Return to Transcripts main page


The Day that Changed China; Pakistan "Honor Killing"; India and Pakistan: Making Up?; Imagine a World

Aired June 4, 2014 - 14:00:00   ET



BERNARD SHAW, FORMER CNN ANCHOR: If I sound out of breath it's because I've come down in an elevator and I have run to the CNN anchor

position. We were just told by the government of China that about 58 minutes from now, the government will pull the plug on all transmissions

out of this nation. That is why we are rushing to get our report on the air to you.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: CNN's Bernie Shaw 25 years ago, during the bloody showdown in Tiananmen Square, a night that would live in infamy.

Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour.

And on this day in 1989, Chinese police stormed Tiananmen Square and opened fire on hundreds, possibly thousands of student activists, who'd

been holding huge pro-democracy rallies.

But as the sun set on China's Communist Party crackdown, in Poland that very same day, communism itself was fading and a new dawn of democracy

was breaking, with the solidarity movement trouncing the Communist Party in that country's first free elections.

Two dramatically different outcomes remembered on a grand scale today with the reflections by President Obama on his state visit to Poland.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: On the same day 25 years ago the Poles were voting here, tanks were crushing peaceful

democracy protests in Tiananmen Square on the other side of the world.

The blessings of liberty must be earned and renewed by every generation, including our own. And this is the work to which we rededicate

ourselves today.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): But China has banned any mention of this anniversary, blocking out CNN and other channels today and rounding up and

detaining activists. To this day, the Chinese authorities have never admitted how many they killed in Tiananmen, hundreds -- or was it


And shockingly, many young Chinese simply don't really know and don't really care what happened 25 years ago. Many of them can't even identify

this electrifying image, the iconic Tank Man, who put his body in the way of that column of tanks.

Wu'er Kaixi was one of the main student protest leaders. He shot to fame, challenging China's premier on live television back then. After the

crackdown, he managed to escape and he spent the last quarter century in exile. He joined me from Taiwan to discuss China then and now.


AMANPOUR: Wu'er Kaixi, welcome to the program.

ORKESH DOLET, "WU'ER KAIXI", CHINESE DISSIDENT: Thank you very much, Ms. Amanpour. We always appreciate any opportunity to let out our voices.

AMANPOUR: Well, let me let your voice out on this day.

What do you remember from that night? You were one of the protest leaders.

WU'ER: Well, it's a -- it's one very dramatic night after seven dramatic weeks.

We'd occupied the street of Beijing, Tiananmen Square for seven weeks. We made very emotional demands. We went through hunger strikes. And one

of the Chinese poet wrote that the -- they say, they, the students, moved God. But he -- they failed to move the emperor.

AMANPOUR: What do you remember about that terribly dramatic night that, frankly, was broadcast all over the world live on CNN until they shut

us down?

WU'ER: It did seem a success and a genuine possibility until when we heard the gunshots. We did expect some kind of crackdown. We -- the

larger goal for a mass movement is that you apply pressure and hope for your opponent to make the right choice.

We never really expected real ammunition. So when the news came into the square to say the -- there were already bloodshed; there were other

people dying from trying to stop the troops coming into the square, of course that time the square is in the extreme emotional state.

And but all the students there were almost ready, almost ready to sacrifice our lives.

AMANPOUR: You have been in exile since then. Apparently you were number two on China's most wanted list after the crackdown at Tiananmen.

And you have not been able to see your parents. You've tried repeatedly.

WU'ER: Exile by definition is an escape from China, from my mother country, to avoid imprisonment. But when exile become already intolerable,

I decided, even if I have to go back into prison, I will rather take that chance so that I can meet my ailing parents, even if it has to take the

form of a prison visit between glass walls.

AMANPOUR: How have you tried to come home and what do they say to you when you try?

WU'ER: They deny it. They deny any request of taking me in, extradite. They decided just to play mute.

AMANPOUR: Can I ask you about the mental state of China today, young people today, who your age -- 25 years ago -- do not remember even the

iconic Tank Man?

This journalist, Luisa Lim (ph), has been showing people the image. And almost no young person even recognizes it.

How do explain that?

