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Mo’ democracy for Hong Kong? No, says Mo

September 9th, 2014
09:22 AM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

With a new decision by the Chinese government on how Hong Kong elects its leader, the dream of democracy “is nearly dead,” Hong Kong legislator and democracy activist Claudia Mo told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday.

What China has offered instead, Mo said, is a “sort of fake democracy.”

It was not too long ago that Hong Kong was not Chinese at all; in 1997, the United Kingdom handed control of the territory over to Beijing. The agreement the two powers then signed promised “a high degree of autonomy” and “universal suffrage” Hong Kong’s population.

Now, activists say, China has reneged on that agreement. The government last week said that while Hong Kong’s population will be able to directly elect their leader for the first time, the candidates for the position of chief executive must be approved by a committee of Communist Party leaders.

China’s decision must still be approved by Hong Kong’s legislative council before it goes into effect.

“I think China, Beijing, is essentially very insecure and paranoid, and they want to play tough with Hong Kong. And the message is ‘We don't care about Hong Kong anymore. Hong Kong is disposable.’ The supposed financial hub in Asia; the supposed cosmopolitan city, never mind. If you don't like it here, Hong Kong people, you can leave.’”

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Filed under:  China • Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode

Tiananmen leader expected beating, but never bullets

June 4th, 2014
03:27 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

The students who led China’s Tiananmen Square protests 25 years ago genuinely believed that success was a possibility – and though they foresaw a crackdown, they never expected the government to use live ammunition.

“We did expect some kind of crackdown. The logic of a mass movement is that you apply pressure and hope for your opponent to make the right choice,” Wu'er Kaixi, who was one of the main student protest leaders, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “We never really expected real ammunition.”

Wednesday marks 25 years since the Chinese military’s bloody crackdown on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, in which hundreds – perhaps thousands – of protesters were killed. The government has never acknowledged how many were killed.

June 4, 1989 was a “very dramatic night after seven dramatic weeks,” Wu’er said.

“We made very emotional demands. We went through hunger strikes. And one of the Chinese poets wrote that … the students moved the God but they failed to move the emperor.”

“Of course that time the square is in extreme emotional state,” Wu’er said. “But all the students there were almost ready, almost ready to sacrifice our lives.”

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Filed under:  China • Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode

Vietnam accuses China of ‘creating facts on the ground’

May 28th, 2014
03:20 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

China is “creating facts on the ground” in the South China Sea, Vietnam’s Ambassador to the U.S. Nguyễn Quốc Cường told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday.

At question is an area of the South China Sea near the Paracel Islands; China this month installed an oil rig in an area both countries claim as their own.

This week a Chinese boat rammed and sunk a Vietnamese fishing boat near the oil rig; and in Vietnam, violent riots against the Chinese have forced Beijing to evacuate thousands of its workers.

“China is trying to turn [an] undisputed area into a disputed area. And that is unacceptable,” Nguyễn Quốc Cường said.

In an interview with Amanpour last week, Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai disputed one Vietnamese claim after another.

“We don't want to see any conflicts in our neighborhood,” Ambassador Cui said. “But it will not entirely – it will not be entirely up to us, you see. Other people have to have the same constructive attitude and policy.”

“We have no other way but to respond peacefully but resolutely,” Nguyễn Quốc Cường told Amanpour.

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Filed under:  China • Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Vietnam

Why U.S./China cyber escalation could be good

May 21st, 2014
02:59 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

A escalation of cyberespionage between the United States and China could be beneficial by forcing a change in actions, former U.S. counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday.

“I actually hope it does result in escalation and tit-for-tat, because we need this issue resolved,” he said. “And we can't go on the way it's been.”

“This first step by the United States will undoubtedly result in an escalation of this issue. And we need to do that. We need to have this issue resolved one way or the other. If the Chinese are going to keep hacking into our companies, then we're going to have to do something about it.”

Clarke, now out of government, has authored his third straight-from-the-headlines novel, “Sting of the Drone.”

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Filed under:  China • Christiane Amanpour • Drone • Latest Episode • Russia • U.S. Politics

China: American pivot to Asia needs ‘rebalancing’

May 20th, 2014
03:31 PM ET

Amanpour and Ambassador Cui also spoke about American hacking allegations against China. You can see that portion of the interview here.

By Mick Krever, CNN

The Obama Administration’s much-touted pivot to Asia, a careful balance between supporting U.S. allies and assuring China that America supports its rise, may need to be recalibrated, Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tiankai told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.

“I'm not questioning the intention of the U.S. government,” Ambassador Cui said. “I'm looking at the effect, the results of the U.S. policies towards Asia, towards China and what they have done and said recently.”

