Skip to main content

tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  November 28, 2019 4:30am-5:01am GMT

4:30 am
this is bbc news. the headlines: china says it will take firm countermeasures after president donald trump signed legislation backing protesters in hong kong. the legislation requires the state department to certify that hong kong retains enough autonomy to justify favorable us trading terms. the islands government says it opposes and regrets donald trump's decision. the maltese government is under intense pressure as protests continue over the murder of a prominentjournalist. daphne caruana galizia was killed two years ago by a car bomb. she was investigating corruption on the island. malta's prime minister, joseph muscat, is facing calls to resign. rescuers in albania have saved a small boy as they continue to search for survivors of tuesday's earthquake, the worst in the country for years. at least 30 people are known to have died in the 6.1i—magnitude quake. the prime minister has declared a state of emergency.
4:31 am
now on bbc news, hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk, i'm stephen sackur. the significance of the political unrest in hong kong stretches far beyond the borders of that tiny territory. it poses president xi jinping with the most serious challenge of his presidency. if beijing cannot quell the calls forfreedom in hong kong, what does that tell us about the sustainability of its authoritarian rule elsewhere? my guest is china's ambassador in london, liu xiaoming. his government faces mounting internal and external pressure. how will it respond?
4:32 am
ambassador liu xiaoming, welcome to hardtalk. thank you, thank you for having me. it's a pleasure to have you here. let us start with hong kong. president xijinping has been in powerfor seven years. would you accept that the prolonged unrest and instability in hong kong is the greatest challenge he has faced in his presidency? i think our government policy is clear. i think 12 days ago, the president made a very authoritative statement when he attended the brics summit. he said the top priority for hong kong is to end violence and restore order, and also... but, with respect, he has been
4:33 am
saying that for many months. the violence began in early summer, and the violence continues. and notjust the violence, but we also have the massive political expression represented by the results of last sunday's council elections. the people of hong kong have squarely and by an overwhelming majority expressed their grave dissatisfaction with the hong kong and beijing authorities. first things first. i think you have to separate the peaceful demonstrators from the violent rioters. you mentioned about the latest council election. that exactly shows that president xi's message, loud and clear, has been well received. now, you can only exercise the right for democracy in a peaceful environment.
4:34 am
and secondly... well, if i mayjust continue with this thought about what the council elections tell us, they had a choice. they had a lot of pro—beijing candidates and they had a lot of candidates expressing the views of the opposition, and the protesters, the pro—democracy protesters, on the streets. and an overwhelming majority, almost 400 out of the 452 seats, went to those opposition figures. the figures are actually extraordinary. 70% turnout, which is unprecedented. 17 of the 18 councils now controlled by the pro—democracy political movement. i don't think you should have an over—interpretation of this so—called landslide victory of the opposition. they have 17 versus 18, but in terms of votes, it is 60 versus a0. so 40% of the voters voted against the opposition. secondly, you know, like in any country, even in western culture,
4:35 am
the incumbents tend to lose votes if there's a riot, if there's violence, if there's a slowdown of the economy. exactly that is the causes, by these violent lawbreakers. they caused the big trouble in hong kong. but, if i may say so, hong kong, you and many other chinese officials have been saying to people like me for months that the silent majority of people in hong kong are not with the pro—democracy protesters and demonstrators. they are with beijing. that is not true, and we now know that is not true. i think it is still too early to tell. i said a0%, 0k, and according to some reports, they report that the pro—establishment candidates have also been harassed, interrupted, threatened. you know, some of them even assassinated, you know — mr ho.
