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Fareed Zakaria GPS
U.S. Erupts in Wake of George Floyd's Death; Interview with Bryan Stevenson, Author of "Just Mercy" and Renowned Social Activist; SpaceX-NASA Launch; Interview with Pulitzer Prize Winner Nikole Hannah-Jones on America, Racism and Violence; Interview with Chris Patten, Last British governor of Hong Kong, and Martin Lee, Lawyer and Campaigner for Democracy. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired May 31, 2020 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR: This is GPS, the GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria, coming to you live from New York.
ZAKARIA (voice-over): Today on the show: America on fire after another black man is dead at the hands of police. Bryan Stevenson, the author of "Just Mercy" and renowned social activist joins me to discuss if the uproar this time will actually change things.
Pulitzer Prize winner Nikole Hannah-Jones on America, racism and violence.
Then, Hong Kong in Beijing's crosshairs. The mainland government is asserting greater control over the island. Citizens of Hong Kong have reacted angrily. So has the United States government.
What happens next in this high-stakes showdown?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a tragedy for the people of Hong Kong, the people of China and, indeed, the people of the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA (voice-over): I'll talk to the last British governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten, as well as the city's legendary campaigner for democracy, Martin Lee.
Also, it's graduation season, at least on the Internet. I will give graduates my thoughts and share some of the smartest that I have seen.
ZAKARIA: But first, here's my take. Like most of you, I'm still taking in the events of the last few days, the gruesome death of George Floyd, the riots in so many American cities. So I just want to make a few brief observations. Some people are asking, why is this happening now?
Haven't things gotten better for African Americans?
Many are titans of business, hold political office or are leaders in their communities. So let me say the events of the past week are happening against four backdrops.
The first is our criminal justice system. Things have improved along some dimensions for African Americans. But there are still pervasive inequities in this country and, most importantly, there are deep inequities in the criminal justice system.
Radley Balko of "The Washington Post" did a good roundup. Start from something simple, like stopping a driver. In the book, "Suspect Citizens," the authors reviewed 20 million traffic stops.
In an interview with "The Post," they explained that blacks are almost twice as likely to be pulled over as whites, even though whites drive more on average. Blacks are more likely to be searched following a stop. And just by getting in a car, a black driver has about twice the odds of being pulled over and about four times the odds of being searched.
According to their research, blacks are more likely to be searched even though they are less likely to have contraband. It goes all the way to the death sentence, which also seems to suffer from systematic bias.
Just one example: in a North Carolina law review essay, analyzing murder cases from 1980 to 2007 in that state, killing a white person made it three times more likely that someone would get the death sentence compared to killing a black person.
And there are dozens of studies about various aspects of the system, all pointing in the same direction.
Second, this is happening against the backdrop of a police that, over the last several decades, has been given more and more arms and greater and greater leeway in what they can do with them.
When I travel around the world, this is one of the things that stands out about America's police force. It looks like an invading army with the kind of weaponry that, in most countries, is wielded only by an army.
Plus, you have unions, juries and laws that make it hard to actually dismiss a police officer for misconduct, even for totally legitimate reasons.
Third, let's not forget this is all happening against the backdrop of a pandemic, a lockdown and three months, in which 40 million Americans have lost their jobs, a toll rivaling the Great Depression.
This creates an atmosphere of anxiety, fear and purposelessness for three months. It should be a wakeup call to leaders everywhere, that people want to and need to return to some sense of normalcy; of course, with maximum efforts to stay safe.
It is also happening against a fourth backdrop: no national leadership on these issues. Americans respond to leaders when they show empathy and courage, even when the message is hard to hear.
Recall Robert Kennedy's plea to the people of Indianapolis after the death of Martin Luther King not to embrace violence. Watch Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms talk to her city of Atlanta.
But at a national level, there's just an effort to further divide, not to unify.
ZAKARIA: In any event, I remain optimistic. These protests are part of the airing of problems, real problems, that many countries suppress.
I've always been reminded in these moments of the closing lines of one of my favorite books by my former PhD adviser Sam Huntington.
