Return to Transcripts main page

Connect the World

Brittney Griner Lands in U.S. After Release from Russian Prison; Vladimir Putin Blames Ukrainians for Infrastructure Attacks; World Cup Quarterfinal Matches Kick Off in Qatar; Nigerian Army Denies Report of Secret Mass Abortions; Xi Jinping, Saudi Crown Prince Meet in Riyadh; Man Shares Protest Videos China Does Not Want Public to See; U.K. Media Reacts to New Netflix Royal Docuseries. Aired 10-10:45a ET

Aired December 09, 2022 - 10:00   ET



CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN ANCHOR: Basketball player Brittney Griner is back in the U.S. after 10 months in a Russian jail. What's next for her, plus

details about the prisoner swap.

Brazil is ready to dazzle on the pitch but Croatia could hurt their winning plans. We are live in Doha for the World Cup.

And one man in China risked it all by tweeting out videos of protests which the Chinese government didn't want the world to see.

I'm Christina MacFarlane in London. Hello, and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD.

And we begin with Russian president Vladimir Putin saying more prisoner exchanges between Moscow and Washington are possible after U.S. basketball

star Brittney Griner landed back in her home state of Texas just a few hours ago. She was swapped with convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout

after spending 10 months jailed in Russia. Thursday's exchange did not include another American who the U.S. State Department says is being

wrongfully detained in Russia, Paul Whelan.

A short time ago the U.S. National Security Council's John Kirby sat down with my colleague Kaitlan Collins to talk about White House thinking on the

Griner-Bout swap. Take a listen.



so, and it just became readily apparent to the president and the entire team that it was either make this exchange, get one back, and the only one

that they were willing to trade was Brittney for Mr. Bout, or get none, and leave her there.

And I can think we all would agree that not even one more day in a penal colony for Brittney was a good outcome, so the president made that tough

decision and executed the deal.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Viktor Bout is a free man. He was convicted of conspiring to kill Americans. Are you concerned that he is a threat to

Americans or to any other citizens?

KIRBY: Look, with any kind of exchange like this, we do a national security assessment, and that was the case here with Mr. Bout, to take a look at

what the risks might be. Again, we are going to be vigilant, we're going to watch. He's on the street now. He would have been free in six years. It's

not like he was serving a life sentence.


MACFARLANE: Well, we have team coverage, Rosa Flores in San Antonio, Texas, Kylie Atwood is standing by at the U.S. State Department, and Fred Pleitgen

is live for us in Berlin. Let's go, though, first, to our Rosa Flores.

And Rosa, the moment that officials in the U.S. have been working for for months, happening just a few hours ago. Walk us through the moment we saw

Griner touched down on U.S. soil and what has followed for her after that arrival.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christina, you're absolutely right. This is the place where Brittney Griner landed. This is Kelly Field in San

Antonio, Texas, and at about 4:30 local time, we saw a plane come in, and then a few officials actually boarded the plane for a few minutes, and then

a few minutes after that we saw that Brittney Griner walked off of that plane and then directly into a hangar.

So there was no fanfare, there was no public spectacle, no big welcome for the WNBA star. It was pretty uneventful here from the ground, from what we

could capture from a public space. Now we don't know exactly what happened once she went into the hangar. And U.S. officials have been pretty

tightlipped about exactly what is going to happen to Brittney Griner once she arrived on. U.S. soil.

What they will say, though, is that of course medical services will be provided, that her condition and whatever it is that she needs will be

discussed, and that those services will be provided to her.

Now we do know a little bit about what happens once individuals like herself land on U.S. soil because this just happened a few months ago with

Trevor Reed. Trevor Reed actually landed at this airfield as well. And his family of course has done interviews with CNN in the past few months, and

they have expressed exactly what happens.

And in the case of Trevor Reed, he was offered services for reintegration into society. And this is from the Department of Defense. They have the

gold standard program here in San Antonio, Texas, and of course they offer it to civilians who have gone through an isolation event like being

detained in a foreign prison, which is exactly what Britney Griner experienced.


So, Christina, we're expecting for that to be offered to Brittney Griner. It is of course her prerogative to take these services. I'm sure she is

probably talking to her family and consulting, possibly with her own physician, we don't know, but those are definitely options of what's going

to happen here on the ground now that Britney Griner is on U.S. soil -- Christina.

