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U.S. State Department: We Believe Genocide Happening in China; China Plans to Become Self-Sufficient in Science & Technology; Russia and China Plan to Build Lunar Space Station; White House: Biden Still Not Briefed after Team Takes Trip to the Border; FBI Releases Video of Suspect Placing Pipe Bombs Outside RNC, DNC Headquarters; Virus Variants More Prevalent in Brazil; Prince Charles Dodges Questions; Nun Begs Myanmar Police Officers to Stop the Violence. Aired 12-12:45a ET
Aired March 10, 2021 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm John Vause.
Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, what happens in Brazil will not stay in Brazil, with a deadly or more contagious coronavirus variant killing in record numbers and the government's failure to control it now seen as a major threat to global recovery.
Never complain, never explain. In just 61 words, Britain's Queen Elizabeth responds to explosive allegations of racism made by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Russia turns its back on NASA, announcing a partnership with China to build an international scientific lunar station orbiting the moon.
VAUSE: Since the start of the year much of the world saw dramatic decline followed by plateaus in daily COVID infections and without a falling rate of hospital admissions. There is however one notable exception, Brazil, where almost 2,000 people are dying every day from COVID-19, the highest daily death toll since the pandemic. began
The virus is spreading faster than ever before. Hospital admissions have reached record highs. And there are 2 major reasons why. The first is P.1, the official name for the Amazon variant, detected in Brazil late last year. The other one is Jair Bolsonaro, coronavirus doubter, anti masker, science denier and president.
This collision of mutation and denial has pushed Brazil's public health care system to the very brink, with intensive care units and at or close to maxing. Out half of Brazil states, 13 of the 26, have ICU occupancy over 90 percent. Another nine states are operating at 80 percent. The worst among the worst is the southernmost state of Rio Grande do
Sul. intensive care units have passed 100 percent full and Brazil's second biggest city, Rio de Janeiro, 93 percent of all hospital ICUs are taken. Every day it seems there is more suffering, more grieving and more loss than the day before.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAMELA GABRIELA OROZCO, DAUGHTER OF COVID-19 VICTIM: every minute, a family member is lost. This is not normal, this cannot be trivialized. We are paying the cost for the selfishness that we see at the end of the year and at the beginning of the year.
Now more than ever, people have to understand the seriousness of this. Unfortunately, every family is paying for the irresponsibility of others.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Making all of this so much worse is a chaotic and confusing national vaccination effort which has inoculated just 4 percent of the population. And Brazil is in serious trouble.
But it might not be Brazil's problem alone for much longer. Public health officials and scientists are becoming increasingly concerned P.1 and other mutant strains could quickly spread from Brazil to around the world. If that happens, experts believe that it could set us back, all of us, to square one, essentially pandemic 2.0. We have more now from CNN's Stefano Pozzebon.
STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Coronavirus is continuing to spread in Brazil with devastating affects, pushed mainly by the new COVID variant that was first detected in the South American country.
On Tuesday, Brazil recorded yet another new number of record COVID-19 deaths, with almost 2,000 casualties in one single day. To give a idea of how widespread this new wave of the virus is across the country, in a statement to CNN, the Brazilian health ministry told us that they are sending extra beds to increase ICU capacity in 22 states out of the 27 that make up Brazil.
But as long as the government of president Jair Bolsonaro is not imposing a new national lockdown to trying to curb the spread of the pandemic, the next few days will be very critical for Brazil. For CNN, this is Stefano Pozzebon, Bogota.
VAUSE: To Sao Paulo now, with us this hour is Dr. Miguel Nicolelis, professor of neurobiology at Duke University. But he spent the past year in Brazil, tracking the pandemic.
Thank you for taking the time to be with us we. Appreciate it. DR. MIGUEL NICOLELIS, DUKE UNIVERSITY: My pleasure.
NICOLELIS: Thank you for having me.
VAUSE: Well, Brazil's health care system, it was seen as one of the best in Latin America. It was publicly funded. There are more hospitals in Brazil than the United States for example. However, the ICU wards for the most part are maxed out. Many hospitals are being to the very brink of collapse.
Does the current crisis have more to do with the variant, which is a lot more contagious, or is it just the ongoing criminal confidence of a president who has refused to take the pandemic seriously or a combination of both?
NICOLELIS: Well, the variant that you're talking about it is a late component, a late parameter to the crisis in Brazil right now. We are experiencing this near total national collapse of the health system because of the lack of any real true action by the federal government throughout the first year of the pandemic.