In "American Politics: The Promise of Disharmony," he writes, "Critics say that America is a lie because its reality falls so far short of its ideals. They're wrong. America is not a lie. It is a disappointment but it can be a disappointment only because it is also a hope."
And let's get started.
ZAKARIA: A warning: you are about to see some graphic video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA (voice-over): Mama: that's who George Floyd called for when a police officer's knee was on his neck. Floyd later died in police custody and Floyd's killing, along with other high-profile killings of African Americans, has captured America's attention.
Angry demonstrators poured out onto city streets across the U.S. for the past five nights. Many protests have turned violent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: Let me bring in Bryan Stevenson, an attorney and professor at NYU Law School, the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative.
Bryan, thanks for coming on. And tell me how you react to the point I was making. You know, people are asking why is this happening.
What do you think is the background that people need to understand?
BRYAN STEVENSON, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Well, it's interesting; next month will be the 155th anniversary of thousands of emancipated black people, who celebrated the end of slavery. It's called Juneteenth.
They believed that this country would reckon with all of the lies and distortions created to sustain slavery. Black people were told to be -- said to be not fully human, not evolved. They can't do this, they can't do that.
And these lies were needed to justify enslavement for two centuries. But rather than reckon with those lies, confront that history, we've done the opposite. We've actually found ways to legitimate white supremacy.
The great evil of American slavery was this myth of white supremacy. And rather than protect and formally enslave black people, we did the opposite. We denied them the right to vote we had promised. We denied them the land.
We allowed, in this country for decades, black people to be menaced and targeted and lynched and victimized. And our justice system did nothing to hold people accountable. We actually perpetuated this idea that black life does not matter, black rights do not matter.
And for 100 years, black people were denied basic equality. I was born at a time when black people could not vote. I couldn't marry anybody I chose. There were laws prohibiting that. I couldn't go to the public school. I started my education in a colored school.
And in the 1950s and '60s, when black people put on their Sunday best and went to places to protest Jim Crow and segregation, they would get beaten by the police, literally on their knees. And that turned into some changes in laws.
But since that time we have not reckoned with this history. We have not acknowledged the wrongfulness of white supremacy and segregation and racism. And because of that, we now live at a time when there's still a presumption of dangerousness and guilt that gets assigned to black and brown people.
Those data you cited are a manifestation of this presumption. And until we reckon with this history, as Germany has done, as Rwanda has done, as South Africa has done, we will live in a state, we will live in a nation, where black people are marginalized, menaced, excluded and threatened in the ways that we've seen with these acts of police violence.
ZAKARIA: So help us explain, because you've been struggling with the criminal justice system for so many years.
Why is it that you hear people at the top, seemingly trying to do the right thing -- President Obama when he was president; even now there's been this judicial prison system reforms in terms of sentencing and things like that.
But why is it not translating down to the day-to-day lives of black people when they encounter the police, the prosecutor, the jail?
STEVENSON: I don't think we've made the kind of effort that we need to make. There's been some discussion, usually in crisis. But it hasn't been followed by the kind of implementation.
Five years ago I was part of a task force with police chiefs and activists and advocates. We went around the country, we gathered testimony, we came up with 40 pages of recommendations to change police culture.
STEVENSON: And that's what has to happen. The culture of policing in this country has to change. We train police officers like we train soldiers. They're taught how to shoot and how to wrestle people and control people. They're not taught how to manage conflict and they're not taught how to de-escalate.
We don't require data. We can't even tell you how often police kill folks in this country because there's no requirement for data. We haven't required the legal structure to change so that people can be held accountable.
So this task force in 2015 made all of these recommendations and, frankly, when the new administration came in, they threw it away. They did exactly the opposite. They didn't support implementation of this.
And that's been part of the problem. The Justice Department actually retreated from lawsuits where they were holding police departments accountable because they wanted to say something else.
This is the consequence of that. And I don't want to put it all on the White House because mayors and governors and local legislators have not implemented these reforms, either.
We can change the culture of policing in this country. We've seen it happen before. We changed the culture around people driving while drunk.
You remember there was a time we didn't take seriously people who got in their car intoxicated, even when they killed others but Mothers against Drunk Driving and other advocates changed the culture.