4:36 am
so this these violent radicals, they create terror. i call it terror. so that really prevents people voting. ambassador, you watch events in hong kong from afar, like i do, on television. and you see, just as i do, the brutal crackdown that the hong kong police have been implementing on the protesters for months now. the point is it hasn't worked. carrie lam's strategy, she of course the chief executive of hong kong, representing the interests of beijing, ultimately she began with a strategy which was built on withdrawing the extradition bill, hoping that would quell the protests, the pro—democracy protests. that didn't work. she then clearly instructed the police to get tough. we've seen that that doesn't work. what's beijing going to do now? i think it needs the whole picture. it's not the — the problem is not
4:37 am
the hong kong police. i think hong kong police is the most disciplined, professional, civilised police force in the world. if you compare what is going on in hong kong and also what is going on in the united kingdom, do you think a similar situation would go on and on in the uk? have you seen the pictures, the pictures of the policemen opening fire on the protesters? 0pening fire because they do it in self—defence. the problem with the british media is that you only focus on police reaction. you do not focus on the violent rioters. and you still call these rioters, when they torch the flammable — to onlookers who disagree with the protesters? they disapprove their vandalism, and they set fire on him. you still say these are the protesters? ambassador, if i may say so, we've interviewed leaders of the protest movement as well, and we have asked them about the violent tactics
4:38 am
that they have employed, including the use of petrol—bombs and other missiles, so we have questioned them precisely on that basis. but the point for you is that your government is now in a very big hole. violence continues, the instability continues. carrie lam's strategy has failed. is the next realistic move you to make to get rid of the chief executive, carrie lam? first, i would say chief carrie lam did a good job. her team, they enjoy full support. but she has failed. for six months, she has failed. no, she has failed — i wouldn't say she has failed. there's many reasons. if there were no foreign forces behind it, if there's no radical violent rioters who block, who sabotaged the competition... you know, carrie lam, her team made many efforts to communicate, to reach out to the public. you know, since this happened in the past five months,
4:39 am
carrie lam and her team conducted more than 100, you know, events to communicate with the local people. ambassador... but they did not give them the chance, the opportunities. you are an ambassador, you know how diplomacy works. she has got to make some concessions — that is, establish a truly independent inquiry into the police actions of recent months, and make moves towards universal suffrage for the election of the next chief executive. she can either choose to do that, or what is going to have to be a much more serious crackdown. and that crackdown, if i may say so, is going to have to come not from the hong kong police, who are clearly not capable of restoring order, but it's going to have to come from the military, from the chinese military, 12,000 of whom are currently based in barracks in hong kong. is that something that you could contemplate? i think carrie lam and her team made
4:40 am
efforts to address the problem. first, she suspended the extradition bill, then she has withdrawn it. and she also, you know, made what she called four major actions, including more than 100 engagements with the local people. but the universal suffrage, it's not, you know, something to welcome in the blink of an eye. you know, you have to go through a legal process. the central government is committed to universal suffrage. if it were not for the opposition to veto the political reform plan in 2015, there is already universal suffrage by 2017. with respect, there isn't anything like universal suffrage. for the key post of chief executive, there is ultimately a choice that is based upon nominees selected from beijing and ultimately voted upon by about 1,000 people.
4:41 am
that is very far from universal suffrage. what it seems to me is that, in the end, beijing is scared about what is happening in hong kong, because you fear that the rest of your population and the rest of your nation is watching very carefully to see what happens to this call for genuine — genuine — freedom and democracy in hong kong. i think you miss another big picture. you know, you raise so many topics, so many issues. let's go one by one. first about universal suffrage. as i said, if it were not for the veto of the opposition to the political reform programme in 2015, by 2017, i mean, two years ago, the chief executive — yes, it's not 100% universal suffrage, but it goes step—by—step. ambassador, you are a skilled diplomat, but you cannot dress up... when we talk about universal suffrage, it's two areas. one is chief executive, the other is the legislative council, right?
4:42 am
so, if it were not for the block of the opposition, next year's legco election would be universal suffrage, one man, one vote in hong kong, for 70% of the people. it's not going to be. there isn't universal suffrage. hang on, we'vejust seen the communist party in beijing declare that a decision taken by the high court in hong kong to disregard carrie lam's ban on facemasks, according to beijing, according to your party, is now null and void. so you are now intruding on the fundamental principle of one country, two systems. no, no, no, not at all. i think you — you give me no opportunity to answer all of your questions. you talk about the governmental question about the situation in china.
4:43 am
you said people are concerned about what is going on, it might spill over into china. that is not the case. we just celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the people's republic of china. so you have to realise what an achievement china have achieved in the past 70 years. people are living better, living happier, living longer. you paint a fascinating picture of the context. ididn‘t paint a picture, it's a fact. hang on, let us now explore what you've just said, because you're taking it beyond hong kong to what is happening in china. you have taken me beyond hong kong, so i talk about this. i want to take it beyond hong kong, and beyond the incredible economic achievements of the chinese government over decades. why, if you are so insistent that the people of your country are so very happy, why is your government apparently so frightened of dissent inside your country? we are not frightened about any dissent. how many political prisoners are there in china? there is no political prisoners in china. ambassador, that's not true.
4:44 am
the people wouldn't be put behind barsjust because they are thinking thoughts. they are put behind bars because they have violated the law in china. but your laws preclude genuine political opposition. no, no, no. if people are dissenting from the party line, very quickly they find themselves contravening your laws. not only that, we have seen in the last two or three years the creation of a surveillance society in china, where every thought and every move made by your population is surveilled, in a way that is not true of any other country. can i ask you a question? how many civilian cctv cameras in your country? not as many as your country. no, not per capita. so how would you explain the situation? i would explain the situation by pointing out that in china... no, i am asking you, cctv... in china, by 2022, there will be one cctv camera in china for every two people.