“And honestly, I think the key to this rebalancing is to maintain a good relationship with everybody in Asia-Pacific, including particularly China. And in this sense, I think this policy of rebalancing might need some rebalancing itself.”

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Filed under:  China • Christiane Amanpour • Japan • Latest Episode

China accuses U.S. of hypocrisy on hacking

May 20th, 2014
02:35 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Amanpour and Ambassador Cui also spoke about Russian President Putin's visit to China, the American pivot to Asia, and China's territorial disputes. You can see that portion of the interview here.

A day after the United States announced indictments against five members of the Chinese military, China’s ambassador to the U.S. accused America of hypocrisy in an exclusive interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

“It’s really amazing to see that some people still believe they have moral high ground and credibility to accuse others, if we consider the Snowden revelations and so on and so forth,” Cui Tiankai said.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday accused five Chinese nationals of engaging in commercial espionage, hacking into American businesses including U.S. Steel Corp., Westinghouse, Alcoa, Allegheny Technologies, the United Steel Workers Union, and SolarWorld.

In some instances, Holder said, the hackers stole trade secrets that would have been "particularly beneficial to Chinese companies at the time that they were stolen.”

The United States engages in widespread espionage around the world, but draws a distinction between spying for national security and spying for the advancement of domestic business.

“The fact is China is a victim to such cyberattacks,” Ambassador Cui said.

“I don't know how they can make a distinction between such activities. How do they explain the attacks on Chinese companies, universities, and even individuals? Is that for national defense? Or is that for other purposes?”

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Filed under:  China • Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode

‘Clearly’ Russia’s economy has suffered, IMF chief Christine Lagarde says

May 1st, 2014
12:32 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

There have “clearly” been consequences for the Russian economy because of the crisis in Ukraine, Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday.

The IMF said Wednesday that the Russian economy was in recession, and is expected to grow by only 0.2% in 2014.

“If you look at the monetary policy, if you look at the capital flows, if you look at their own forecast, there have been consequences on the Russian economy as a result of the geopolitical situation, the uncertainty, and the sanctions that have been decided,” Lagarde told Amanpour.

In a key sign of international support for Ukraine, the International Monetary Fund approved a $17.1 billion bailout for the country on Thursday.

The bailout, Lagarde, said, is “obviously not without risk, but it's a necessity to respond to a member's request.”

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Filed under:  China • Christiane Amanpour • Economy • Egypt • Latest Episode • Russia • Ukraine

China not the target of Philippines security agreement with U.S., says ambassador

April 28th, 2014
02:18 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

A new 10-year military agreement between the United States and the Philippines was “not designed” to counter China, Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose Cuisia told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday.

U.S. President Barack Obama signed the deal during the last stop of his four-nation tour of Asia. It will allow America a greater military presence in the Philippines, a former American colony and long-time ally.

Ambassador Cuisia spoke with Amanpour having just departed a banquet with the American President and Philippine President Benigno Aquino.

Like Japan, another stop on Obama’s tour, the Philippines has territorial disputes with China.

“It will certainly strengthen the defense and security alliance between the United States and the Philippines,” Ambassador Cuisia said.

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Filed under:  China • Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode

China, unvisited, looms large over Obama trip

April 28th, 2014
02:17 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Sometimes, where you don’t go says as much as where you do.

At the end of his week-long, four-nation tour of Asia, the country that U.S. President Barack Obama didn’t visit looms largest: China.

“Our goal is not to counter China, our goal is not to contain China,” President Obama said after signing a security agreement with Philippine President Benigno Aquino. “Our goal is to make sure that international rules and norms are respected.”

The message is indicative of the tightrope he has had to walk over the course of his visit: reassure allies, but don’t frighten China.

“I think he and his entire administration have been striking a very good balance,” says Gary Locke, who until two months ago was a member of that very administration as U.S. ambassador to China.

“Just in the last several weeks and months there have been numerous high-level visits by top administration officials” to China, he told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview.

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Filed under:  China • Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode

Decoding two sets of surprising Asia peace talks

February 11th, 2014
02:55 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Is there something in the water?

Suddenly peace, or at least peace talks, are breaking out in the most unlikely places. In Asia, entrenched enemies – China and Taiwan, North and South Korea – have agreed to sit down at the table.

In an effort to decode the surprising developments, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour spoke on Tuesday with Kurt Campbell, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, who is widely credited with being the key architect of America’s “Pivot to Asia.”

China and Taiwan are holding their first-ever official face-to-face talks since Mao Zedong’s communists won their civil war in 1949 – a “quite significant” turn of events, Campbell said.

“Over the course of the last 30 years, people thought that the most tense situation in Asia was between China and Taiwan, but in recent years the relationship has improved substantially – commercially, economically, and now politically.”

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Filed under:  China • Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • North Korea • South Korea
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