And we now respond differently to that. We've changed the culture on domestic violence. There was a time police would never arrest men accused of abusing their spouses.
But we've gotten to the point where there's now a consciousness about that. But we don't tolerate that quite in the same way. We still have a long way to go. The culture is changing around sexual harassment in the workplace but we haven't changed the culture of policing.
And until we create a nation where our police officers see themselves as guardians rather than warriors, don't view the people they police as enemy combatants, as you do in a foreign conflict, we're going to see the incidents that we've seen in Minneapolis and in too many communities across this country.
ZAKARIA: Do you think it even goes beyond that? I wonder whether the police are being asked to handle things that are really part of a more general societal breakdown or, you know, issues where, I don't know, there should be greater efforts made to help kids be in school and work hard.
You know, we sort of -- the police becomes the solution to a whole bunch of problems that are not, in their origins, criminal in nature.
STEVENSON: I think there's some truth to that. But the police have a role to play. The identity of police officers in this country for a long time has been to enforce all the conditions that give rise to truancy, that give rise to poverty, that give rise to hopelessness.
It was the police who tracked down fugitive slaves to sustain slavery. It was the police that turned their backs on white mobs when they were lynching black people. It was the police that went to the Edmund Pettus Bridge and brutalized and bloodied nonviolent protesters.
So that identity cannot be ignored. We're going to have to change the culture of police. You're right, that there are broader issues that also have to be addressed.
In 2001, the Bureau of Justice projected that one in three black male babies born in this country was expected to go to jail or prison. And that's not just about criminality. That's the way we traffic and the way we enforce and the way we menace, the way we prosecute. And no one said anything. Nobody -- no one saw that as the crisis that it is.
And so --
ZAKARIA: -- Bryan --
STEVENSON: -- outside of --
ZAKARIA: -- thank you so much, Bryan. I got to break in at this moment, thanking you for those eloquent words.
We're breaking in from our normal GPS to take you to an amazing event, going on 215 miles up in space. The SpaceX Crew Dragon is just moments away from docking with the International Space Station. This after yesterday's historic launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
It was the first time since 2011 when the space shuttle program ended. That crewed mission was launched from American soil. Now let's watch and listen as the two astronauts, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, get ready to unite with their international colleagues.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can see much more clearly there the hinge mechanism for the nose cone. Those four black circles are the four bulkheads, not to be used at this time. Then, of course, the petals of the soft capture system.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) 10 meters. We cannot make out the docking target but we do see the outline. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We copy and concur 10 meters.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, we're less than 10 meters away. Again, we're closing at that rate of less than a 0.1 meter per second.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We should be just about 1:45 away from docking.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a center line camera right in that middle so you can see where the forward hatch is. And right in the middle of that there's a window and the center line camera that's aligned with the center of the vehicle and the center of the docking mechanism.
So that is what the autonomous docking system is using to line up with the cross hatch, cross target on the docking port. Again, the forward docking port on PMA-2 or the pressurized meeting adapter
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we are just five meters away. Again, we're racing that sunset as Dragon continues to close. Four meters to go. Those shadows of the space station on the vehicle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can actually see the center line camera pretty clearly there, sort of with the contrast of the sun right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three meters to go.
We are inside the hands-off point, the job crew hands-off point. One meter to go.
Soft capture complete.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE). Soft capture confirmed. Stand by for retraction and docking.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we just heard it, soft capture. We have docking, that coming at 7:16 am Pacific time with the station and Dragon flying 262 statute miles right over the border between Northern China and Mongolia.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You saw a little bit of motion there of Dragon. It was that relative motion that the soft capture system is damping out. Once that motion is clear, then the soft capture system will be retracted and Dragon will go for hard capture.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Again, if just now tuning in, that soft capture, that docking coming 7:16 am Pacific, 10:16 am over on the East Coast, Dragon and the International Space Station were flying 262 statute miles right over the border between Northern China and Mongolia.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That soft capture now going to retract. It's one more step on the way to docking complete. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So the next step here is, once the soft capture ring is retracted, there are 12 latches that we refer to as hard capture latches. Those are what will really create that pressure tight seal between the Dragon spacecraft and the International Space Station.