4:45 am
you have 1.4 billion people. that is an unimaginable surveillance society. what is it for? have you been to china? i have been to china. when was your last visit to china? i think it was about three years ago. i think in china, you will find that people are very free, very happy. you can't feel it? people are harassed, are threatened, they have a lot of complaints? no, you can see smiling faces on the chinese people. yes, people have some complaints. in any society there are complaints. but people have their channel, you know, to make their complaints known. we have the national people's congress, we have the political consultative conference. you know, if china did not have politics, if our people have no democracy — but china's democracy is chinese democracy, with chinese characteristics. you can't use your standard to judge other countries, just like we will notjudge
4:46 am
you based on our standard. let's talk then about xinjiang, one of the provinces in western china which sees the greatest repression. now, you will know as well as i do, in recent days we've seen a new slew of leaks of official communist party documents which show the extent of the repression of the uighur muslim people of xinjiang. we know that hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people over the last two years have been interned in camps, camps which look to the outside eye like prisons. why? first, let me tell you that there is no such a leaked document. i said in a very clear—cut term in my press conference, this is a fake news, this is a made—up story with ulterior motives. there is no such a leaked document.
4:47 am
it's made up. just because you call them fake news doesn't mean they're not genuine. no, it's a made—up — made—up... first, let's talk about the document, 0k? i double—checked with the relevant department or authority. there is no such a leaked document. secondly, let's talk about what is happening in xinjiang. have you been to xinjiang yourself? no, i haven't, ambassador. i would love to go, and if you're prepared to invite me to travel through the... definitely! excellent. you know, xinjiang, we have a saying "if you do not go to xinjiang, you do not know how vast china is. how beautiful china is." this place used to be very peaceful, very prosperous, but between 1999 and 2016, this is not the scene that we would like to see. it has become a battleground. there are thousands of terrorist attacks. thousands of innocent people got killed. in 2014 alone, there were two
4:48 am
terrorist attack cases per three days. so, you know, you cannot walk safely in the street during those days. so people call for the government to take action. so, you know, the government — according to law — set up training education centres. the purpose is to deradicalise the, some, young people. these are camps. let me finish. we know from official leaks that you have used police batons, electric cattle prods, handcuffs, pepper spray inside these camps. we know because we have seen the procurement orders for all of these things, which have been leaked. you have a problem with leaks inside... that's not true. well, it is, ambassador. you can keep telling me these leaks aren't true, but it is clear these are genuine documents. you know... and the united states government amongst many others said, and this is the quote from mike pence, indeed, mike pence, the vice president, "the communist party has imprisoned
4:49 am
as many as1 million muslim uighurs in camps where", his words, "they endure around—the—clock brainwashing." 0k. i do not believe in michael pence. he's a china—basher. you call him president, but i think he is a cold war warrior against china, so his word does not stand with me. so we do not talk about michael pence. we talk about what is going on in xinjiang. you have your views about mike pence, but he happens to be the vice president of the united states. vice president — we show respect when he is vice president but i can't agree with him when he's demonising china. you have a problem here, ambassador. we've talked hong kong, we've talked about what you are doing to the uighurs in the west of your country. the united states congress has passed a new round of targeted sanctions against officials in hong kong who are leading the crackdown against the protesters. your diplomatic position, and you know it well yourself because you've just been hauled over the coals by dominic raab, the foreign secretary in london.
4:50 am
you know that your diplomatic position as the chinese government, defending what is happening, is coming under enormous pressure. i don't think so. i think the western countries, you, are under enormous pressure for interfering in china's internal affairs. let me say this. what if china's national people's congress passed a law concerning a region, i do not name it, in the united kingdom, to express our concern to impose sanctions on your politicians if you do not follow the law. what do you think about that? it's totally against the international norms that's governing the international relations. we are in the 21st century. we are not in the gunboat diplomacy. the chinese people — china is not a country you can kick around. well, it's interesting you put it like that. the chinese people have stood by... do you really think that governments in the west in particular are trying
4:51 am
to kick you around? it's not so long ago — you are a long—serving ambassador. it's not so long ago you and the british government were talking about "a golden era in relations." now, you'vejust come back from the foreign office where the foreign secretary described himself as "shocked and appalled" by the arrest of a former employee in the uk consulate in hong kong, who was tortured in china. the british government is furious about it. they're criticising and condemning your actions in hong kong, and in xinjiang as well. the united states... ah, ithink... i haven't even finished. yeah, 0k. the united states is now saying, and i'm quoting the head of the fbi, "china's goal, it seems, is to replace the us as the world's leading superpower, and they are prepared to break the law to get there. this golden era has collapsed into recrimination and rivalry." so, it's my turn to talk? it is. i hope you will not interrupt me. i know your hardtalk is about hard subjects, it's not about you talking all the time. first, about the meeting with me, dominic raab‘s meeting with me.