MACFARLANE: We will wait to hear more, Rosa, but of course just absolute relief I'm sure from her family that she is home on U.S. soil.

Let's turn to Kylie Atwood. Kylie, we were hearing some more details there now from John Kirby of how this prisoner swap deal was negotiated. And we

know that the efforts to free Paul Whelan, according to the U.S. State Department, are still ongoing. What more can you tell us about that?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, that's right. And we spoke with a senior administration official last night who explained

that essentially it's in Russia's best interest to continue having these conversations because there are things simply that Russia wants and the

United States has been clear in saying they're willing to entertain those asks in an effort to try and get Paul Whelan home.

A commitment that President Biden and those folks around him in the national security space have made to Paul Whelan's family. It's important

to note that yesterday the Secretary of State Tony Blinken said that every offer that they possibly could make to get Whelan home as part of this swap

with Griner was made. But we're also learning from senior administration officials that that doesn't mean that they've essentially, you know,

completely hit a dead end here.

Maybe they are at a halt for the time being. But a senior administration official explained that they are looking at new things that they can offer

to Russia. They are very clear eyed about the fact that they're going to have to offer something more. Something different to the Russians here. And

of course this comes on the heels of President Putin saying that another swap is possible.

So there is a sense that there is some momentum here perhaps or at least some goodwill on both sides because they both have things that they want.

Just putting a finger on what the United States can give Russia is going to be the challenge.

MACFARLANE: Yes, well, let's get into that with Fred Pleitgen who is in Russia, to get a response on that, because as Kiley was saying, Fred, Putin

has been speaking I believe in the last hour or so about the possibility of other exchanges between the U.S. and Russia. How do you read that, Fred,

given that we heard earlier today the Kremlin saying that this does not mean that there will be an improvement in Moscow -Washington relations?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I certainly think it's something that's welcome news to Paul Whelan, and

certainly those -- his loved ones as well, and of course to the U.S. as well.

It was really interesting to hear what Vladimir Putin said. He said that essentially there is a mechanism in place for negotiations like this. He

said that the Russians were not closed off to further negotiations and that in fact prisoner swaps in the future would be possible. Now Vladimir Putin

said for this case in particular that it was FSB, the Russian intelligence service, that led the negotiations on the part of the Russians.

He said that compromises were made, and at this point or this instance, an agreement was found. And he also said that he believes something like that

could be possible in the future as well. So as Kylie was saying, right now the U.S. is looking at what else they could offer, what else could be on

the table. Certainly the Russian are saying that from their part, yes, negotiations about prisoner swaps can happen.

And, you know, one of the things that we've heard from the Russian side during this process as well, and in general also, about the Paul Whelan

case, is that the Russians say that there is an established mechanism between the United States and Russia to deal with such negotiations. The

Russians are saying all of that. Always has to happen behind closed doors.

There was a bit of tension between Russia and the U.S. in Britney Griner's case but certainly it seems as though the Russians are saying, yes, we can

continue talks, and of course one of the things that we know is that the U.S. has been asking about Paul Whelan for a very long time, and wants to

get him out.

Viktor Bout was very important in all of this for the Russians. I think the Russians believe, Christina, that they got a pretty good deal on this. It

was always very important, they've been saying, that Viktor Bout is someone that they definitely want to get out of U.S. custody. And Viktor Bout,

after landing, certainly seems to be playing along with that as well.

He came out in his first interview after landing on Russian soil, said that Russia does not leave its own behind. That certainly will be a welcome

message for Vladimir Putin. And he also said that he had no idea that he was going to be swapped. He said that they just came to him and said, look,

you're going now, that he had no time to prepare. But obviously for him, it's also something that is welcome as well.

So I think from the Russian perspective right now, they think that they have gotten a pretty good deal on this. Viktor Bout very important to them,

but they also say that they are not closed off to further negotiations about people like Paul Whelan, for instance.


MACFARLANE: Yes. And as you say, that would be very welcome news to Whelan and his family.

Fred Pleitgen there live for us in Berlin. I should correct myself. Thanks to you, and thanks also to Kylie Atwood and Rosa Flores.