So once soft capture is complete, and I believe we'll get that call from our corps (ph) here, Anna, then we'll get confirmation of hard capture and the crew, of course, aboard have this information on their displays. So they'll also see indication of our capture complete.
Then once those two steps are done, then that's docking complete.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right. And we're expecting to hear some words from everybody, a pretty monumental moment for Doug Hurley, he's returning to where he last docked almost nine years ago on the very last space shuttle mission, now commanding the very first commercial spacecraft to deliver astronauts to the International Space Station.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's got to be cool for them. They've mentioned quite a few times that they're best friends, our favorite dads in space, as we've been calling them. This has got to be really cool for them. It's got to be really cool for their families, too, watching this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks like we have another quick handover. We'll get that video back shortly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're about 75 percent complete already with that retraction. Once that retraction is completed, we'll keep an eye out for the 12 ready-to-hook indicators. Those 12 hooks will begin to engage and that will securely attach Dragon to the International Space Station.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now the vehicle confirming that the soft capture system has deployed correctly and is fully retracted and then once the soft capture system is fully retracted, that will set up the vehicle to put in the hard capture pins.
There's 12 of those around the docking ring and that's what creates that airtight seal between the Dragon spacecraft and the International Space Station. The volume between, which we refer to as the vestibule, is currently not pressurized. Of course it was just exposed to the vacuum of space until literally minutes ago, about four minutes ago.
So just waiting for the vehicle to get that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dragon SpaceX, ring retraction complete. Docking sequence is holding for MCS reconfiguration.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We see those ready-to-hook indicators lighting up green, so we should be just about to step into those 12 hooks beginning to engage to get that secure mate between Dragon and the international docking adapter on the space station.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow, right now those two vehicles are flying together. They are attached to each other.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are. It's been just under 19 hours since we lifted off, actually about 18 hours, 58 minutes and 42 seconds. We promised about a 19-hour ride up to station and we made it just a few minutes before that.
They were able to dock a few minutes ahead of schedule. We are tracking them to still take about another 10 minutes but able to step through all of their burns about 16 minutes ahead of schedule and get us to where we are now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you missed it, just a few moments ago, that initial docking coming at 7:16 am Pacific, 10:15 am over on the East Coast of the United States. There were 262 statute miles flying together over the northern border of China and Mongolia.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So really exciting. We're just waiting for this docking complete to be confirmed. We're expecting to hear some words obviously from the crew on board and all the excited teams down here, who are just waiting for this moment.
And then it's time to start getting Dragon integrated into the station. There will be an umbilical that will get mated and that will allow Dragon to flow data and power into the station systems and then it'll be over to the crew.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) MCS is configured. And we're proceeding with hook Dragon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right and they did a quick -- so the motion control system on board station now back under those control limit (ph) gyros, so handed over from the Russian thrusters and Dragon now given the go to drive those hooks. We have to do that changeover of attitude --
ZAKARIA: And that is history being made. Now there might seem a contrast between what is going on in space and what is going on in America but let me remind you that America was convulsing in unrest when the original moon landings happened in 1969.
So maybe the lesson is that we can be divided on Earth but we are united in space as human beings.
Anyway, next on GPS, we will go back to our main story and I will talk to the Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones about the history of violence and racism in America.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society, which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. And in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: That was, of course, Martin Luther King Jr., from a speech called "The Other America," delivered at Stanford University. The words were spoken in 1967 but they do still ring true today.
Joining me now is Pulitzer Prize winner Nikole Hannah-Jones, she's a reporter for "The New York Times" and the creator of the paper's "1619 Project."
Nikole, I want to ask you about the words of Martin Luther King but juxtaposed against the words of the mayor of Atlanta, who said, stop rioting, stop burning businesses; 50 percent of the businesses in downtown Atlanta are minority owned.
How should we think about this tension of people of the riots and violence being used in what is clearly a just cause?
NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES, "THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE": Well, I think what we're seeing is the manifestation of a network of inequalities that black Americans face and have always faced.