And, by last year, around the beginning of November, after the national elections we start seeing all regions of Brazil synchronize in terms of growing of cases. That was just the first fire that we noticed across the country of the second wave.
Then at the end of the year, the Christmas parties and then Carnival and that's how we got to this point, near the entire collapse of the entire national health system.
VAUSE: The national vaccine rollout, which Brazil has done quite successfully, this time there is confusion and delays but some good news from Pfizer, which has a new study finding their vaccine is effective against the variant in Brazil.
The problem though is, correct me if I'm wrong, the same cannot be said for the Chinese made Sinovac vaccine. That's the one which is being used the most in Brazil.
Is that right?
NICOLELIS: In fact, CoronaVac is being used. Here and we just saw a study today a, preliminary study, showing that the antibodies the vaccine induces can neutralize the Amazon variant. So that was good news in the national press in Brazil this morning.
But we can't handle this just with the two vaccines the government have procured for Brazil. We need many more and we have been waiting for an agreement with Pfizer since last year.
And the president of Brazil has delayed personally this agreement for reasons the nobody can understand. Clearly and now Brazil finds itself in this paradox. It's one of the best countries in terms of national campaigns for vaccinations for a series of things -- measles, polio -- it's a global case of success for the World Health Organization. But now the country is usually vaccinating 10 times less than it should and it could.
VAUSE: I think it's important to stress that the more this virus spreads, the more likely the chance that it will mutate again and again. I want you to hear Dr. Anthony Fauci on this, here he. Is
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF COVID-19 MEDICAL ADVISER: The fundamental tenet of virology is that viruses do not mutate unless they replicate. And the more spread that you have in the community, the greater chance that you're going to have of the initiation of and propagation of variants.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: You have warned this virus is still rampant, so out of control in Brazil, that it could mutate into a different virus, a new virus?
What happens in Brazil will not stay in Brazil?
NICOLELIS: Oh, absolutely not. Dr. Fauci just gave a one-on-one lecture on virology and that's what I've been trying to say here in the Brazilian press since I was the head of the scientific task force of the north eastern states in Brazil. The more cases we have -- and we're about to have crossing 80,000 cases a day for the first time this week -- the more we give chances to the virus to mutate and new variants to show. Up
And eventually you could get a completely new virus, a coronavirus -- a COVID 3 out of Brazil. Since the borders in South America are very porous, very open, it could quickly spread to South America, Latin America, then to the whole. World
That's the reason I'm saying that the Brazilian problem is not a problem for Brazilians. Only it's a global problem.
VAUSE: On top of that problem, which is a global problem. There is a head of state in Brazil who had this message to a nation which is suffering unprecedented numbers of dead and dying as well as incredible economic hardship. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAIR BOLSONARO, BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We have to face our problems. Enough fussing and winning. How much longer will the crying go on?
We have to confront our problems.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: That was last week but it's still an incredible thing for president to say in the midst of this crisis, especially when it appears he is doing all he can to thwart any attempt at containing the pandemic.
What would be your message to the rest of the world, what should they be doing right now about?
NICOLELIS: We have appealed in the past 2 weeks to the congress of Brazil and the supreme court together with the governors of the 27 states to take control of the country.
NICOLELIS: To create a national task force and to work with the international community to take care of this pandemic because it's out of control. So that's my message, the bottom line is. The world needs to put the pandemic down in Brazil.
VAUSE: Professor Miguel Nicolelis, thank you so much for being with, us it's a good message to finish. on
NICOLELIS: It was a great pleasure, thank you very much.
VAUSE: After almost 2 days which included crisis talks between Britain's Queen Elizabeth and senior royals Buckingham Palace has now issued a response to allegations of racism made by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex during their explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey.
A very brief and direct statement which was at times almost poignant. Doubts were raised over the veracity of Meghan's claims while adding the queen and the whole family is saddened to learn how challenging the past few years have been for her grandson, Prince Harry, and his wife, Meghan. More details now from Max Foster.
MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: One of the first things you see is, this is on behalf of the queen. This statement is normally from Buckingham Palace so this is the boss speaking to the world, speaking to the family and trying to get everyone to sit down and listen.
She says, "The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan. In other words, they didn't realize it was this bad when Harry and Meghan say they did.