Vladimir Putin admits that Russia is targeting to Ukraine's energy infrastructure, but he says Ukraine is to blame. The Russian president

spoke off-the-cuff at an award ceremony for Russian soldiers. Champagne glass in hand, he claims the relentless assault on the Ukraine's ability to

keep its power on and its people warm is Ukraine's own fault.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Right now there has been a lot of uproar about our attacks on the energy infrastructure of our

neighboring country. Yes, we are doing it, but who started it? Who hit the Crimean Bridge? Who blew up the powerlines from the cursed nuclear power

plant? Who isn't supplying water to Donetsk? Not supplying water to a city with more than a million people is an act of genocide. No one has ever said

a word about that. Total silence. But as soon as we move and do something in response they scream and shout to the whole universe. This will not

interfere with our combat missions.


MACFARLANE: Well, today, Putin threatened to annihilate any nation that launches a nuclear attack on Russia. Meantime, the United Nations is

sounding an alarm on the suffering in Ukraine, calling it a human rights emergency.

Let's go live to CNN's Will Ripley who's live for us in Kyiv. And, Will, given the immense suffering inflicted by Russia's ongoing targeting of

Ukrainian infrastructure, these comments from Putin clearly an attempt by him to shake the narrative and play to his base as we have seen many times


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And doing it, you know, clutching a champagne flute, flippantly talking about brutal strikes

on civilian infrastructure that is plunging millions of people in this country into the dark and the cold for hours if not days on end.

It is ignoring the reality that it was Vladimir Putin who started this war more than nine months ago when he sent a convoy driving from the

Belarussian border straight towards Kyiv, thinking somewhat -- who knows if he was deceived or if it was just ignorance or brash ego, but thinking that

the Russian troops would be welcomed with open arms by the Ukrainians after the relatively easy and illegal annexation of Crimea back in 2014, which I

was here to cover at that time.

But this time around, even though the Ukrainians were not immediately prepared to fight off the Russians, they certainly have done so with

incredible success on the battlefield, although at a great cost in terms of human life and suffering of people. And so with Russia losing on the

battlefield, unable to regain any of the lost territory to the Ukrainians, the Ukrainians even launching counteroffensives, they have been striking

the power grid in an attempt to demoralize the people of this nation who are now days away from the official start of winter with sub-zero

temperatures, and an inability in some cases to heat their homes. which is why the government has set up tents that people can go to to get warm.

They're doing the best they can to help people stay alive and stay out of the frigid temperatures, but these Russian strikes are certainly, you know,

harming the situation. There was just one, you know, it seems almost like every couple of weeks, or even less than two weeks, the Russians are

lobbing dozens of missiles directly at the power infrastructure that relies on Soviet-era parts that are not easy to replace.

Certainly the United States can't send them over. Even though they can send generators, but generators don't solve the problem. And so they're even

asking for other Soviet nations for help in getting power -- badly needed power repair supplies in. And yet there's Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin,

holding up a champagne flute, blaming the bombing of the Crimean Bridge two months ago, which Russia used as an excuse to start this assault on the

civilian power infrastructure, while not acknowledging the fact that all of this, this entire, unnecessary, brutal situation was caused by one person

and that's him.

MACFARLANE: Yes. And, Will, just briefly as a reminder to our viewers, how dire is the situation that you are seeing there in Kyiv this evening for

people who have been targeted? And what is the significance of the U.N. issuing this warning that we heard today?

RIPLEY: Well, this is the United Nations, you know, looking at the calendar and knowing that temperatures are going to drop significantly, even lower

than they already are. And that there are people who are living in areas outside of the capital, which has managed to maintain around 70 percent to

75 percent power generation capacity.


There were people living in very tall, Soviet-era buildings where just to get home they have to climb up dark, cold stairwells. You're talking about

elderly people, you're talking about people with health conditions, and so you have some people who are essentially trapped if they have an upper

level apartment with the lights off, in some cases without water supply as well.

