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Bolsonaro Supporters Attacked Supreme Court, Congress and Presidential Palace; Protests Clearing out after Government Buildings Stormed; Kyiv Denies Claim Russian Strike Killed Hundreds of Soldiers; Prince Harry Discusses Rift with Family Ahead of Book Release; Thousands of Travelers Flow into China; Historic Satellite Launch Planned in UK. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired January 09, 2023 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: This hour storming government buildings, smashing windows and using furniture to form barricades. This is how Bolsonaro
supporters in Brazil, stormed Congress and broke into the Presidential Palace. I'm Becky Anderson. Hello and welcome back to "Connect the World"
broadcast from here in Abu Dhabi.
Well, leaders in and out of Brazil are now calling the people who carried out that violence over the weekend fascists, terrorists and criminals. Here
they were at the Supreme Court building on Sunday absolutely stunning scenes reminiscent of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol two years ago.
Many protesters who'd been camped out in Brasilia are now packing up and heading home on the order of authorities. They are angry over Former
President Jair Bolsonaro's reelection loss in October. Well, like the U.S. insurrection it was hard to watch the scenes out of Brazil and hard to look
away. But the mayhem didn't happen in a vacuum. CNN's Rafael Romo tells us why the protesters were so frustrated about the situation reached this
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Brazil boiling over supporters of Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro storm key buildings in the
country's capital Sunday, breaching security barriers and temporarily occupying the country's Congress, Presidential Palace and Supreme Court.
Masses of protesters flooded the country seat of power many dresses in the colors of Brazil's flag yellow and green, fueled by anger and distrust over
Bolsonaro's defeat in a runoff election last October where he lost by less than two percentage points to current President Reese Inacio Lula Da Silva.
Protesters threw objects and scaled the roofs those buildings while clashing with police who responded with tear gas. At least one protester
was seeing sitting at the desk of Brazil's Congress President. CNN Brazil reports the floor of the Congress building was flooded after the sprinkler
system activated when protesters attempted to set fire to the carpet.
By evening police began dispersing the rioters from buildings and arrested hundreds of people who were detained in buses before being taken to the
police station. President Lula da Silva, who was inaugurated just a week ago describe the events as barbaric and vowed to punish the people
LUIZ INACIO LULA DA SILVA, BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT: Those people that we call fascist, we call them everything is abominable in politics. They invaded
the government headquarters, and they invaded the Congress like vandals destroying everything in their path.
ROMO (voice over): President Lula da Silva also blamed his predecessor for the lack of security in the capital where Bolsonaro supporters have been
camped out for over a week. Bolsonaro, who is currently in Florida, denounce what he called the depredations and invasions of public buildings
in a tweet, adding that peaceful and lawful demonstrations are part of democracy.
But critics say Bolsonaro may have stirred up the crowds by repeatedly saying without evidence that he questioned the integrity of the country's
electronic voting system.
ROMO (on camera): The intensity of Sunday's protest shows that last year's presidential election is still unfinished business for some Brazilians in a
sign of just how divided the country is Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.
ANDERSON: Let's get a better sense of this frustration that's been building and where things could be headed now? Americo Martins is a Senior
International Analyst with CNN, Brazil, joining me out of London today. And Rafael makes a very good point. It's watching what happened over the
weekend does beg the question, where is this headed next? Before we discuss that, what do you make of what you saw over the weekend?
AMERICO MARTINS, CNN BRAZIL SENIOR INTERNATIONAL ANALYST: Hello, Becky, very good to be here with you a big pleasure. It was just a horrible act
yesterday, a huge attack against democracy in Brazil much worse in my point of view than what happened even in the U.S. on the sixth of January 2020
when - 2021 first sorry, when people invaded the U.S. Congress.
And it was worse yesterday because they actually managed to get inside those buildings destroy a good part of those buildings, including the
Supreme Court, The Brazil National Palace and the Congress. So it was a huge attack on Brazilian democracy and the one good thing that happened
after that is that the Brazilian politicians most of them actually reacted very angry about that.
MARTINS: So they rejected such violence acts of as politics. They do not consider that that's politics at all.