The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately. So they do dispute the recollection of Harry in that conversation when they talked about the color of Archie's skin. But they do say that they're looking into this race issue so a probe essentially into racism within the British. Monarchy
Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of the family. I think that is the complexity, here this is not just a monarchy. With a business it's a family, they're trying to reconcile all of. This but I think what the queen is saying there is, we can sort this out.
But we do need to do it privately, with each other to work this through. It should not be done on TV. I think she is saying, let's make this private, let's take this away from the airways.
VAUSE: Diane Clehane is royals editor for the online magazine "Best Life." She is also our returning champion, back for another round. Glad you can make it back for another day.
DIANE CLEHANE, "BEST LIFE": Thank you for having me.
VAUSE: OK, it took almost 2 days to come up with 61 words which do not address Meghan's issues of mental health and the issues of suicide. And even on the allegations of racism, there was this line, "While some recollections may vary they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately."
So casting doubt it seems over the claims from the outset. But also, why are allegations of bullying leveled at Meghan were part of an internal investigation and yet allegations of racism will still be resolved privately by the family?
CLEHANE: It's really very interesting. I think that a lot of this that is happening, obviously the families were involved because this is at the core a very personal. But I think this is a lot having to do with the individual staffs of Charles, William and the whole senior royal lineup.
They all have their own staff and from the looks of, it sounds of, it very much like what Meghan said, there were people in that, in the palace, that were working against her allegedly.
So I think that it is something that was controlled not personally by the queen or Charles. I think that the staffers worked on this as well. So it was a big deal for them to come out and do. This but they really had no choice.
VAUSE: Yes, it's interesting because you have these royal insiders and the aides to the senior royals. Because the senior royals themselves are not up there. They are maintaining their silence. But behind the scenes there it this sort of tit-for-tat going on.
CLEHANE: Absolutely. I think that was maybe a warning shot, the bullying allegations when they came out. Or maybe in some instances, I've been told that they sort of wanted to get something out there before. Before the interview, to possibly even it up.
I don't think anybody expected the explosive revelations that were in that interview. They were playing small ball and Meghan was hitting it out of the park with baseball.
VAUSE: The statement also had this one line, which really stood out to me, Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members. You know, that was kind of touching. But this controversy followed
Harry's father, Prince Charles. He went to a vaccination clinic on Tuesday. Here's a clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir, can I ask, what did you think of the interview?
CHARLES, PRINCE OF WALES: Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: You know, some reports claim that the prince was seen leaving with a tear or tears in his eyes. It's a stark reminder that they live in a gilded cage but they are family, maybe a dysfunctional, one but we all have our. Issues and they are a family after all.
CLEHANE: Yes, no, absolutely. This really goes to the heart of it. When Harry was talking about how Charles stopped talking to him and that he was hurt by his father. He expected him to be more sympathetic because he had seen his mother go through a similar circumstance.
CLEHANE: They can't get more personal than that. And that really struck a chord and it also had echoes of what was done to Diana. So I imagine that that really hit right to the heart.
VAUSE: And, it seems that there's still is this threat that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex now, that they could maim the alleged royal races, that could be what like a nuclear?
CLEHANE: I think they are really in crisis mode right now. They had no choice but to send out the statement. But that was very, very small. That was really nothing. I think what we see is that Harry and Meghan had a spokesperson come out and say they would not reply to the palace's statement.
So I think there is some kind of uneasy truce. Still, I think Harry and Meghan have the advantage. The claims of racism leveled at the palace -- and they were very clear, they came from a family member, that's not going away. So I think that's already nuclear.
VAUSE: Now it is a guessing game of which royal was it. By pure coincidence, Clarence House put out a lot of new photos of Prince Charles meeting people of color.
CLEHANE: Oh my. Really?
VAUSE: That's pretty subtle.
CLEHANE: A little heavy-handed, yes.
VAUSE: Just a little. This is why they should leave the social media to Meghan, I guess.
CLEHANE: Either that or they should hire someone that's just as savvy. The royals have no business trying to figure out social media. But they are going to try. With Harry and Meghan now the princess and prince of the United States, which they absolutely are, make no mistake, they really have very little control.
I don't know how they didn't expect this to be that bad if, in fact, all these things came about the way Harry and Meghan said they did. And there is no reason not to believe them. So they should have been prepared.
But honestly, I don't know what they could do except put out a statement. They won't do some kind of confessional interview and send Kate and William out there to say it didn't happen. They have to stay silent. They cannot keep coming out and addressing this. They made one statement and that's it. And I don't think you will hear another word again.