When we're framing these conversations, it's important to understand that we are talking about the descendants of people who were enslaved in this country for 250 years, who then had to endure 100 years of legal apartheid and who have only had full citizenship rights for 50 years.
HANNAH-JONES: So we shouldn't be surprised that black Americans are at the bottom of every social indicator and that we don't pay attention to that. And so people are forcing America to see it.
So I understand what the mayor is saying. But at the same time, even in Atlanta, black people are attending -- large numbers of them -- failing schools. Large numbers of black people in the city of Atlanta are still living in poverty, are still having high infant mortality and maternal mortality rates, high unemployment rates.
So black people experience these disadvantages no matter how many small businesses black people own in a particular city.
ZAKARIA: You wrote, I think on Twitter, something which I thought was very intriguing. You said, let's not forget that even when people were protesting nonviolently, as Martin Luther King was or John Lewis was, that part of what they were doing was trying to expose the violence that the system, particularly the police, were using; in a sense they were baiting the police to do what they often did, which was use violence.
HANNAH-JONES: Yes. Unfortunately, in this country, black people's rights have been contingent on convincing enough white Americans that they actually deserve them and the way that the civil rights movement had to do that -- you know, there's this -- somehow we forget that white Americans were tolerating racial apartheid for 90 percent of black citizens until the civil rights movement.
And the only way that black Americans were able to turn white Americans to deciding this was no longer tolerable was to absorb white violence. When black people simply protested peacefully and they were not experiencing white violence, white Americans were fine to turn a blind eye. And they did that for decades.
It was -- so I think it's a bit of a misnomer to call the civil rights movement a nonviolent movement. Certainly, the protesters studied nonviolence as a tactic. But they had to court white violence in order to get white people to have sympathy. And that, to me, is kind of the appalling contradiction.
ZAKARIA: You write in that 1619 Project -- and I think it was the opening essay -- these very eloquent words, where you said that, black Americans, African Americans, believed in the best of America, even as they were exposed to the worst of America.
And what you meant was they held America to its highest ideals, even when they were exposed to the most brutal variation from those ideals.
Do you think African Americans still believe in the best of America?
HANNAH-JONES: I think it's very hard for black Americans to believe in the best of this country, particularly after the election of a Barack Obama leads to the election of a president that many consider to be a white nationalist.
But herein lies the rub. We are a 13 percent minority in a country literally founded on white supremacy. We have no choice but to believe that we can fight to make this country truer because, if we don't believe that, then we just have to submit to our subjugation.
So I think black Americans have always been in this untenable position of being in a country that did not treat us as citizens but having no choice but to fight to try to make ideals that did not include us true. And that's the role that we still play. But I think these days it is very hard to believe in the best of this country.
ZAKARIA: What advice would you give people?
There are people I know who are, you know, who really feel and empathize with the pain and suffering that black Americans have gone through and are going through but say, this is ultimately going to help people like Donald Trump get re-elected. Scenes of black people rioting is going to trigger a response among
some whites, maybe many whites. And that leaves them very uneasy.
What do you say to people who worry about this, that there will be a kind of whitelash to these riots?
HANNAH-JONES: There's a whitelash to black Americans no matter what black Americans do when black Americans are demanding their rights. I think the time has passed that black people have to be held hostage to white fears about whether they're going to have their rights or not.
Prior to these riots, a third of all black American children live in poverty compared to -- excuse me, yes, a third compared to 12 percent of white Americans. We spend $23 billion more on schools that serve predominantly white students than we do on schools that serve predominantly black and Latino students.
Black women are three times more likely to die of childbirth. We have twice the unemployment rate of white Americans. These were the conditions of black Americans before the riots. And white people were willing to tolerate them as long as black people just quietly endured.
HANNAH-JONES: So honestly, the circumstances for black America are very difficult right now. They were difficult before the riots. They will be difficult after the riots. If people truly believe in justice, then these -- being forced to confront what they have been able to ignore shouldn't turn them.
And if they can be that easily turned, they weren't really that interested in justice in the first place, I imagine.