WU'ER: Yes, a lot of young people don't know that. The Chinese government tried controlling the media, controlling the publication and

then even controlling all the Internet.

But there are also a lot of young people who do know and who -- they were -- they will have a term called climbing the wall. There's a great

firewall preventing information free flow that is designed by Chinese regime.

And then Chinese people have learned how to climb the wall. And when they do, they try to contact me. So I know great numbers of people are

trying to defy the government's effort and then trying to learn what really happened.

AMANPOUR: Many people describe what happened in Tiananmen as snuffing out Chinese freedom and democracy. And obviously it was a terrible,

terrible situation that happened 25 years ago.

But do you, in a way, think you may have succeeded at least 75 percent of the way that nothing has been the same in China since Tiananmen? Even

communism isn't the same as it was 25 years ago. Obviously the economy is now the world's second biggest economy.

You know, all over China, there are acts of resistance, dozens and dozens of them every single day, whether online or in towns and villages,

protesting corruption.

Do you think, in a weird, paradoxical way, that you actually succeeded?

WU'ER: The 1989 student movement is a movement that almost succeed and then we were following a role model that is Poland. And then in Poland

workers formed solidarity workers' union. And then they press the government, they press the Communist regime and then their pressure worked.

The multiparty system, the free election was introduced to Poland actually on the very same day, June 4th, 1989.

And so why shouldn't that be possible for China?

We thought it would be a genuine possibility. And then if China did that time give in to students, just little inch, all we wanted is a free

dialogue and then to let the people's voice to be heard, to let it to stay alive.

AMANPOUR: Do you believe today that what you all went through and what you sacrificed 25 years ago made a difference?

WU'ER: By the year 1992, Communist Party admitted, acknowledged and give in to the world to the demand that we put forward economically, only

on the economic aspect. We demanded free market. We demanded -- we demanded acknowledgment of private property rights.

AMANPOUR: What do you say to the Chinese people who've been giving a lot of interviews in the run-up to this anniversary and who are saying

that, hang on a second; what we want is stability, no political chaos and economic growth.

In other words, the younger generation is benefiting from this massive Asian tiger that has been unleashed in your country.

What do you say to them?

WU'ER: Well, the very biggest message -- the biggest part of it here is that I can't say anything to them. Our voice has been blocked.

So they are saying those things. They are saying those -- they are giving those -- but they are -- these are uninformed ideas.

They -- I would very much like to sit down and have a long debate, just like when Communist Party said democracy will bring chaos to China,

like the cultural revolution, I would like to say Communist people -- Communist Party is lying to you, totalitarianism lead to cultural

revolution, lead to chaos.

And all the democracies that I know, they're quite stable. So the Chinese people, Communist Party said lie, cannot stand. The -- but the

very problem is that I cannot say those things to Chinese people.

AMANPOUR: And so what then would you say to the world, who also feels the same way after several years of shutting China out and being tough on

China because of Tiananmen?

It's changed now and China is a major international partner in every which way.

What do you say to the world?

WU'ER: The world has not been tough on China. In fact, the world has been -- the Western democracies, especially those people who has some

power, who can make a difference, have adopted an appeasement policy, especially the United States.

And the United States led Western democracies. They are sending a message to Chinese government to say, OK, we don't really care if you're a

democracy or not. All we want is your market. All we want is your world engine capability.

And every time when they send in a trade delegation to go to Beijing, of course they have to raise a question about human rights because of their

tremendous pressure from back home.

But the trade delegation never wait for an answer and don't link their answer to the trade talk they're having.

So, yes, they're -- they have been sending a very wrong message to the Chinese government, basically saying we don't care. Go ahead and suppress

your dissidents.

So you're asking, is the world feeling a little desperate today, don't know what to do with China?

This is what you have also contributed to.

AMANPOUR: Wu'er Kaixi, thank you very much indeed for joining me.

WU'ER: It's my great pleasure. Thank you very much.


AMANPOUR: While the Chinese government may try to erase the memories of Tiananmen Square, in Hong Kong, the only part of China where protest is

allowed, hundreds of thousands joined the candlelit vigil, including visitors from the mainland, to remember the dead.