VAUSE: Never complain, never explain. Thank you so much. Good to see you again.
CLEHANE: Good to see you. Thank you.
VAUSE: Many may recall about 7 years ago, Piers Morgan had a show on CNN but he doesn't now. He once had a show on ITV, a breakfast show. He doesn't have that anymore, either.
Apparently not everyone appreciated what seemed to be an insensitive and dismissive rant over Meghan Markle's mental health and not everyone, I mean, almost 50,000 people complained to broadcast regulator in Britain.
But the final straw may have been this on air temper tantrum, the news anchor equivalent of throwing your toys out of the cot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEX BERESFORD, "GOOD MORNING BRITAIN" ANCHOR: I understand that you don't like Meghan Markle. You've made it so clear a number of times on this program.
Has she said anything about you since she cut you off?
I don't think she has but yet you've continued to trash her.
PIERS MORGAN, "GOOD MORNING BRITAIN" ANCHOR: OK. I'm done with this.
BERESFORD: No, no, no --
MORGAN: You can trash me, mate, but not on my own show. See you later. BERESFORD: I'm being --
MORGAN: Sorry. Can't do this.
BERESFORD: -- absolutely diabolical behavior.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Just a few hours after that came the announcement that Piers Morgan would be leaving the broadcaster. More now from chief media correspondent Brian Stelter.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Piers Morgan has joined Harry and Meghan on the front pages of the British newspapers today. His decision to storm off the set of ITV's "Good Morning, Britain" and then the network's announcement hours later that he is off the show effective immediately is something of a morning TV mystery.
People wonder if they should connect the dots between the two and wondering what exactly happened.
Why did Morgan suddenly leave the show?
We know that Piers Morgan is larger than life, someone fans either love or love to hate, a former CNN host, who has been on ITV for many years now and has crowed about the ratings gains for the breakfast program.
He has been an incendiary critic of Meghan Markle, Prince Harry as well but especially of Meghan. On Monday, after the Oprah interview, he even questioned if Meghan really truly had suicidal thoughts.
His criticism of Meghan has caused a torrent of criticism directed in his direction and at ITV. It's been a problem for management. The CEO had to address it on Tuesday. On Tuesday afternoon, Ofcom, the U.K. media regulator, announced it was opening an investigation into Monday's episode of "Good Morning, Britain" when Morgan made those charged comments.
About an hour later, ITV said that Morgan had decided to leave the show and that the network accepted the decision. Morgan has not said much since then. But knowing Morgan, he will have a lot to say about this in the coming days or weeks, et cetera -- Brian Stelter, CNN, New York.
VAUSE: Myanmar's crackdown is intensifying. When we come back crowds are being dispersed with increasing force. Media outlets are being raided. We will have the latest in a moment.
Also ahead, the U.S.-Mexico border once again seeing a rush of migrants. The biggest news, why now and what's driving these numbers?
VAUSE: A defiant act of courage by a nun as she's tried to stop the violence in a northern town in Myanmar. She knelt down in front of police officers, begging them to stop shooting protesters.
They told her they were just clearing the road but gunfire began moments later. The nun and other witnesses say at least 2 protesters were killed. Several others were injured.
Another elected official from Aung San Suu Kyi's political party has died. That's two members of the National League for Democracy to die in detention in 2 days. CNN's Paula Hancocks live in Seoul with the latest on this.
There are concerns about what's actually happening to all these members of the National League for Democracy.
Are they being tortured in this detention where they are being held by the military?
We just don't know.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, this second NLD member, according to one Burmese NGO, the associate assistance for political prisoners who's been given a lot of information like this, they say he was arrested in the early hours of Tuesday, about 1:30 in the morning. Close family friends confirmed that from within the NLD. They say it was then informed to the family that he had died.
The NGO is claiming he had injuries from when he was within custody. The family itself are still waiting for the body to be received from the military hospital.
It's a very similar situation to what we heard over the weekend in the early hours of Sunday morning. There was another NLD member who was arrested and then later died and that one as well, local media, Reuters, quoting NGOs, saying there were injuries that had not been there when he was arrested and it appears they had been tortured.
CNN cannot independently verify these reports. It's certainly a worrying trend at this point. These overnight midnight release arrests that we are seeing from NLD members, the individuals dying later as well.