ANDERSON: Just coming into CNN, the Former President Jair Bolsonaro's nephew identified amongst those Brasilia protesters. How would you read the
significance of that?
MARTINS: Well, Bolsonaro and his family are in a way behind part of these acts, because they never considered Bolsonaro never considered defeat. And
they never actually asked it, those protesters to go away. They were camping in front of the Brazilian Army Headquarters in Brasilia for weeks.
So it was a clear that something like that could happen, and they never asked them to just go away. So that is very significant. And when you have
people from the family, taking part in those acts of destruction, is really significant. It makes - shows a bit of the evolvement.
They never actually call those supporters who just give up on trying to say that the election was fraud, because it was a free election, and then they
never acted in that way. So Bolsonaro's silence did not help at all.
ANDERSON: Fascinating. All right well, thank you for that. My next guest is a Veteran Journalist who served as Brazil's Minister of Social
Communications between 2011 and 2015. Thomas Traumann is in Rio de Janeiro, we thank you for joining us.
We are just hearing from one communications expert in government that these attacks are more significant are more worrying than the attacks of January
6th in the States two years ago, your response?
THOMAS TRAUMANN, JOURNALIST: Yes. Well, at least we have experience in Brazil as we joke here; we are delayed two years from what happened in the
U.S. So I mean, the same way that - the same methods that Trump used in 2016 were the same that Bolsonaro used in 2018 to get elected, and the end
of their pregnancy seemed much like.
I feel that there is one good point what happened yesterday is the fact that the Speaker of the House, the President of the Senate, and the present
Supreme Court, and the President of Brazil, Lula da Silva, united right now this moment, have a meeting on making very strong measures to punish
everyone who was there.
And not only to punish them, but also to punish the people who paid the buses saw hundreds of buses, who came from all over the country to make
this demonstration. So I feel that this unity at this moment, can give Brazil the stability to go forward. And who knows in a better ways and what
happened in the U.S.
ANDERSON: Yes, that's fascinating. Let me just be quite clear here. It was Brazil's Presidential Communications Minister who has said that these
Brasilia riots were and I quote him here, more serious than the U.S. Capitol Insurrection.
Mr. Bolsonaro, who is in Florida, as I understand it, the Former President has responded to these attacks, tweeting, and I quote him here, peaceful
demonstrations respecting the law are part of democracy. However, depredations and invasions of public buildings as occurred today, as well
as those practice by the left in 2013 and 2017 escaped the rules.
Throughout my mandate, I have always been acting according to the Constitution, respecting and defending the laws democracy, transparency,
and our sacred freedom. Furthermore, I repudiate the accusations without evidence attributed to me by the current Chief Executive of Brazil, what do
you make of that?
TRAUMANN: Well, this is a generic tweet on saying that, while he doesn't have anything to do with what happened yesterday. I mean, this is not true.
Bolsonaro has in the last four years, make incentive to people to distrust the electoral system. And he has many times told his followers that they
should go and bury arms if they're left would come back.
So if there is not - if not an order from Bolsonaro himself, there's no doubt he made a political culture that went to happen what was yesterday.
TRAUMANN: In no moment since the election in Brazil in October, did Bolsonaro concede or told people to just go home and get their lives? I
mean, so there's no doubt that has complicity from Bolsonaro, some what happened yesterday.
ANDERSON: We've been discussing that many suggesting these attacks in Brazil balls similarities to the January the sixth Insurrection at the U.S.
Capitol. Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, tweeting, and I quote him here; I condemn this outrageous assault on Brazil's government buildings incited by
demagogue Bolsonaro's reckless disregard for democratic principles.
Two years since January the sixth, Trump's legacy continues to poison our hemisphere protecting democracy and holding malign actors to account is
essential. As you rightly pointed out, the current President, President Lula has said that he will use the full force of the law against those who
protested and who conducted activities which will be deemed undemocratic.
What do you expect to happen next? It's not clear, for example, how the hundreds of protesters who have been rounded up and arrested what happen to
them next. But how does Lulu bring try and bring what is now a very, very divided Brazil to get that?