And so these difficulties are caused directly by the strikes that Russia is vowing to carry on. Vladimir Putin didn't say that they're going to take a

pause for the winter. He said they're going to continue. So we can expect to hear once again the air raid sirens go off. Thousands of people forced

to, you know, hide in underground bunkers and then come out to a reality of power maybe for 40 minutes or an hour each day in some cases depending on

if the power grid in their area has been hit. That is the situation and it's only going to get worse as we move deeper into the winter months.

MACFARLANE: Yes. Temperatures dropping day on day. Will Ripley, really appreciate your reporting, thank you.

The suffering in Ukraine reduced Pope Francis to tears. Here is what happened as he talked about war during a public prayer in Rome.


POPE FRANCIS, CATHOLIC CHURCH LEADER: (Speaking in foreign language)


MACFARLANE: The Pope broke down Thursday during the prayers to mark the feast of the Immaculate Conception. He had to stop for about 30 seconds

before he could continue.

Now China is looking to strengthen its ties in the Gulf. Is President Xi Jinping's visit to the region a turning point? We'll have more on that


Plus, kidnapped, raped, and rescued but then forced to have abortions by the very people who are forced to protect them. We'll have more on the

horrifying allegations coming out of Nigeria.


MACFARLANE: Welcome back. Right now the two teams trying to become the first semifinalists at the FIFA World Cup are fighting it out in Qatar.

Five-time champions Brazil in the first half of their quarterfinal match against Croatia which became one victory away from winning the title in

2018. Right now that match is level, at nil-nil. And slated today, Lionel Messi's quest for World Cup glory will take center stage as Argentina take

on the Netherlands in the day's other quarterfinal match.

The "WORLD SPORT's" Amanda Davies is in Doha with an update on the match in progress and a preview of the one getting underway later.

So, Amanda, it's five-time World Cup champions against the 2018 runners up and as we speak no scores on the board yet.


AMANDA DAVIES, CNN WORLD SPORT: No. And I think actually a lot of the Brazilian fans, the majority of the Brazil fans in the stadium might be a

little bit nervous because they have been so dominant at this tournament so far. People have been talking about them as six-time world champions

already. They have been scoring goals from all over the pit. People talking about that first 45 minutes in their last 16 games as the best 45 minutes

they can remember in World Cup history.

But Croatia are aside who have some experience. They have a coach who knows how to get his team to dig deep and make themselves tough to beat. And they

have been giving Brazil a run for their money as things stand. Terrifying was actually the word that Zlatko Dalic had used to describe this Brazilian

set up in the run up to this match because of their strength in depth and they're attacking force in particular.

Neymar, of course, coming back from his injury, knowing that one more goal from him will see him equal that record, 17-7 goals for Brazil scored by

Pele. But equally, Dalic said we have nothing to lose, and that is just what his side have been showing so far. Yes, they haven't scored many goals

but equally, they haven't conceded any. They have the experience of being the 2018 runners-up in this competition. And you have to say, things are

getting tight, but yes, only 20 minutes still goalless.

MACFARLANE: Yes. Still goalless. And in terms of today's other match, Amanda, all eyes of course on one Lionel Messi as Argentina take on the

Netherlands, and as we know with every match this could be of course Messi's last.

DAVIES: Yes. A lot of fans here who very much are not hoping that is the case. Yes, the Argentinian fans have traveled in their numbers but a lot of

the locals here have also decided that Lionel Messi is their man. Perhaps because of the Qatari link with Paris Saint-Germain, of course. His name

definitely the favorite on the back of shirts. And despite the Dutch's best efforts in the likes of Virgil van Dijk to try to talk about the team

they're not just playing Lionel Messi, they're playing the Argentinian team, it is impossible to look ahead to this match without talking about

the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner who scored three goals in four games so far in this tournament.

And like you rightly pointed out, everybody talking about the exit of Argentina from this competition, probably being the last time we see him in

an Argentinian shirt. But equally on the other side, if Argentina win and it's the Netherlands go out it's likely to be the last time we see

legendary coach Louis van Gaal on the touchline as well. 71 years of age, having won all that he's won in this game.

He's come back here for a third stint in charge of the Netherlands, really wanting to make amends for that semifinal exit on penalties at the hands of

Argentina in 2014. He's been enjoying this moment. We've seen him singing and dancing with the team as they've been back, getting back to the hotel

after their victory over the USA. And he is giving his side confidence, saying we have a score to settle. He is not letting Messi get away with it

without a fight.