And after a break, another kind of despotism, religion as an excuse for domestic tyranny, from Sudan to Pakistan and in between, wives and

daughters at risk. That's when we come back.




AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

And now to a story that's so horrific it's hard to stomach if not to believe. News that emerged recently from Sudan of a pregnant woman

sentenced to death because her own brothers turned her in for marrying a Christian. Listen to what they chillingly told CNN's Nima Elbagir in

Khartoum today.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): It's one of two. If she repents and returns to our Islamic faith and embraces our family, then we are her

family and she is ours. We will hold her dearer than the apples of our eyes. But if she refuses she should be executed. We will not deny Islamic

law. This is what the law states and we will never allow any distortion of that.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (from captions): This is your sister?

Will you allow yourself to see her executed?

To watch her walk to the hangman's noose?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): But why would I indulge my humanity, my emotions and incur the wrath of my lord? That's not how it

works for us.


AMANPOUR: So convert or die -- and it gets worse. The woman, 27- year-old Miriam Ibrahim, will be allowed to nurse her newborn baby in prison for two years, we're told, then face 100 lashes followed then by


And it's not just Sudan; in Pakistan as we've seen, outraged protesters have taken to the streets ever since a woman was stoned to death

in broad daylight last week. That happened in Karachi by her own family, because she, too, had dared to marry the man she loved.

Whether in Jordan, Afghanistan and around much of the Muslim world, these old tribal practices are excused as domestic matters and the killers

mostly get away with murder.

As Pakistan's former foreign minister and the first woman to hold that post, Hina Rabbani Khar joins me from Lahore to say that this scourge can

no longer be tolerated.


AMANPOUR: Hina Rabbani Khar, welcome back to the program.


AMANPOUR: Let me ask you, you are a woman, a former foreign minister, a member of parliament. What does this say to you, these heinous crimes

being committed against women in your country, in India, in Sudan?

If I could bring up a little statistic, in the year 2013, there were 869 honor killings in Pakistan and that's just in Pakistan in one year. So

you can imagine how many all over the Muslim world.

But this is more than about Islam. It's a deep ingrained societal thing that we're told is just a domestic matter.

How do you change this?

KHAR: I would like to completely disassociate this from Islam and make it and look at it as a societal manner and you're - one can

academically talk about it and academically I would say that the whole question of honor as being the protection of the men's honor as against the

woman's life and the woman's honor.

So the question of honor is actually the honor of the man.

Therefore a lot of legislation is requires.

AMANPOUR: But the question is how to get that legislation in a society that says these are private matters, these are societal matters.

If they can't pin it on Islam, they'll pin it on ancient traditions.

KHAR: Christiane, I would really urge you not to put this as a wholesome (sic) reflection of the Pakistani society, because the Pakistani

society is more we're reflected by such crimes or as in the Pakistani society you have the men not only, you know, particularly people like me,

who come at the very outset from a privileged background, but also people like Malala Yousafzai, who you know, in a place like Swat, where girls'

education is an issue that someone has now become headline news and wherever I go in the world I see airports carrying her book and --


KHAR: -- many, many women around the world who could associate with that.

AMANPOUR: But you know what, you mention Malala; she can't go home. She is afraid of being attacked again in Pakistan because her fight

internationally is being criticized in Pakistan.

So there is a problem. There's a problem with people's mindsets in many parts of your country.

KHAR: I am not going to sit here and deny that. This certainly is a problem. If there wasn't a problem, we wouldn't have such, you know,

crimes or incidents that we have witnessed. And we have -- I live just across the border two days back. And I was myself overwhelmed by the

number of news stories in India about rape victims and how they were being treated.

You know, we take the -- we take the blame, if I can call it that -- or we take the responsibility of how much this society had to evolve, had

to evolve. But we would certainly resist the temptation at any point in time to try and link it with our religion, Islam, because Islam is what


AMANPOUR: Let me switch gears for a moment because part of Pakistan's struggle is to try to heal itself inside and that apparently won't really

happen until you can manage to have much better relations with India.

The new prime minister, Narendra Modi, invited Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan to his inauguration. First of all, I understand there

was a great deal of debate within the prime minister's closest circles to whether that invitation should be accepted.