TRAUMANN: Yes, it's amazing, but I feel that Lula's situation today is better than it was a week ago. Let me explain. Lulu wins election extremely
tight 50, basically 51 to foreign I'm - against Bolsonaro. There was enormous mistrust against him, even and especially the financial markets
and the agribusiness and some regions from the south and the southern west, extremely anti-Lula.
What happened yesterday, shocked nation? I mean, people Brazil, even those who voted for Bolsonaro and most of them do not agree with what happened
yesterday. So Lula has now the chance to have let's say, a normal position, not a violent opposition, not aggressive opposition, as we saw yesterday,
but a normal position that people will just disagree with him.
So I feel that in certain sense, Lulu has now the opportunity to talk to people who didn't vote for him. But that would agree that let's go on and
have new election for years and things go on. So that he would or can have a peaceful situation now than a much better situation than it was a week
ago in political terms.
ANDERSON: I just wonder what the legacy of Jair Bolsonaro, who is currently as we understand it in Florida, might be and how Brazil might cope with him
going forward. This is Joaquin Castro, who is U.S. House Democrat, speaking earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D-TX): I stand with the democratically elected leadership in Brazil. And he basically uses the Trump playbook to inspire
domestic terrorists to try to take over the government. And you're right; it looks a lot like January 6 in the United States. And right now Bolsonaro
is in Florida and he's actually very close to Donald Trump.
He should be extradited to Brazil. In fact, it was reported that he was under investigation for corruption and fled Brazil to the United States. So
we were talking about asylum seekers and immigration earlier.
Republicans make a big deal and try to scare people about bad people in those groups come in the United States. Well, they know where one of them
is Jair Bolsonaro is in Florida, hanging out with Donald Trump. He's a dangerous man; they should send him back to his home country, Brazil.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TRAUMANN: Well, I don't feel that I mean, there's no still no legal accusation against former President Bolsonaro. So I mean, this is not that
easy. There's no doubt we'll do some investigations as Congress will also make committee to investigate the influence of Bolsonaro on this or what
But one just must go one step by for at this moment, Bolsonaro is legally in the United States. So there's no reason that the governor of Florida
will put him in the bus and put in the front of the vice president's house at this moment, at least.
ANDERSON: With that, we're going to leave it there. We thank you very much indeed for joining us.
TRAUMANN: Thank you.
ANDERSON: Well, the UK Germany and France have summoned Iran's top diplomats in those countries after Iran executed two protesters over the
ANDERSON: The two men were convicted of killing a member of the security forces during the November protests. Now that brings the total number of
people known to have been executed in connection with the protests to fall. I want you just to consider this number 55. That is the average number of
days between arrest and execution the death penalty of those four people.
Well, just today Iran sentenced three more protesters to death on charges of waging war against God. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh has been covering the
protests from the very start back in September. And she takes a look at the latest victims of Iran's crackdown.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A mother's heart wrenching final farewell for her son, the oppressor took you away from me,
she cries at his grave. Now you're asleep here she says. This is the only goodbye, Mohammad Mahdi Karami's family, got no final visit, no justice.
The 21 year old Kurdish Iranian karate champion was executed by the Islamic Republic this weekend along with Seyed Mohammad Hosseini, a volunteer
children's coach. They were convicted of killing a member of Iran's Basij paramilitary force during a protest in November.
Death sentences handed down after what White's Group say is sham trials based on forced confessions extracted under torture. Karami's parents had
taken the risk of speaking out in social media recordings, begging the state to spare their boy's life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They can conflict him to two lives - I swear to God I don't know what to do. To whom should I complain? They're killing my
innocent child. What should I do? Who should I talk to?
KARADSHEH (voice over): The - republic has shown no mercy, at least four young men hanged, many others facing execution by a regime that appears to
be using the death penalty to crush dissent. Among them 19 year old Mohammed Boroughani and 22 year old Mohammed Ghobadlou sentenced to death
by this notorious judge. Abu al-Qasim Sallavanti, nicknamed the judge of death, sanctioned by the U.S. in 2019 for harsh sentences he's issued
activist journalists and political prisoners.
On Sunday night, a crowd gathered outside the prison where Ghobadlou and Boroughani are being held after activists reported their execution was
imminent. Scenes of sheer bravery as the crowd chant against the regime and support Ghobadlou's mother, please bring it all to try and save her son.