ZAKARIA: But do you think, as a practical matter, I mean, if you were to predict what the effect of this politically would be, do you think it will strengthen the kind of racists out there or people like that?
HANNAH-JONES: We, as a nation, elected Donald Trump and there weren't all of these riots. So maybe; maybe not. I'm not going to try to predict politically what's going to happen.
What I am going to say is that the lives of so many black Americans were untenable prior to these riots. And many white Americans want the comfort of not being confronted with that or they want to be confronted with it in a palatable way.
But the circumstances black Americans live in are not palatable to black Americans. So yes, perhaps it will, perhaps it won't. But people were saying that black people speaking up for their rights, black people demanding accountability prior to the riots, was going to lead to Trump's re-election.
And what that does is that holds black people hostage to the politics of white grievance. And I think black people are not willing to do that.
ZAKARIA: Nikole Hannah-Jones, powerful words, thank you.
HANNAH-JONES: Thank you.
ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, from protests in America to protests in Hong Kong, China is clamping down on this nearby territory and that is exacerbating already sky-high tensions between Beijing and Washington. That story when we come back.
ZAKARIA: When Britain handed over Hong Kong to China in 1997, Beijing had agreed to treat it differently from the rest of China. The idea was called "one country, two systems," and it assured that the island territory would be granted much more freedom and autonomy.
China was accused of breaking that promise this week when China's National People's Congress approved a resolution that banned sedition, subversion and secession in Hong Kong. The U.S. has said that it will no longer consider the island territory to have special status.
At the same time, it is weighing a very tough response against China. Now let me bring in two people who know Hong Kong intimately.
Chris Patten oversaw that 1997 handover as the last British governor of Hong Kong.
Martin Lee is a politician and lawyer who is known as the father of Hong Kong's democracy movement.
Martin Lee, let me ask you, if I can, to start, what do you think prompted Beijing's decision?
Because so far they have been somewhat careful about not doing something as overt as what they just did last week.
MARTIN LEE, RETIRED MEMBER, LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL OF HONG KONG: I think they have admitted failure. In other words, they cannot continue with Deng Xiaoping's policy, which is to give Hong Kong people the right to rule Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy.
In other words, China will not render peace correctly (ph).
But how can people do that?
About six years ago, China published a document, in which it claimed that it has the central government of -- that means its Chinese Communist Party -- has comprehensive jurisdiction over Hong Kong. That is complete reversal of Deng Xiaoping's promise.
And what they are doing now is tough (ph), an implementation of that new policy, which is clearly a breach of the Sino-British joint declaration (ph). And they're still waiting for the British government to do something about it. They are the only other signatory (ph).
ZAKARIA: But do you think, Mr. Lee, that they did it this last week, do you think it's partly because of the pandemic?
Or is it partly because relations with the United States have gotten so sour that they decided, what is the -- there's no danger of a penalty because we're already being penalized with tariffs?
I mean, I'm wondering, has something changed in the last few months?
LEE: It could be both. (INAUDIBLE) Cantonese have a saying, if you're sick, (INAUDIBLE) and kill you while you're sick. So it is possible. (INAUDIBLE) the Cold War with the USA could be another reason.
The third reason is that they are afraid of losing control of the Legislative Council in our next election just a few months away in September. So they want to make sure that they could actually legislate for (INAUDIBLE) for Beijing, even if they cannot control the Hong Kong legislature for all these reasons.
ZAKARIA: Chris Patten, what do you think -- what do you think the international community should do about it?
Do you think Britain has a particular role, Washington and the world?
Go in that order.
CHRIS PATTEN, FORMER HONG KONG GOVERNOR: Yes. Britain has a particular responsibility, which is both legal and political and economic and, above all, moral. That's why I'm pleased -- I'm not a member of the government and criticize them very often -- but that's why I'm pleased that the foreign secretary has worked with his colleagues in Australia, Canada and the United States to set out very clearly how appalling China's behavior has been, a complete breach of an international treaty (ph).
And I'm pleased that Britain, and I think the United States, is trying to raise the issue at the United Nations. But has been blocked so far by China. And I know that the European Union has put out a statement very similar to the one from the U.K. and others.
