about time now that people start realizing, OK, well, this isn't that bad.

ABDELAZIZ: Patience wearing thin as the virus keeps coming back, with some governments deciding there should be a price to pay for not getting vaccinated.

Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, London.


VAUSE: Well, it was horrendous. It was all caught on camera. Healthcare officials in China killing a pet dog. The owner was in quarantine, and the dog was not allowed there, because it was a breach of pandemic guidelines.

The incident, though, has sparked a massive outcry on social media in China.

CNN's Will Ripley, live this hour in Taipei. We cannot stress this enough. This is just really horrible to watch.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is. And if you're an animal lover, you might want to kind of turn away, but this is an important issue.

And what's interesting, animal rights activists say, is just what a fury this has ignited inside China. This is a country that, for years, has been criticized over its treatment of animals, even dogs and cats.

But societal views are changing. People now consider these companion animals. They're family members, which makes what happened even more brutal.


(voice-over): Even in China, where some of the world's harshest pandemic protocols, what you're about to see crossed a line.

Security footage from southeast China Friday sparking outrage on Chinese social media, shared by a devastated dog owner. Some viewers may want to look away.

COVID prevention workers forced their way into a locked apartment. One with a plastic bag; the other, a crowbar. "Did the leader say we need to settle it right on the spot?" one says.

"Yes," the other replies, before taking a swing at the head of a small Corgi, cowering behind a table. The dog whimpers, runs to another room. The workers, off camera, finish the job. ASHLEY GINGER, DIRECTOR, ANIMAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS: Absolutely

heartbreaking, shocking, and totally brutal.

RIPLEY (on camera): And in your view, completely unnecessary.

GINGER: There is no justifiable reason why this should ever be done to a companion animal.

RIPLEY (voice-over): The dog owner, in quarantine. No pets allowed. A handful of people in her building tested positive for COVID. She tested negative. Her dog was never tested.


Some Chinese cities, like Shanghai, allow people to quarantine with their pets. In many places, pet owners are forced to leave their animals behind.

A local government statement, confirms the corgi was killed as part of a need to "thoroughly disinfect" homes in the area. The workers "safely disposed" of the dog, the statement says.

They apologized for failing to fully communicate with the owner. Both, no longer on the job.

CNN reached out to the dog owner and authorities. So far, no response. Other pets have died in China's zero COVID crackdown, including these cats in September, killed without their owner's consent. She was in the hospital with the virus.

GINGER: There's no scientific evidence that dogs and cat skin spread COVID to humans. There is a risk, if an infected person were to touch or handle, a cat or a dog, but that would be the exactly the same risk as if you are touching a doorknob after an infected person.

RIPLEY: Less than three months before the Winter Olympics in Beijing, China accused of extreme measures to fight a fresh outbreak. Millions of people under mandatory lockdowns, just over 1,300 reported cases, nationwide.

Chinese authorities under tremendous pressure to eliminate the virus. Some call this a heartbreaking example of unchecked government power in the name of public health.


RIPLEY: It is also an example of just how much misinformation is rampant about COVID-19, about animals and COVID-19, even though we're more than a year and a half into this pandemic.

All that would have needed to be done to safely disinfect that apartment and keep the dog inside alive is to rinse off the dog with warm water in the shower. Maybe give the dog a shampoo. There was absolutely no need to do what those COVID prevention workers did.

They said they were acting on the orders of their bosses. That is what is so upsetting to people who are watching this unfold. It does speak to the fear that exists. It speaks to the pressure that these local governments are under to get their COVID numbers down to zero, even if it means literally forcing their way into someone's locked apartment, and killing their pet while the owner, in quarantine in a nearby hotel, is watching on a web cam, unable to do anything about it -- John.

VAUSE: Yes. It's the sheer brutality and the heartlessness of it all which just -- anyway. Will, thank you. Will Ripley in Taipei.

Well, the field is now set for next year's presidential election in the Philippines, and the former prizefighter nicknamed Pac-Man says he's ready to K.O. the old political dynasties.


MANNY PACQUIAO, PHILIPPINES PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's like boxing. I have a lot of competitors, and you know, we fight inside the ring but outside of the ring, we're friends.




VAUSE: Right up to the filing deadline, voters in the Philippines were kept guessing about who would be running in next year's election. Among the prominent political names, a much beloved sporting icon who could be their biggest challenger.

CNN's Ivan Watson has details.


IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A professional boxer, the son of a notorious dictator, and a city mayor who once starred in steamy movies. Just three of the many candidates currently running for president in upcoming elections in the Philippines.

JAMES JIMENEZ, COMELEC SPOKESPERSON: So, 97 aspirants for the position of president.

RICHARD HEYDANAN, PHILIPPINES POLITICAL ANALYST: This looks like a circus. And in fact, even worse than a circus, this looks like a chaotic race.

WATSON: Perhaps the most famous in this crowded field, Manny Pacquiao, a senator and recently retired world boxing champion.

(on camera): Which politician presents the most competition for you?

PACQUIAO: It's like boxing, Ivan. I have a lot of competitors and, you know, we fight inside the ring. But outside the ring, we are friends. WATSON: The unpredictable political landscape in the Philippines,

shaken by last-minute announcements from the family of outgoing president, Rodrigo Duterte.

He's constitutionally barred from running for a second presidential term. His daughter, Sarah, filed for candidacy for vice president.

Briefly, the elder Duterte threatened to also run for the same job, until he backtracked from competing against his daughter, instead, announcing a last-minute bid to become senator.

The election doesn't take place until May of 2022, but in this political system, the stakes couldn't be higher.

HEYDANAN: Let's not forget in the Philippines, we have more round of elections. All we have to do to become the president is to bring more votes than everyone else.

WATSON: A front-runner in the current polls, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. His father declared martial law, ruling the Philippines with a terrible human rights record until a popular uprising ousted him in 1986. His mother, Imelda, is still famous for her shoes.

HEYDANAN: The Philippine political landscape has been dominated by two groups since the fall of the Marcos dictatorship. Political dynasties, celebrities. And for a while, the celebrities prove presented themselves as kind of a self-made alternatives to political dynasties.

WATSON: One critic of political dynasties, boxer turned politician, Manny Pacquiao.

PACQUIAO: That's my promise to the people, to the Philippine people. To end (UNINTELLIGIBLE). To end corruption (ph).

WATSON: He calls corruption a cancer in society.

PACQUIAO: All these corrupt officials should be jailed.

WATSON: Pacquiao has been in a public brawl with Duterte, criticizing his administration's handling of the COVID pandemic. And he accuses the Marcos family of stealing money during their decades in power.

(on camera): If you are president, would you try to get some of that money back for the people of the Philippines, from the Marcos family?

PACQUIAO: That's definitely, I will.

WATSON (voice-over): The veteran boxer preparing for the fight of his life in his country's political arena.

Ivan Watson, CNN.


VAUSE: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. I'll be back with more news at the top of the hour. In the meantime, WORLD SPORT is up next. See you soon.