No one really knows how many protesters have been sentenced to death more than 40 according to CNN count, but the real number is believed to be
higher. And this past week, new sentences were reported by activists. Mansour Dehmordeh, a disabled member of the Baluch minority was sentenced
to death, one of many arrested during these ongoing raging protests in the city of Zahedan.
Activists are urging the international - executions to try and save the defenseless on death row. He saves their families from this unimaginable
pain. Jomana Karadsheh, CNN Istanbul.
ANDERSON: And if you are a regular viewer of this show, and I do hope you are you'll know that we are broadcast from the Gulf region of the Middle
East here in Abu Dhabi. And for more news out of this region check out CNN's meanwhile, in the Middle East newsletter that is published here in
Abu Dhabi three times a week.
Today it takes a look at Iraq's come back into the world of sports as it hosts its first international soccer tournament in more than four decades,
that more at cnn.com/Mideast newsletter. That is where you can sign up.
Well still ahead, a somber celebration of Orthodox Christmas in one Ukrainian town after Russian promises of a unilateral ceasefire to the
holiday never happened. We'll have a live report from Ukraine for you after this. Then dangerous that is how Prince Harry describes Queen Consort
committed, the wife of King Charles, find out why, a little later this hour.
ANDERSON: Russian forces are claiming to have captured a village near the key city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine. CNN has not been able to
independently confirm that but the area has seen intense fighting for months. The Ukrainian president has called it one of the bloodiest places
on the frontline.
Meanwhile, Kyiv is dismissing Moscow's claim that hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers were killed in a recent attack in Kramatorsk. The CNN team on the
ground has seen no indication of mass casualties in the area. In other developments Ukraine and Russia exchanged 100 prisoners of war 50 from each
side and that is the 36th such swap since this war began.
Well, Pope Francis is calling once again for an end to the conflict citing the mounting deaths the destruction and attacks on civilian structures. He
likened the war to crimes against God and humanity. CNN's Ben Wedeman joins us now live from Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine.
You and I spoke earlier, the pope may be calling for an end of this conflict. But as you rightly pointed out at this point, there seems no end
to it. You are in Kramatorsk, what have you witnessed there, Ben?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we witnessed was in the early mound hours of Sunday morning, actually Saturday
evening, eight minutes past 11 we heard seven loud explosions one after another. Now the Russians claimed that in that strike, they were able to
hit facilities that contained hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers.
The Russians claimed they killed 600 of them. Now the following morning, a CNN crew went to investigate saw no evidence whatsoever of any dead, there
destruction was. One of the rockets landed in front of a high school that was inoperative because of the war, blasted out all the windows but there
was no blood on the floor just broken glass among the abandoned desks and tables and chairs that were in those classrooms.
Now we're not far from the city morgue. There was nothing going on there. One would expect if hundreds of people just were killed, the morgue would
be busy. The hospitals weren't busy. So I think the summit up Becky, clearly there's not much, there's no truth whatsoever in the Russian claims
of this massive attack.
ANDERSON: Well, that Kramatorsk Bakhmut, of course is making headlines. It's become perhaps the most contested part of Ukraine's front line. And
certainly that is what we are hearing from authorities in Kyiv, who are clearly very concerned. You were there recently. Ben, what did you see
while you were there?
WEDEMAN: We were there over the weekend. In fact, we spent Saturday night there. What we saw is the city really that's been hammered by Russian
artillery and rockets. According to local officials most as more than 50 percent of the city has been destroyed only about 10 percent of the
Now it was the weekend of an Orthodox Christmas. But what we saw is that try as they might, the few inhabitants left did not have a very Merry
WEDEMAN (voice over): There was no peace, no silence in Bakhmut on the eve of Orthodox Christmas. The unilateral Russian ceasefire never materialized.
The guns didn't go silent.
At one of the city's shelters, residents gather around a table made with food and tokens of the holiday. Tatiana a volunteer tries to raise spirits.
We wish you good health, peace, prosperity and all the best she tells them. She knows it's important to put on a brave face.