PATTEN: And I think there's more we can and must do and we must try to put together all our colleagues and others around the world, who are appalled by the fact that this regime (INAUDIBLE) is behaving so much worse than any of its predecessors.
There's a real threat to the world order which China represents. And getting back to the question you asked Martin, I think the Chinese leadership are trying to take advantage of the fact that other countries are obsessed with the coronavirus, understandably, which, of course, was partly the responsibility of Chinese mendacity and secrecy in the early stages, when it was getting out of hand. And they're trying to take advantage of that and not only in Hong Kong
but in incursions (ph) over the Indian border and using muscle in the South China Sea and making threats to Taiwan.
I think they see this as an opportunity for doubling down on their usual hector and bullying. I don't think that the rest of the world is going to (INAUDIBLE) go along like this. They're still talking about China as a state builder. Chinese Communism is a menace, it's a danger to every (INAUDIBLE) democracy and a danger to a lot of its neighbors as well.
ZAKARIA: The fundamental question, Chris Patten, that a lot of people are grappling with, however, in the West, I know in Washington and I'm sure elsewhere, is the special status that is given to Hong Kong, allows the people of Hong Kong to trade freely, to move capital back and forth freely and to travel freely with the West with the rest of the world.
By taking that special status away, you primarily hurt the people of Hong Kong.
How should we think about this dilemma?
PATTEN: That's a real worry. I know a lot about this subject because it was while I was governor that we finally concluded the agreements to treat Hong Kong differently in the U.S.-Hong Kong Act.
We also, while I was governor, concluded the extradition treaty between Hong Kong and the United States. The real dilemma we face is how we can ensure that China, Chinese Communism, pays a price for what it's doing without hurting people in Hong Kong.
And it's very difficult. I think there are issues like -- similar to the Magnitsky sanctions that you could use against individuals. I think there are things like technology transfer. But above all it's going to be very difficult to protect Hong Kong from the consequences of what Chinese Communism has done.
And I don't want to see people in Hong Kong and businesses in Hong Kong hurt because of what China has done itself. It's a complicated thing. I think the Americans, I hope, will be looking at how they can use a scalpel rather than a sledgehammer to deal with this issue.
And above all, we have to work together, particularly those of us who recognize that China is a threat, Chinese Communism is a threat. And this is a similar moment, as I think "The New York Times" pointed out recently, in the 20th century history to Agadir (ph) or Dar es-Salaam (ph) breaching international treaties and endangering the global order.
ZAKARIA: Stay with us and stay with us for Martin Lee and Chris Patten. We will be back.
Next on GPS, while protesters have been out in force in America, relatively few have taken to the streets in Hong Kong this week.
I will ask Martin Lee that and more when we come back.
ZAKARIA: And we are back talking about Hong Kong with Chris Patten, the last British governor of the territory, and Martin Lee, Hong Kong's great lawyer and political leader.
Martin Lee, how would you respond to the point that Chris Patten and I were talking about, which is that, if one were to strip away Hong Kong's special status and the United States and other countries would treat it just like China, that hurts the people and the businesses of Hong Kong?
How do we -- how does one think about holding China accountable without damaging the fate of the people of Hong Kong?
LEE: Well, it's not going to be easy but what we need is a well thought-out, sustainable policy in the interest of the long-term future of Hong Kong and making Hong Kong's interests of paramount important and not hurting Hong Kong.
And I think the easiest way at the moment is not to allow China to walk away from the treaty obligations under the Sino-British joint declaration.
There's no reason why we should allow China to walk away. We should hold China to the full agreement with Britain, which is to trust Hong Kong people and let Hong Kong people be masters of their own house (ph) as promised by giving us a high degree of autonomy, by giving Hong Kong democracy, as set out in the basic law which is under the constitution and not to interfere in Hong Kong's internal affairs, which is also provided for in (INAUDIBLE) constitution the basic law.
ZAKARIA: Do you worry that if the protesters return to Hong Kong's streets that there's a possibility that the Chinese will send in armed forces, that there will be a kind of forcible occupation of Hong Kong?