4:52 am
yeah, he did raise this case of simon cheng with me. he didn't mention about xinjiang, to tell you, and it is me who expressed our strong opposition to uk's interference in china's internal affairs — that is, hong kong. with regards to simon cheng, you know, he violated the law in china for soliciting prostitution, and he confessed all his wrongdoings. well, i'm sure he did after you hung him and deprived him of sleep. no, no... the usual chinese torture tactics. i'm sure he... will you give me time to explain, then you interrupt me? you know why — you can't — you cover so many subjects. i need to come back to them one by one, yeah? his so—called charges against china's police have been totally rejected. we already made our response to the foreign office. we cannot accept the so—called torture. there is no torture at all.
4:53 am
and, before he came into the... before, when he was arrested and after he was released, he had a physical examination. his condition is perfect, no problems at all. but ambassador... so there's no torture. you made your point on that. so it shows you have such a bias against china. we are out of time, almost. i just want to get to this big point — that the us and uk appear convinced now that, as i quoted a senior us official, china's goal is to replace the us as the world leading's superpower. is that ultimately the strategy in beijing? no, not at all. we' re not interested in replacing anyone, to challenge anyone. you know, we're still a developing country. although we are are the second—largest economy, but per capita income, we are behind. you know, we earnjust less than $10,000 us.
4:54 am
this is my third ambassadorship. after egypt, i was incumbent to one of the poorest provinces in china. it's a wild west. the people didn't have access to drinkable water. you know, they had to build themselves to catch rain, then to purify it, then both human beings and living stock have to depend on this purified water. it is a challenge, how to feed the chinese population, how to make chinese people living happier, living longer. we are not... and china, for its foreign policy, we want peaceful development. but deng xiaoping famously said that china's strategy was to hide its strength, bide your time, never take the lead. that clearly is not the strategy of xi jinping. peaceful development is still our strategy, because we benefit. you know, people talk
4:55 am
about the 40—years miracle in china. we can achieve this because we have a peaceful environment. we only have more success by having continuing to build a peaceful environment. that is how xijinping called for to build a shared future for mankind. that is our goal, and continues to be our goal. ambassador liu xiaoming, i thank you very much for being on hardtalk. thank you, thank you. thank you, ambassador. hello. yesterday relentless rain, we saw scenes like these across parts of scotland and the north—east of england. today we are anticipating things becoming drier here is the rain sinks southwards. as it does so, though,
4:56 am
we're gonna see much colder air following on behind it. this is the low to thank for the wet weather. this front will clear south through the day. eventually the wet weather moving away, but behind it, the wind turns northerly and the cold arctic air sinks its way south into all parts of the uk, in fact, by the end of the week. here we start on thursday still with wet weather across north—eastern england, but also extending into northern ireland, parts of wales, eventually reaching southern england come the afternoon. by then the skies start to clear and things will brighten for the north. but those white arrows surging down are the first signs of the cold air trickling in to the south. in the north, six or seven degrees, but with the effect of the wind it will feel so different. it will look different as well. thankfully we will see the return of some drier and brighter weather. still some rain around to the south of the uk through thursday evening. friday morning, most of it clearing offshore, but the legacy of the cloud
4:57 am
will help to hold up the temperatures towards the south—west overnight. meanwhile to the north, it's a widespread frost, and in some more rural parts, quite a hard frost at that. the cold air in place, lots of fine weather as that frontal system moves off into the continent, but with northerly winds and some showers possible for our north sea coasts and drifting into the north york moors, some of them could be wintry, a few wintry ones for the highlands as well, and a cold one for everybody on friday, temperatures down to single figures and a cutting northerly wind. now, here's saturday, high pressure's still clinging on, but it looks like this system will try to eke into the picture from the atlantic. just how far north the rain will push is probably the biggest question. pretty windy and wet weather on the cards for the south—west of england and south wales through saturday. elsewhere it stays fine but it will remain distinct chilly, with temperatures at six or seven degrees, whereas we're looking at 11 in plymouth. by sunday, though, that
4:58 am
will be sinking south, and we should see some widespread fine weather all parts of the uk to enter the weekend. come the start of the new week, though, some frontal systems potentially toppling into scotland, bringing more cloud and outbreaks of rain, but perhaps some just slightly milder air as well. but certainly to start our new week, we are looking at fine weather, but a colder outlook than we have been used to as well.
4:59 am
5:00 am
this is the briefing. i'm sally bundock. our top story: china says it will take "firm counter measures" after president donald trump signs legislation backing protesters in hong kong. from make—up advice to human rights campaigner. we meet the tiktok star who's rejected the social media firm's apology and insists that china has tried to censor her free speech. rescuers save a little boy after an earthquake in albania claims at least 30 lives. in business, crypto crime wave. theft and fraud losses from digital currencies are soaring — as the market continues to boom


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on