Even though it's raining and snowing outside, I'm smiling, says Tatiana. I wish people a merry Christmas; I try to show them it comes from my soul.
She did manage to bring a smile to the only child in the shelter nine year old Volodymyr. And his wish on this day, I want this war to end and all my
friends to return he says.
For the adults the gift under this tree is electricity to charge mobile phones and a wireless router connected to a satellite link up allowing for
a tenuous connection to loved ones to reassure them however they can, that they're still alive or not well. And here there's warmth in a city where
public utilities were knocked out months ago.
Yet it's hard to feel the holiday spirits, says Andre. As the day progresses snow begins to fall --. Christmas Eve dinner is a subdued affair
in this basement home for now to a few of the doctor's still left in Bakhmut. God bless us with strength, patience and endurance Dr. Elena
Molchanova - but here strength has its limits.
I feel pain she says, because I can't be with my family. I can't sit at the same table with my mother and daughter. Christmas morning and no letup in
the shelling for months Russian forces have tried to take this city but so far have failed. But in the process, according to one local official, more
than 60 percent of Bakhmut has been destroyed.
At the Church of All Saints, priests hold mass elite relative safety of the Crip. Candles provide the only light and warmth in this the darkest of
WEDEMAN: And those times could get much darker. Becky, we are hearing that the fighting in the Bakhmut area, specifically in the town of - is intense
today with heavy casualties on both sides. But it appears that the Russians perhaps are gaining the upper hand in that town, Becky?
ANDERSON: Yes, Ben Wedeman on the story for you. Ben, thank you. Well, of course the energy markets directly impacted by this war as we've been
reporting for months now. Today, oil prices are rallying as China reopened its borders for the first time in three years.
The move by the world's second largest economy is providing a boost for the outlook for oil demand. China world's biggest importer of crude and its
reopening, overshadowing recession fears that continue into 2023 and fueling hopes for less aggressive interest rate hikes in the United States.
But let me be quite clear about these prices.
Today's oil rally follows last week's more than 8 percent drop for both benchmarks, their biggest weekly declines to the start of the year since
2016. Well just ahead China reopens its borders even as COVID is running rampant through much of the country. We spoke to some of the first
travelers to visit China. We'll have more on that in a moment. And a memoir, a documentary, multiple interviews, Prince Harry getting a lot off
his chest will ask the question what could be next for the Duke of Sussex, that after this.
ANDERSON: Prince Harry says he shares responsibility for the breakdown of his relationship with his brother Prince William. The Duke of Sussex is
revealing more about his relationships with his closest family members ahead of Tuesday's release of his memoir, spare in multiple interviews with
U.S. and British TV networks.
The prince has been adding to his allegations about the inner workings of the British Royals. Well, CNN's Royal Correspondent Max Foster brings us
more of Harry's latest revelations.
PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: I love my father, I love my brother, I love my family. I always do. Nothing of what I've done in this book or otherwise
has ever been any intention to harm them or hurt them.
MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Prince Harry justifying his bombshell expose of the royal family. The latest revelation that
Camilla the Queen Consort, leaked stories in a campaign to be queen.
HARRY: With a family built on hierarchy and with her on the way to being Queen Consort, there was going to be people or bodies left in the street
because of that.
FOSTER (voice over): Then there was the family's distrust of Meghan.
HARRY: He's changed. She must be a witch.
FOSTER (voice over): Prince William and Kate didn't get on with Meghan, from the get go, he says.
HARRY: Some of the things that my brother and sister in law some of the way that they were acting or behaving definitely felt to me as though
unfortunately that stereotyping was causing a bit of a barrier to them really sort of introducing or welcoming her.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (on camera): And what do you mean specifically?
HARRY: Well, American actress divorced biracial, there are all different parts to that and what that can mean. But if you are like a lot of my
family do, if you are reading the press the British tabloids at the same time as living the life, then there is a tendency where you can actually
end up living in the Tumbleweed bubble rather than the actual reality.
FOSTER (voice over): He said he never accused the family of being racist when he and Meghan previously said, someone had commented on their son's
skin color. He also admits to being naive about the way his family would be treated.