LEE: I don't think they will need to deploy the People's Liberation Army if they put their armed policemen in our police force, which we believe they're doing, that would be good enough. (INAUDIBLE). So they don't have to deploy their troops because our people are unarmed.
So that is a dangerous thing. That is why I really appeal to young people not to resort to violence.
LEE: Because how can you win by using violence against Communist China?
But our young people feel helpless and they don't know what to do. And they are prepared to sacrifice many years of imprisonment or even their young lives for the future of Hong Kong.
ZAKARIA: Chris Patten, Martin Lee talks about this careful, strategic policy that keeps Hong Kong safe while holding China accountable. It feels like the Trump administration has kind of pursued something of the opposite.
Trump has lavishly praised China when he's wanted his trade deal. Then he attacks it on coronavirus, largely to deflect blame, I would argue, from his own performance. It seems that we're entering a period, which reminds me of the 1950s, of anti-communism, where you're not going to get a strategic scalpel-like policy. You're going to get something very big and blunt.
PATTEN: Well, I couldn't begin to fathom out the doings and trappings (ph) of President Trump's diplomacy. So let me just give three particular examples of things I think we can do.
First of all, we do have to work with allies again. This would be a great step forward and I hope we can see it in relation to China because what has happened in Hong Kong is bad for the world as well as being bad for Hong Kong.
Secondly, I think that Britain should take a lead, with the United States and others, in setting up an international contact group, which will focus on what's happening in Hong Kong, keep an eye on what's happening in Hong Kong, helped, which is the other point I wanted to make, I hope, by the pressure for a U.N. international rapporteur to keep in touch with what's happening in Hong Kong.
I would just like to underline what Martin said just then about the fact that there will be demonstrations, I'm sure, in the future, not the least maybe this week about Tiananmen.
But I very much hope that those young people and others won't allow themselves on the fringes to be provoked into violence by the sort of policing that we've seen in the last few months, which suggests that sometimes the Communist view of (INAUDIBLE) is to squirt pepper spray into children's faces or fire tear gas at them.
I very much hope that the thing can go forward with decency and dignity. Hong Kong is an extraordinarily moderate community and it's taken Chinese Communists to produce this mayhem occasionally.
ZAKARIA: Chris Patten, let me ask you about an awkward reality, which people tell me about, in Mainland China, which is that you talked about the change in China under Xi, which is undoubtedly true.
But there's also a rise of Chinese nationalism and a lot of people on Mainland China think Xi should be tough on Hong Kong, which they regard as kind of a privileged, very rich province that didn't have to go through the kind of turmoil that they did.
Is there a danger that Xi will play to sort of domestic nationalism to stay tough on Hong Kong?
PATTEN: Yes, very much so. And he's doing that in relation to Taiwan and India and around the South China Sea. And he's doing it in Hong Kong. And he's helped by the fact that, during the demonstrations last year and the violence that accompanied them, most of the social media was dominated by nationalists.
And coverage suggesting that this was anti-Chinese and all about (INAUDIBLE) and about Hong Kong's sense of its own citizenship. That's something that the Chinese regime simply doesn't understand. It doesn't understand.
But it feels threatened by somebody like Martin because Martin has been elected for things (ph). Just fancy that. What a heroic act that would be in China.
So I think this nationalism is being whipped up and I think both the nationalism and what's happening around the world are partly signs of a sense of nervousness in the Chinese leadership -- and rightly so, too.
But I think the whipping up Chinese nationalism requires from the other (INAUDIBLE) from other countries, from liberal democracies and Xi Jinping hates liberal democracies. He said that right from the beginning.
I think it requires of us intelligence. It requires a certain verbal restraint with absolute firmness in standing up for what we believe in and recognizing that Hong Kong is a victim of what could happen to us all.
ZAKARIA: That is an eloquent point to end on, Martin Lee, Chris Patten, Lord Patten, thank you very much.
To update you on what we saw before, Bob and Doug, the crew of the SpaceX Crew Dragon, are about to enter the space station. I want to apologize to our viewers; we ran out of time because of that docking but I'll give my advice to graduates next week if you still want it. Thanks to all of you for being part of my program. I will see you next week.