MACFARLANE: If there's any man who knows how to smother Lionel Messi, it is of course Louis van Gaal. We will see and wait the outcome of that later


Amanda, thank you so much, there live from Doha.

Let's get you up to speed on some of the other stories that are on our radar right now. The Keystone Pipeline which carries oil from Canada to the

United States has been shut down after a leak was discovered Wednesday night. Officials say about 14,000 barrels of oil spilled into a creek in

Kansas. Federal safety regulators are investigating the leak.

Russian opposition figure Ilya Yashin has been sentenced to eight and a half years in prison. The Russian court found him guilty of spreading false

misinformation about the army. Prosecutors argue that his comments about the killings in the Ukrainian town of Bucha went against the law that was

passed shortly after the invasion started. Yashin calls the verdict hysterical.

Trucks filled with U.K. funded aid are making their way into Ethiopia to help those affected by drought and conflict. Badly needed supplies started

trickling in after the government has struck a peace deal with the Tigrayan rebels last month. And power was restored this week in Tigray's capital for

the first time in over a year.

And Nigeria's military is angrily denying a report from the Reuters news agency that it has forced thousands of Nigerian women and girls to have

abortions after they were rescued from Boko Haram militants.


One Nigerian army commander slammed the report as a fabrication.


MAJ. GEN. CHRISTOPHER MUSA, NIGERIAN ARMY: It has never happened. It is not happening and it will not happen. It is not in our character. We are

professionals. We're human beings and these are Nigerians that you are talking about.


MACFARLANE: Reuters says its investigation found that the secret military operation began at least nine years ago in the country's northeast where

the militant group is most active. Amnesty International and other rights groups have called for an investigation.

CNN's Nima Elbagir has more.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): The details are absolutely horrifying. Reuters news agency in a new

investigation says that they have evidence that at least 10,000 pregnancies were aborted. Pregnancies carried by women and girls who had been rescued

from the Boko Haram militant terrorist organization and who were carrying the children of their captors, forced by Nigeria's own military to abort

these pregnancies. This is what one girl who spoke to Reuters had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): In the beginning, we were in our town. Boko Haram came and attacked. They grabbed us and took us away to the

bush. After that, we were in the bush in their hands. Soldiers came and took us. After that, they took us to Maiduguri barracks. And they aborted

our pregnancies.


ELBAGIR: This is not the first time that Nigerian authorities, that the Nigerian military has been accused of human rights violations. A CNN

investigation into the incidents at Lekki toll gate two years ago found that the Nigerian army had fired live rounds into protesters who were

protesting, who were demonstrating against police brutality.

This is not only an issue for Nigeria and the condemnation that they're receiving from the Nigerian public for these allegations of human rights

violations. It's also an issue for the United States of America. Over the last two decades, Nigeria has been the recipient of hundreds of millions of

dollars of U.S. military assistance, of U.S. training. Also, they have been approved for U.S. armed sales.

Any allegations of human rights violations causes great concerns in the United States because it would place the U.S. administration itself in

violation of U.S. law, of the Leahy Act, which prohibits the United States to give military assistance to foreign governments accused of human rights


A year ago, when the judicial panel investigating what happened at Lekki toll gate found that CNN's investigation had actually been true, that the

Nigerian authorities, that the Nigerian army was guilty of firing live fire into demonstrators protesting police brutality, we asked the U.S. State

Department and they said that if this was true, that they would want the perpetrators held to account and that it would call into question U.S.

military support.

Two years later, nothing has happened. The question remains whether these latest allegations of wrongdoing on the part of the Nigerian military will

have an impact on the U.S.' support.

Nima Elbagir, CNN, London.


MACFARLANE: Stay with us on CONNECT THE WORLD, we'll have more news for you after this quick break.



MACFARLANE: And welcome back, I'm Christina MacFarlane in London and you are watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is meeting with more Gulf leaders today after Thursday talk with the Saudi crown prince. The two countries released a

statement emphasizing the importance of stability in global oil markets. Beijing is the world's largest buyer of oil and CNN's Steven Jiang tells us

oil is at the center of their relationship.