HARRY: What Meghan had to go through was similar in some part to what Kate and what committee went through, very different circumstances. But then you
add in the race element, which was what the press British press jumped on straight away. I went into this incredibly naive, I had no idea that
British press was so bigoted. How I was probably bigoted before the relationship with Meghan.
FOSTER (voice over): The Duke of Sussex says his relationship did alter him but for the better.
HARRY: Yes, I did change. I'm really glad I changed. Because rather than getting drunk falling out of clubs taking drugs, I've now found the love of
FOSTER (voice over): Harry says he doesn't speak to his father or brother anymore. He was denied a seat on the plane to Scotland with them when Queen
Elizabeth died. So has he burnt bridges with the rest of the family completely after sharing even more secrets?
HARRY: Well, they've shown absolutely no willingness to reconcile up till this point. And I'm not sure how honest he is burning bridges. You know,
silence only allows the abuser to abuse, right. So I don't know how staying silent is ever going to make things better.
ANDERSON: Well, Max Foster joining us now live from London. And as I understand it, you've got a hold of the book, which is due out tomorrow
spare, which refers to his being second in line or originally being second in line, of course to the throne making him the spare air. There you go.
Have you had a chance to flick through it?
FOSTER: I flick through it. But I have to say, Becky, I feel like I've read it already. There's so much publicity around this isn't there, there's
still more to come as well. So there's two interviews last night, part of which played out today as well and since on CBS. And then, of course, there
was also the ABC interview.
And there's another one on CBS tomorrow. So it keeps coming. You know, very divisive subject, isn't it when you look at a lot of the issues within
there, but you're right to point out, you know, the title of spare and this speaks to why he's doing this, he was very unhappy about being treated as
the spare air.
But then at the same time, in the interviews, he says this is all about the complicit relationship between Buckingham Palace, particularly and the
tabloid media. And that's why I think that that Camilla comment is so damning. He's basically accusing, you know, the Queen consort of leaking
stories for her own ends, which didn't help William Harry, or indeed, Meghan.
So it's an illustration of some of the issues that he says he has with a family. But now there are those within the family that will tell you the
story didn't play out like that there was a private secretary found out about this meeting between William and Camilla. And eventually, it ended up
leaking and that person, the private secretary, left their job.
But it's very difficult story to cover, Becky, because we're not getting the other side of the story here. We're not telling a balanced story
because William's side, Charles's side, literally no comment on all of this.
ANDERSON: And Oprah Winfrey interview and Netflix series, in fact, two Netflix series, one about conducted by Meghan and Harry themselves and
another, talking about which another which was just sort of co-opted by the - Foundation, as it were, and then this book, what's the strategy here?
What's been achieved? What's the strategy? And I guess that does beg the question, what's next?
FOSTER: Well, so it's very damaging to the royal family, I think on this and the monarchy undermining the monarchy and its position, its reputation.
There was a an article in Politico saying that, you know, it's actually causing a national security threat, because you're undermining the head of
state, I think, you know, you can go to various extremes of this.
Harry's strategy, he says, it's about this complicity with the tabloid media. I'm not sure what the public interest is here. But what he
personally wants to get out of this has to be able to take control of his own narrative. He feels other people have been telling his story, a lot of
it informed by leaks from the family and he wants to take control of it.
So it's, I think, from what I can tell, it's as simple as that. What happens from here, maybe it gets out of his system, and he moves on to
other projects. Maybe there are more books and TV programs to come. I can't imagine, William and Charles are going to give him more material to use,
because they're so concerned about all of these private matters getting out in public, that Harry says he does want to reconcile with them.
He does want a conversation with them. But he doesn't want to do that without it being leaked. So who's the leaker? You know, where's the trust?
ANDERSON: Max, stay across it as you say. He's got hold of the book. And it's a book that isn't supposed to be hitting the bookshelves at least
certainly not for the public's consumption until tomorrow. But as Max said, he feels that he's ready already and it's quite a tome, thank you Max.
Up next on "Connect the World", China reopens its borders for the first time in nearly three years. This is the official opening of his borders
officials hoping the hugs of today could lead to the economic success of tomorrow. We take a look at that after this.