We know there are dozens of NLD members that are arrested at this point. The concerns will be for their safety as well. We've heard from state media that as far as military leadership is concerned, they say once again, they believe their security forces and police are acting with minimal force when it comes to keeping the peace -- John. VAUSE: I guess that brings into stark contrast the claims that the
military have been given orders basically to shoot to kill and to essentially have maximum impact and maximum damage, to try and have as many as fatalities as possible.
HANCOCKS: A number of the injuries that we have seen and a number of the fatalities we've seen have been protesters shot in the head. The military in the more high profile cases have said the ammunition used was not something they had used, a claim they had died by someone else's hands and not by their security forces.
But this is certainly not would protesters believe, not what activists believe, not what many in the international community believe as well.
In the early hours of this morning there was a target of the security forces, the railway workers. This is a large group within the civil disobedience movement. They were one of the first to walk out en masse to protest against the military leadership with stun grenades. Roads were blocked. Stun grenades were used to try and raid those particular offices as well.
And we have even more media outlets that have been raided. Military leadership is trying to control the narrative again.
VAUSE: When you control the press and the airwaves, I guess that makes it easy. Paula Hancocks there, thank you.
U.S. agents have encountered and arrested more than 100,000 migrants on the southern border in the past month. That's the most in 5 years according to data obtained by CNN.
There was a spike in the number of children and families. Officials are scrambling to deal with the influx, which the governor of Texas blamed directly on the White House. He says the Biden administration has created a crisis at the southern border through open border policies that give the green light to dangerous cartels and other criminal activity.
On Tuesday, the White House defended its actions and discouraged further border crossings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We are continuing to work to convey to people in the region that this is not the time to come. The majority of people who come to the border will be turned away, which is factually accurate.
What we are really talking about in terms of the people who are being let in are unaccompanied children. That's a policy decision we made because we felt it was the most humane approach to addressing what are very difficult circumstances in the region. That means there are more, children, kids under the age of 18, coming across the border.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: The White House press secretary refused to call the situation a crisis but said it's a challenge they are working to address.
Years ago, a Uyghur disappeared in China after returning from the United States. Her sister is demanding answers. Why she is one of possibly millions of ethnic minorities being thrown into Chinese internment camps. That story in a moment.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, a day after the release of a new report which says China bears responsibility for the alleged report genocide of Uyghur Muslims. The U.S. State Department says there's no reason to believe the atrocities in western China have stopped.
The independent findings by dozens of international experts and compiled by a Washington think tank accused Beijing of violating the U.N.'s genocide convention. They're committing systematic atrocities against the ethnic Uyghur minority.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NED PRICE, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: Secretary Blinken have arrived at the judgment that genocide has taken place in Xinjiang. We absolutely stand by that. In fact, there have been additional reports even today, detailing allegations that -- of what has transpired in Xinjiang.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: The sister of a Uyghur man who vanished after taking part in a program in the United States is calling on the U.S. to take action. She believes her brother has run up to two million minorities detained in internment camps China's western Xinjiang province.
CNN's Kylie Atwood has the story.
RAYHAN ASAT, UYGHUR HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATE: He was recently seen in a video.
KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rayhan Asat hasn't seen her brother in almost five years after he returned home to China and disappeared.
Now, in a rare interview with CNN, the Chinese national living in the United States says says recent images of him are shocking. She hasn't seen them herself but says he was described as --
ASAT: Absolutely unrecognizable. He lost tremendous weight. He looked like a bone with a human face, except the face is absolutely unrecognizable.
ATWOOD: Ekpar Asat, a successful Chinese entrepreneur, went missing in 2016 after arriving back in China from a State Department program in the U.S.
ASAT: Years have gone by, and I'm still looking for answers.
ATWOOD: She said the Chinese government, without evidence or trial, sentenced him to 15 years in prison on charges of incitement of ethnic hatred and ethnic discrimination.
The Harvard Law School graduate says that 35-year-old Ekpar never criticized Chinese leadership and believes he is one of up to two million Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities detained by the Chinese government and put into internment camps.
ASAT: He spent three years in the concentration camps, and only in January 2019 he was transferred to prison.
ATWOOD: The Chinese government says it's a policy of reeducation. The U.S. government has called it genocide. The Chinese dispute those claims.
WANG YI, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): The claim that there's genocide in Xinjiang couldn't be more preposterous. It is just a rumor fabricated with ulterior motives and a lie through and through.
ATWOOD: After years of staying silent, Rayhan Asat has begun speaking out, taking to new social media platforms and speaking with us. A great risk, she says, to her and her family's lives.
