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Zero COVID Protests in China; Harnessing the Sun. Aired 4-4:10a ET
Aired November 28, 2022 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
COY WIRE, CNN 10 ANCHOR: What`s up, everyone? Hope you had an awesome break and had some time to reflect on the things for which you are
thankful, something for which I`m grateful is all of you and I am pumped to be right back at it so we can finish 2022 strong together, just 34 days
remain in this year.
We start today with news out of China. Protests have erupted all across the country, citizens taking to the streets in an unprecedented challenge to
Chinese President Xi Jinping`s zero COVID policy. Hundreds of people in China shouting the phrases "Step down, Xi Jinping. Step down, communist
party", and "Don`t want COVID test, want freedom".
The Chinese government has faced mounting anger at its zero COVID policy which attempts to isolate every case of COVID in the country and shut down
the surrounding areas. Even almost three years into the pandemic, COVID tests, incessant lockdowns and quarantines have plagued the country. The
protocols have kept China`s infection rate lower than countries like the United States. The government, though, faces complaints about the economic
and human cost as citizens are isolated for weeks at a time with limited access to food and medicine, while the country suffers economically.
A deadly fired an apartment block in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, killed 10 people and injured nine more on Thursday. After the event video
suggested that COVID lockdown measures delayed firefighters from reaching the victims. The incident has been a further catalyst to the widespread
anger and defiance against the government, which is rarely seen in China, a country where the communist party cracks down on all dissent.
We`ll hear more now from CNN international correspondent Selina Wang based at the network`s Beijing bureau with more on this movement.
SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anger is rising and tragedies are mounting but China shows no sign of budging on zero COVID.
Authorities are clamping down with more lockdowns, mass testing and quarantine, and people are getting more and more frustrated. Adding to the
anger is a fire that broke out in the capital of China`s far west Xinjiang region on Thursday night. Ten people were killed and nine were injured in a
fire at an apartment building in Urumqi.
Most parts of Xinjiang have been under lockdown for more than a hundred days. The deadly fire sparked nationwide outrage because widely circulated
videos which have now been censored in China show that COVID measures, COVID lockdown measures very likely delayed firefighters from getting to
Now, state media claims that people in the compound were allowed to leave the building, that it was considered a low-risk COVID area. But video shows
fire trucks unable to get close to the scene because the compound entrance was partially blocked. The video shows it`s blocked with fences tents and
metal barriers that are normally used as part of COVID measures.
The videos also show smoke and flames coming from a high floor of the building but the water failing to actually reach the fire. What adds to the
tragedy is that those who died in the fire likely spent their last three months largely confined to that building if not entirely.
The fire really struck a cord with the public here because we`ve seen scenes of tragedy and suffering play out over and over again since the
start of the pandemic. Countless stories of people struggling to get enough food daily necessities and emergency care and lockdown three years into
these draconian policies, frustrations are more frequently turning into public protests which are normally rare and authoritarian China.
Last week, in the southern city of Guangzhou, some residents revolted during lockdown by tearing down barriers and marching through the streets.
There were violent clashes at the Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou this week. But still, there`s no end in sight to zero COVID.
Selina Wang, CNN, Beijing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WIRE: Ten-second trivia:
What type of star is the sun?
Yellow Dwarf, Neutron Star, Red Dwarf, or Supernova?
According to NASA, the sun is a 4.5 billion-year-old Yellow Dwarf star, at the center of our solar system.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WIRE: Next up, we`ll hear how Heliogen, a renewable energy company in California`s Mojave Desert, is using concentrated sunlight to power more
than just your home. This new tech startup wants to replace fossil fuels with concentrated sunlight. But unlike traditional green energy suppliers,
this startup is able to store fuel to create power even when it`s dark outside or cloudy.
But while the company has major financial backers, it`s not a perfect solution. Stock prices are low and some question whether Heliogen can
execute on a large scale.
We`ll hear now from CNN business producer Jon Sarlin.
JON SARLIN, CNN BUSINESS PRODUCER (voice-over): In California`s Mojave Desert, renewable energy company Heliogen is working to harness
concentrated sunlight for more than just powering your home. Using artificial intelligence, these mirrors can produce the extremely high
temperatures needed to make things like concrete, steel and green hydrogen.