ANDERSON: After three years of isolation, China has reopened its borders. Scenes like these played out across the country as family members who've
been separated by the pandemic were allowed back into China without having to spend days or weeks in quarantine.
The move comes even as China is dealing with a massive wave of COVID cases across the country. Nearly 89 percent, that's nearly nine out of 10 people
in Henan province, for example are infected with COVID-19 according to report. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout spoke with a few travelers who are excited
to be finally reunited with their loved ones, have a look at this.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I mean, Lok Ma Chau station located in Hong Kong's new territory is right across the border from Shenzhen, the
Chinese tech capital. And this is the freshly reopen rail crossing between Hong Kong and mainland China. It had been closed since February of 2020,
due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it was opened on Sunday.
And we've been witnessing a steady stream of travelers coming through. Now Quarantine is no longer a requirement. But a number of pandemic
restrictions are in place. For example, the mask mandate remains out in force. In addition to that travelers must show proof of a negative COVID-19
PCR test before their journey.
And this is going to be a phased reopening, you know, up to 60,000 travelers can travel each day from mainland China to Hong Kong and vice
versa, from seven different checkpoints, including this one where I'm standing from and the demand has been absolutely huge.
In fact, as of Sunday evening, over 440,000 Hong Kong residents have signed up for a chance to make the journey. And earlier today, we spoke to a
couple of them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm really very happy about the reopening. I'm going to Shenzhen first and then we'll find a Chung Ching for a few days. I feel
like we are going back to pre- COVID times three years ago. I will be much happier and life will turn out for the better.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are going home. We'll see grandpa and grandma, very happy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: The return across border travel has raised hopes of rebooting Hong Kong's economy, which was hammered hard due to the pandemic and the fact
that Hong Kong was isolated for nearly three years. But according to the chairman of the Hong Kong tourism board, it may take one or two years
before tourism here returns to pre-pandemic levels. Kristie Lu Stout CNN at the Hong Kong Shenzhen border.
ANDERSON: Well to help us dig more into lifting this travel ban means for China, I'm joined now, by Shehzad Qazi, who's the Managing Director of
China Beige Book, one of the leading publications about economic and business trends in China. It's super to have you with us.
We've been discussing the human impact of this lockdown and why it is people are, you can see the relief in people's faces and the excitement
about getting to see family members, friends, once again. These lock downs and subsequent re-openings have led to huge fluctuations in the market.
So let's look at this, then through the prism of business and finance. You've been studying these trends. Just talk us through what you have found
up until this point, and then I want to talk about where China is headed.
SHEHZAD QAZI, MANAGING DIRECTOR, CHINA BEIGE BOOK INTERNATIONAL: Sure, you know, if you look at China Beige Book data through the course of the final
months of 2022. And these data are just days old at this point still. What you find is the economy is in a very, very weak spot. I mean, the numbers
are just showing absolute bloodbath. Every sector of the economy is struggling, including these consumption sectors.
I mean property is in the doldrums the manufacturing sector is doing incredibly poorly. And you're looking at a year-on-year contraction as a
result of, of course, the COVID lockdowns that you got in October, November. And then the reopening the hasty reopening, which of course led
to a flood of cases an explosion of cases, which again curtailed economic activity. So the economic picture right now at the end of 2022 is not
looking very good at all.
ANDERSON: So let's talk about getting into 2023. I mean, clearly, you say the outlook isn't great at this point. But we are going to see the full
reopening. And you know, how will that impact the bottom line as it were when we talk about this data?
QAZI: Yes, so I think 2023 this year is absolutely going to be better than last. I think that goes without saying. Now, the problem, I think,
presently, is that a lot of the demand projections and economic projections are getting a little ahead of themselves.
The fact of the matter is that we are yet to go through a second wave of COVID outbreaks in the rural areas over the Spring Festival, which means
that there's still more pain ahead in terms of both COVID and COVID related deaths, as well as the economic impact of all of that, which means that the
true impact of the reopening on the bottom lines, that positive effect will probably not be seen before the second quarter of this year.
And that is where you start to see demand really pick back up, I think Chinese consumers will be much more activated at that point. This is not
probably going to be this month and next month story.