Do you think he did the right thing?

KHAR: I think we enabled him to do the right thing. The Pakistan People's Party, before there had even decided or when they were still, you

know, considering whether to take the invitation or not, enabled him by saying that he must go because we do believe that Pakistan has to get out

of this age-old hostile enmity-based relationship with India, to prosper itself, to -- and to allow others to prosper.

AMANPOUR: You've just come back from India. There have been several attempts to mend relations between the two countries, nuclear powers, by

the way.

Do you think there's any reason to hope that this is the time, that all sides are prepared to actually go the extra mile to do that?

KHAR: I'm an indefatigable (ph) optimist on Pakistan-India relations because I believe it is intrinsically linked for this entire region to be

able to live in peace and prosperity. And as trite as that might sound, we have lived through 60 years of hostility, giving nothing back to our


If anything, it has made us all more cautious, unable to deliver to our people, unable to concentrate our energies on where it is really

required, which is growth and development. But for that, what is the prerequisite? The prerequisite for being able to resolve our issues with

them is an environment which is conducive to sitting on both sides of the negotiating table.

I believe that Pakistan -- in Pakistan, there's been a sea change. In Pakistan today, there is complete unanimity and there -- within all the

political parties -- that we must mend relations with India.

We do not see the same in India. In India, when there's an election, Pakistan is still beaten and bruised and that still gives --


AMANPOUR: Yes, but Prime Minister Modi, he's the man in charge. And he's the person who said that it has to happen. Apparently foreign

ministers will meet sometime soon; apparently that has been established.

What do you think could derail this? Could headliners at home in your country derail it?

KHAR: Every time a Pakistani leader has been given an opportunity to visit India, he's always taken it. He has found the guts to take it.

Whenever the same opportunity has been presented to the leaders on the other side, they have not found the guts to be able to take it. And Prime

Minister -- when Mohan Singh is obviously an excellent example of that.

However, with Prime Minister Modi there, if he is comfortable, my assessment is, within the domestic environment and as I did experience this

electric hope in New Delhi with this new government, I believe he may as well want to be the first to write his name in history to be able to mend

relations with Pakistan. Opportunity, therefore, is certainly there. Whether they will take it for the leader or not, it will remain to be seen.

AMANPOUR: Former Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, thank you very much for joining me.

KHAR: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: And after a break, June 4th is full of significant anniversaries, from China to Poland and, yes, to Egypt. It is five years

since President Obama's historic Cairo speech to the Muslim world. How things have changed. That's when we come back.




AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, on this day of remembrance, not only do we recall the brutal crackdown on Tiananmen Square, but also another

25th anniversary celebrated by U.S. President Barack Obama today in Warsaw, as he joined the celebrating those free first elections that brought

democracy to Poland and that sounded the death knell of communism.

Recalling the days of the Solidarity Party, he spoke of a new kind of solidarity for a new era.


OBAMA: We stand together because we believe that upholding peace and security is the responsibility of every nation. The days of empire and

spheres of influence are over.


AMANPOUR: Now imagine a world where another presidential speech, also delivered on this day, has yet to live up to its promise. The year was

2009 and a newly elected Barack Obama flew to Cairo. It was the first time an American president had addressed the Muslim world from a Muslim capital

to pledge a new beginning.

And how different the world was then. Obama was greeted by Hosni Mubarak, who was still Egypt's president. And neither knew that a mere 18

months later, the Arab Spring would sweep him from office.

President Obama took the stage at Cairo University, hoping to heal wounds and ease suspicions caused by the Iraq War.


OBAMA: So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, those who promote

conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity. And this cycle of suspicion and discord

must end.


AMANPOUR: Now just as in Europe, history will record that the United States and its allies marshaled the momentum of a crumbling Communist wall

and hastened the flowering of solid democracies across the former Soviet bloc, history will also record that they failed to harness the

transformational hope of the Arab Spring. Five years later, Mubarak is gone; his successor, Mohammed Morsy, is in prison and the former army

chief, al-Sisi, is Egypt's newest pharaoh.

That is it for our program tonight. Remember you can always contact us at our website,, and follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.