STEVEN JIANG, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF: When it comes to this fast, evolving and growing relationship between China and Saudi Arabia, it's

about more than just oil, but at the same time, nothing matters more than oil because as the world's second largest economy and its biggest oil

importer, China obviously needs reliable and diversified sources of energy especially at a time when Xi Jinping is trying to jumpstart a sluggish

economy because of the impact of his Zero COVID policy, which is finally easing.

So Saudi Arabia really plays a crucial role in this strategy. Now in recent years, Saudi oil had been the biggest source of China's foreign oil until

early this year when Russia started flooding the global market with cheap oil after its invasion of Ukraine to counter Western sanctions. Now Saudi

Arabia has since reclaimed the top spot. But they obviously very much want to keep it that way by ensuring that China remains its loyal big customer

even when competitors are offering cheaper prices.

And there are some geopolitical implications here as well, with reports saying both sides already talking about pricing some of the oil

transactions in the Chinese currency. Now that could pose a challenge to the so-called petrol dollar system which is critical to the U.S. dollar's

position as the global reserve currency. But that in a way very much speaks to Xi Jinping's desire to reshape a U.S.-led world order.

And the Saudis are very much aware of that and they're trying to adapt to that, especially at a time when they seem to reconsider relying solely on

the U.S. as a security guarantee with decreasing U.S. military presence in the region. So in their joint statement after the summit, the two flexed to

deepen their cooperation and coordination in the field of defense, but even more notable was the language in earlier Chinese readout about a summit

really highlighting Saudi's firm support for China's efforts to deradicalize its population and also it's firm opposition to outside

interference in Chinese internal affairs in the name of human rights.

All of that really thinly veiled references to China's policy on Xinjiang where Washington has accused Beijing of committing genocide against its

Muslim minorities. That's something China has always denied, but having that kind of firm support by the world's preeminent Muslim power is very

important for Xi Jinping, and something he could definitely use.

Steven Jiang, CNN, Beijing.


MACFARLANE: Now the loosening of COVID restrictions in China was sparked by landmark protests. Video shared online give a rare glimpse of the harsh

reality on the ground, defying China's giant censorship apparatus. Now the man responsible for sharing many of those videos says he's received death

threats. He speaks exclusively with CNN's Selina Wang.


SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Video after video of historic anti-Zero COVID protests in China broadcast on the world's television

screens everywhere but inside China where authorities censored all evidence of the protests.

So how did these images managed to get beyond China's controlled internet? Newsrooms around the world including CNN have been relying on information

from this Twitter account. And there's only one man behind it. Li, a Chinese painter in Italy, whose identity we're hiding for security reasons.

MR. LI, OWNER OF TWITTER ACCOUNT WHYYOUTOUZHELE (through translator): This account may become a symbol that Chinese people are still pursuing freedom

of speech. When you post something within China, it will quickly disappear. This account can document all these historical events that cannot be saved

inside the country.

WANG: His account quickly turned into one of the world's key sources for protest information.


Li says he received thousands of submissions per day as the demonstrations unfolded. Apps like Twitter, YouTube and Instagram are banned in China. But

people used virtual private networks, or VPNs, which are prohibited in China, to access Twitter and send their videos to Li.

(On-camera): What's the motivation behind all the work you do?

MR. LI (through translator): It's to let people inside of China climb out of the great firewall, to see what's happening at this very moment.

WANG (voice-over): But that's exactly what authorities want to prevent. Here is what happens if you search for information about any of the

protests on Chinese social media. You get a notice that says, "Sorry, no relevant results are found." Meanwhile, on Li's Twitter account, he was

rapidly uploading videos of demonstrations across China, from Urumqi, Nanjing, Guangzhou, to Shanghai, where protesters chanted for Xi Jinping to

step down, calling for freedom and an end to Zero COVID.

And researchers say the Chinese government is even trying to bury information about the protests from social media users abroad. Search on

Twitter in Chinese characters for cities that had protests and you get this, a flood of spam in porn advertisements. The spam campaign,

researchers say, appears to be the work of Chinese authorities. Twitter did not respond to a requests for comment.

(On-camera): Are you worried about your own safety?