ANDERSON: I'm fascinated to hear you about that hear your concern about what may happen or the likely impact of these COVID cases on rural areas.
It's clear what you are alluding to when it comes to the effects of COVID on people's health. How about why these rural areas are so important when
it comes to economic activity?
QAZI: It's yes, so you know, and it's not even just a rural part of the country, it's a swing to the "smaller cities", which tend to be still very
important, by the way for the Chinese manufacturing sector for Chinese commodity sector. They also by the way have to be quite important when we
think about real estate as a whole.
So when we get out of the major cities, which tend to get a disproportionate amount of attention in the economic story of China, when
you get out of there, you realize a big chunk, over a billion people still need to be thought about. And they need to be talked about in terms of what
that means for demand projections and Chinese consumption.
And I think you're going to see probably a slower ramp up in activity out there. I think a lot of the services and retail consumption is going to
probably not rebound as quickly in that part of China once you leave the major cities.
ANDERSON: So very briefly, when we saw a significant drop in oil prices last week, despite the fact that we knew that we were looking at the full
reopening of Chinese borders today or yesterday, you weren't surprised by that. I mean, it's sort of received wisdom would say, you know China back
And we've seen a push up on the old price today. But you know received wisdom should say, you know the old price should be on a roll now, the
biggest consumer is back in business. That doesn't surprise you.
QAZI: It does not. And I think it's because traders are probably saying look, that boom and travel is probably not going to be as big as we first
thought. Lots of hindrances still in getting the travel sector reactivated again. And the fact is China's recovery in 2023 is coming amid a global
recession and slowdown, which means a slowdown for the manufacturing sector, which tends to be a big user, of course, energy sources, including
on naturally oil. So I think some of those concerns have maybe tempered that excessive bullishness we received just days prior otherwise.
ANDERSON: It's good to have you sir, we'll have you back. Thank you. Well, after the break, UK hoping to make history as it plans for its first ever
orbital launch later today. What does an orbital launch mean? And what does this mean for the space race is what we will discuss up next.
ANDERSON: Well, the first for the United Kingdom later today virgin orbits start me up mission set to launch. Now if this is successful, it'd be the
first time an orbital satellite has been launched from England. And if all goes as planned, a carrier plane called cosmic girl will take off from a
runway in Cornwall and release a rocket to attach to its wing, when it reaches an altitude of 11,000 meters.
The rocket will then propel itself into orbit carrying with it a planeload of nine satellites. Well CNN Correspondent Tom Foreman is joining us live
from Washington DC. And let's just firstly discuss the significance the historical significance of what is planned for today from new key in
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's historic, obviously for the world for the UK. Because this type of system a mobile launching system that can
go around the world could open up space launches to countries all over the place that currently have not been launching. The UK will be the 11th
country to now have the capability of getting something actually into space.
It's also being challenged for "Virgin Orbit". Remember, this is a technologically challenging launch, this plane will flap to about 35,000
feet off the southern coast of Ireland, it will release this rocket that will fall for about four seconds and then accelerate about 8000 miles an
hour very, very quickly. It is a difficult challenge to launch this way.
And bear in mind virgin orbit has not done these themselves away from their base in the Mojave Desert in the western United States. So this is
technologically a challenge for them too. But it's the kind of thing that can open up a lot of places and right now everything is go. Dan Hart, the
Chief Executive says he's looking forward to it and hoping for the best, let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN HART, VIRGIN ORBIT CEO: Team right now is smiling. But, you know, their eyes are laser sharp as we were going through our checkouts and going
through our communications. You know, space launch is a very serious business and we'll be looking at integrating all of the information about
the system, about the weather, about the range in anticipating and supporting each other as we go through a very exciting, but very rigorous
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: On very serious business, he is right about that. This is one of these things that that every launch can decide the fate of whole companies,
especially smaller launch companies like this. So they'll be watching this very closely, Becky.
ANDERSON: Yes, fascinating as we will too, thank you. Thank you, Tom. That's Tom Foreman on the plans for the historic launch. And that was
"Connect the World". I'm Becky Anderson for you, it's a very good evening from Abu Dhabi. "One World" with Zain Asher is up next.