Return to Transcripts main page

CNN 10

Ya Ya The Panda Returns Home After 20 Years; Wild Breathtaking Ride to Six Flags Magic Mountain. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired May 01, 2023 - 04:00   ET


COY WIRE, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Happy Monday and Happy May to you. I`m so grateful to be back coming to you from CNN Center reporting from the NFL

Draft last week, really was special, though, in large part because I got to meet so many of you, Liberty High School, you rock. What`s up Wilbert.

I`m Coy Wire. This is CNN 10. And we start with a story we brought you last week, an update on Ya Ya the panda sent to a Memphis Zoo two decades ago

from China. The moment encapsulated a high point in U.S.-China relations. Remember pandas are used as diplomatic gifts in China. But pandemonium

surface, when many people in China and some animal advocates accused the zoo of mistreatment after a video came out showing the ones furry, cuddly

panda looking skinny was scraggly fur.

However American and Chinese scientists concluded after a joint investigation that Ya Ya has a genetic fur and skin condition and that

pandas at this zoo "received excellent care."

But reputational damage had already been done. Anti-American panda propaganda flooded feeds on Chinese social media, causing outrage. The plan

all along was for Ya Ya to stay at the Memphis Zoo for 20 years and return this spring and Ya Ya is now back in China. It was a highly anticipated

homecoming. Our Will Ripley has more about this panda that was once a sign of friendship, but has now become a symbol of growing tension between the

U.S. and China.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In China, a hero`s welcome for Ya Ya the panda. At the end of a 16-hour flight from Memphis to Shanghai. Crowds

gathered outside the airport trying to catch just a glimpse of Ya Ya`s crate. Her first moments back on Chinese soil. She`ll spend the next month

in quarantine at the Shanghai zoo, where immediate feeding frenzy is in full swing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And many Chinese have been watching closely and looking forward to Ya Ya`s return.

RIPLEY: This geriatric giant panda is a household name in China for all the wrong reasons. When Ya Ya`s panda playmate died of heart disease in

February, pictures of Ya Ya with scraggly fur and sagging skin sparked online pandemonium. A Chinese social media frenzy fueled by false claims.

Rampant rumors denied by the zoo of panda abuse and neglect in the U.S. Outrage amplified by anti-American sentiment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ya Ya, come back home.

RIPLEY: Bring Ya Ya home became a rallying cry for millions of Chinese. The panda`s picture plastered on billboards from Beijing to the Big Apple.

It`s true, Ya Ya was young and fluffy when she arrived at the Memphis Zoo 20 years ago.

On a long-term multimillion dollar lease from China. U.S. and Chinese scientists say she has a genetic condition affecting her skin and fur, a

condition that worsens with old age. No impact on her quality of life just her looks. They even issued a joint statement saying the fact is, Ya Ya had

excellent care. But facts don`t always matter in a world full of fake news.

Anti-American panda propaganda is filling the feeds of Chinese social media users. No mention of the healthy pandas at two other American zoos, but

plenty of pictures of an active and playful panda in Russia, a panda Chinese state media praises for improving bilateral ties.

Ya Ya`s saga will end where it began. The Beijing zoo where she`ll live out her final years. She just might be the world`s most politicized Panda, a

beloved bear that brought the U.S. and China closer now being used to divide.

(On camera): China has been using pandas as a political tool for decades. They are national treasures and China is very selective about which

countries get these million dollar a year panda loans, the U.S. had not one in two decades. Ya Ya was the last one. But they also heavily censored

social media and allowed this online backlash to grow to the point that people were calling for all pandas to be pulled out of the U.S. and panda

diplomacy to end altogether. And only on Wednesday did the Foreign Ministry of China say that in fact, the pandas at the Memphis Zoo were well taken

care of and actually loved by the American people. Halfhearted attempt perhaps to dial back some of this controversy.


WIRE: All right, you all learn studying some very important staple subjects in your schools every day, right, social studies, history, math,

science, the arts on and on. But in today`s world, there are some other important topics that might not always be easy to talk about. One school in

the San Diego area is having their fifth graders tackle issues like racism, bullying, pollution, even gun violence through animations. Our Camila

Bernal explains more.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good morning. Buenos dias.

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The day begins for these fifth graders with the usual subjects, math, science, reading, and even P.E.

Those may appear easy in comparison to talking about gun violence, global warming, bullying, racism.

CHRISTIAN LOPEZ, 5TH GRADE STUDENT: I chose racism because for me racism is something really -- something that I see often and something that

happens and I feel like all people should be treated the same way, not because they`re different. Because inside, we`re all the same.

BERNAL: Christian Lopez is just one of the more than 500 5th grade students tackling these issues at the National School District just outside

of San Diego. The students choose a topic.

AXEL VI, 5TH GRADE STUDENT: Yeah, I did like world hunger. I feel bad, I really feel bad about because they don`t have the life I have.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can donate to help them get food and fresh water.

BERNAL: And then use animation --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think guns should be allowed? Well, I don`t.

BERNAL: -- to explain their thoughts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Immigration is a problem for everyone. They separate individuals from another, that`s a form of injustice.


these young people will face as they become adult, then I believe that it is our responsibility to support them in learning how to maneuver some of

the nuances.

BERNAL: But maneuvering wasn`t always easy. According to animator David Heredi, who created this five-week program.

DAVID HEREDI, FOUNDER, HEROES OF COLOR: It makes people uncomfortable when you put them in a situation to talk about something that is not their lived

experience. And because of that, I think it`s unfair to put a muzzle on a child who wants to express what they`re feeling.

BERNAL: So instead you allow them to talk through their art.

LOPEZ: Just because they`re a different race doesn`t mean that you have to be rude or to like not to be nice to them, because it`s really hurtful for

those people.

BERNAL: They found ways to help solve or highlight the issues.

LOPEZ: No matter what color we are, we all are humans.

BERNAL: And then, they got to feel like celebrities as they share their animations with the world.

HEREDI: It allows us to actually stop and listen to what`s going on in the world of a child and have them offer a potential solution to that problem.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you`re kind to someone they`re going to be kind to someone else or you, you should always be kind.

BERNAL: The students feel heard and say they will continue to explore these social justice issues.

LOPEZ: We could still keep working on and progress to make it better.


WIRE: Ten second trivia.

In 1817, "The Aerial Walk" considered to be the world`s first modern roller coaster opened in what city?

Paris, France, Brooklyn, New York, London, England or Anaheim, California?

"The Promenades-Aeriennes" or "The Aerial Walk" debuted in Paris. Passengers walked up a set of stairs, wrote a bench down at 40 miles per

hour, Woo-hoo.

Now the folks in Paris from the 19th Century would have said, ooh la la wae wae to the rollercoasters nowadays. They`ve evolved so much and there`s so

fast. Today`s story getting a 10 out of 10 is an amusement park that you could call the roller coaster capital of the world. Six Flags Magic

Mountain in Valencia, California is home to a whopping 20 roller coasters more than any other theme park on the planet.

Some coasters given chills and thrills are called Wonder Woman, flight of courage, Twisted Colossus. And how about the X2 with its 360-degree

rotating seats and head-first, face down drops. That`s enough to send you on an emotional roller coaster.

You know, the most difficult part of a roller coaster is the anticipation of climbing that first big incline. The rest is mostly downhill.

Now, it`s time for my favorite part of this show. Special shout out today is going to North Kingstown Rhode Island Davisville Middle School, rise up.

Thanks for subscribing and commenting on our CNN 10 YouTube Channel. Have a great Motivation Monday, everyone. Remember life presents choices. We make

decisions. Those decisions become our destiny.

I`m Coy Wire, and we are CNN 10.