MR. LI (through translator): Of course, I'm very worried. I get a lot of anonymous harassment saying I know who you are, where you live, and I will

kill you.

WANG (voice-over): His parents frequently call him in fear, he says. And the Chinese authorities have been harassing them, too, making midnight

visits to their home in China --

(On-camera): What price do you think you have to pay for the work that you do?

MR. LI (through translator): This account is more important than my life. I will not shut it down. I have arranged for someone else to take over if

something bad happens to me. I'm immensely prepared. Even if authorities won't let me see my parents again.

WANG (voice-over): Authorities in China tried to keep the country in a parallel universe. But Li is playing a pivotal role in breaking that

bubble. Li spends hours a day on the account, only taking breaks to feed his cat and barely slept during the peak of protests. As he sorted and

verified the endless stream of video submissions, each one urgent and historic, he's doing the work that he hopes one day Chinese journalists and

Chinese citizens from within China will be able to do without fear.

Selina Wang, CNN, Beijing.


MACFARLANE: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are giving their unfiltered side of the story in their new Netflix series. So how are the British media

receiving this? We will discuss that next.



MACFARLANE: The reviews are coming in for the much anticipated Netflix docuseries, "Harry and Meghan." So far, there have been no bombshell

revelations. The first three episodes released on Thursday, taking us through intimate moments the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's relationship.

Meghan's first exposure to the demands of royal life and Harry's concern about the media's portrayal of Meghan.

The royal family has not commented. And they can't relax just yet because volume two is on its way premiering next week. Meantime, the British media

have wasted no time in giving their take on Harry and Meghan.

Anna Stewart joins me now to tell us how it has gone for Harry and Meghan. We have the papers in front of us. We know the British press never hold

back. What have they been saying?

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They don't, and really they were the ones that were mostly targeted I think by Harry and Meghan, not just the royal

family. It was very much the press, and not just the tabloid press, not just the paparazzi but also media outlets including TVs like BBC, Sky, big

outlets, but also the newspapers.

Interestingly, though, look at some of these. We got the "Daily Mail" here that says palace anger at assault on the Queen's legacy. There was a

similar story actually from the "Daily Telegraph" as well, "Sussexes TV show claims are a direct hit on the late Queen's legacy." So a lot of

people actually questioning whether particularly some of the discussion about the commonwealth, which one guest on there called a privileged club a

former colonized nations.

Some of that might be quite damaging to the royal family's reputation and to the Queen's legacy. Others, though, like the "Daily Mirror" have this to

say, Christie. "Stop this royal circus." Now this is what I found quite interesting because I felt like no minds were necessarily changed by the

three episodes yesterday. Those who are supportive of the Team Sussex still are. Those who are horrified by their actions are ever more.

But also increasingly, a lot of people perhaps not wanting to hear anymore because a lot of it was very repetitive and at this point in time, you

know, thousands of ordinary Brits are choosing between eating and heating with the cost of living crisis and here we have more complaining.

MACFARLANE: Yes. I feel like "The Mirror" actually sums up a bit of the mood of the nation about this, why is it coming now when people are in such

crisis? We know the royal family have not said anything yet, Prince Charles, I'm sorry, King Charles -- I keep doing that.

STEWART: We're all doing that, don't we?

MACFARLANE: Was out and about, I believe, today. Did they say -- you know, can we expect something from the royal family knowing what's coming down?

STEWART: I actually was wondering, because as we know from the late Queen generally the policy is don't comment, but this time round, given it's King

Charles, I was wondering particularly if there were new bombshells which we were worrying about with the trailer, and hey, they may come next week, but

no, no comment at all.

So King Charles doing his walkabout, all official engagements, we got some pictures we can show you. Meeting Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney who are

the new owners of Wrexham football club, which is newly called a city so this is one of the reasons he was there. No comment, I look forward to the

next three episodes and whether that changes anything. It could do.

MACFARLANE: We will wait to see. In the meantime I am watching episodes two and three tonight. So --

STEWART: I think I make a little appearance next two or three. Could be a joy.

MACFARLANE: We'll keep an eye out on that. Thank you, Anna.

All right, "WORLD SPORT" is up next and I'll be back in 15 minutes with more of CONNECT THE WORLD. Stay with us.