So behind you are these mirrors reflecting light. Tell me what they`re -- what are they doing?
BILL GROSS, FOUNDER AND CEO, HELIOGEN: We`re taking a field of mirrors. Each one of them being moved precisely by computer algorithms to reflect
the sunlight to a single spot up on the tower behind us. At that single spot, we`re achieving temperatures that are almost a third the temperature
of the surface of the sun.
SARLIN: What do you turn what these mirrors are projecting into?
GROSS: The end result is we get very high temperatures so we can make steam for heavy industry, we can melt aluminum, we can melt steel, we can
SARLIN: It`s the algorithm that separates Heliogen from other concentrated solar power ventures. Heliogen doesn`t need complex mirrors. Instead, they
use cameras and computing power to align their mirrors to reflect sunlight onto a refinery tower. This process creates temperatures of about a
thousand degrees Celsius and all of that heat is directed and stored in big thermos-like containers.
GROSS: So the energy continues after the sun goes down or even on cloudy days. We hold enough energy for a week of no sunshine, so that industry can
SARLIN: Concentrated solar power is a renewable energy resource that`s been around for decades to generate power, but with mixed success. Its
primary disadvantage has always been the hours of the day the sun isn`t shining.
Heliogen`s process solves this problem by storing its heat and making green fuel like hydrogen that can be used to fuel electric generating stations.
Okay. So you have this concentrated light source. You`re using it for power, for industrial uses, and for what else?
GROSS: Because we have continuous electricity. We can make hydrogen. So hydrogen is a miracle substance. It`s the most common element on earth.
SARLIN: Heliogen is using the thermal energy it creates to make hydrogen. Ironically, most hydrogen is made using fossil fuels, which has limited its
production. What Heliogen is doing is making the process of creating a clean fuel clean.
GROSS: We already moved a molecule all over the earth in the form of oil and gas. Hydrogen is also a molecule which we can transport. So why is that
so important? The United States can be an energy exporter, a renewable energy exporter.
SARLIN: So are we there yet?
GROSS: We`re there. This is happening. Where we really need hydrogen is for trucks, for airplanes, for long distance transportation. All the places
where hydrogen is made right now in a dirty way, we`re going to make it in a clean way.
SARLIN: So the question though is if we can do it, we can do it in the lab. But can we do it on scale?
GROSS: We are doing it at scale. That`s what you`re looking at here.
SARLIN: At scale?
GROSS: At scale. This is a scale technology with a multi-acre field gathering the sunlight from multiple acres, concentrating it, and using
that high temperature energy to split water and make hydrogen.
SARLIN: The company has major backers like Bill Gates. But still, Heliogen has faced obstacles.
Your stock price has faltered over the last year. Is the business at where you want it to be?
GROSS: Absolutely. In all businesses, your timing has to be perfect. So what`s happened in the last year or so that makes the timing perfect? Well,
fossil fuel prices have tripled. So all of a sudden, you can go to business and say, I`m going to install a system for you that takes away the
volatility, you`ll have control over your own energy production and I`m going to meet or beat your price and with zero emissions.
The sun is a resource that no one owns. It gives us ten thousand times more energy than the whole humanity needs and it`s available for everybody. So
the innovation can happen everywhere.
WIRE: Today`s story getting a 10 out of 10, a baby, a fur baby, and a big fur baby it is, at a British zoo. His name is Wilfred, in honor of World
War One era poet Wilfred Owen.
Giraffes are the tallest animals on the planet. So at birth, they`re already taller than most humans, about six feet tall. Wilfred was born
November 11th at the Whipsnade Zoo in the United Kingdom.
Baby giraffes are born with horns too as you can see. And like human fingerprints, no two giraffes have the same pattern on their coats. Their
tongues are long enough to pick their own noses. Wilfred`s tongue will get to be 17 to 20 inches long when he`s all grown up and his heart will weigh
about 25 pounds.
Hearts out and shout out to all of you. Our first of the week is going to Harry B. Thompson Middle School in Syosset, New York.
Wishing you and everyone watching around the world some motivation this Monday. You are smart. You are strong. You are more powerful than you know.
Good to be back. I`m Coy. This is CNN 10.