(on camera): What do you think would happen to you if you went back to China?
ASAT: I think I would also disappear into the shadows of these internment camps.
ATWOOD: Your parents are still in China?
ASAT: They are.
ATWOOD: Do you fear for their safety?
ASAT: I do. Every time I speak out, I do.
ATWOOD (voice-over): Now, Asat is turning her attention to the new Biden administration, which is facing mounting pressure from human rights advocates to hold China accountable for these camps.
Former detainees tell CNN inmates are subject to rape and forced sterilization, which the Chinese government denies.
President Biden voiced concern about these alleged human rights abuses in China's Xinjiang region during his first phone call with President Xi. Biden publicly claims that China will face repercussions. His administration has yet to offer specifics.
PRICE: I think the question that we are posing to like-minded allies and partners around the world is what collectively can we do.
ATWOOD: For her part, Rayhan is very clear. She believes the Biden administration must put this genocide above everything else when dealing with China.
ASAT: I would love to have an opportunity to make a case for President Biden and Secretary Blinken that any sort of future engagement with China have to have some form of conditions, and one of which to release my brother.
ATWOOD: Kylie Atwood, CNN, the State Department.
VAUSE: Well, China has announced an ambitious five-year plan to become nothing short of world supremacy in artificial intelligence and quantum computing. Alongside that ambitious goal, though, Beijing has laid out a much less impressive plan on dealing with climate change.
Kristie Lu Stout reports on the master plan.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: China has big ambitions. The world's second largest economy expects to grow by more than 6 percent this year. If China achieves that, it would be on track to match U.S. GDP by as early as 2028.
But China also has a big vulnerability. Its dependence on overseas technology like the parts that power smartphones, computers and next- generation gadgets and China is determined to end that.
Its latest five-year plan gives new insight into how Chinese authorities plan to strengthen its high-tech might on the first day of the National People's Congress.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang emphasized the importance of innovation.
According to the 2021 work report, "Innovation remains at the heart of China's modernization drive. We will strengthen our science and technology to provide strategic support for China's development."
Li added that China plans to increase spending on research and development by more than 7 percent a year. In recent years, Chinese tech firms like Huawei and SMIC have been targeted by punishing U.S. sanctions that cut off access to vital components.
So, in its five-year plan, China is planning to boost its domestic expertise in a number of key areas, including next-generation artificial intelligence, quantum computing and semi-conductors.
China's ambition for high-tech self-reliance is not a new one. Its recent 10-year plan called Made in China 2025 was created to shed the country's dependence on foreign technology. It included goals for 40 percent of chips to be produced domestically by the year 2020. That share was supposed to increase to 70 percent by 2025.
But according to IC Insights, in 2019, less than 16 percent of the chips China needed were produced at home.
YVETTE TO, PROFESSOR, CITY UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG: When it comes to high-end advanced manufacturing of semiconductor chips, China is actually lagging pretty significantly, 7 to 10 years behind. The thing is, even if China doubled down on its forces and commitments from this moment onwards, Chinese companies will find themselves chasing a moving target.
STOUT: Analysts point to another tech speed bump for China: regulation and government interference that could dampen innovation.
In November, Chinese regulators forced Alibaba's financial affiliate Ant Group to postpone its record-breaking IPO and ordered the company to overhaul its business.
In a recent research report, Eurasia Group analysts write this. Quote, "As Xi pursues ambitions for China at the cutting edge of technology, Beijing recognizes that a top-down approach has limits. But Beijing's willingness to leave more to the market will be challenged by Xi's sense of urgency and frequent preference for a strong hand for the party and state," unquote.
The fate of China's most famous entrepreneur revealed the risk of too much success and how a nation's declaration of tech dominance is easier said than done.
Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.
VAUSE: Well, shooting for the moon together. Russia and China teaming up to build a lunar research station. What does that actually mean for the global landscape of the space exploration? What does it mean for NASA? Russia dumped them for this.
VAUSE: Russia and China have announced plans to build a space station orbiting the moon which will be open to all countries and interested international partners.
It might be a sign Russia is ready to move on from its partnership with the International Space Station.
CNN's Will Ripley live in Hong Kong with details on this. Also on this, the Russians turned down a similar project which NASA is working on. So, it certainly seems they're closing the door on that relationship with the U.S. WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. When
Russia didn't sign the Artemis Accord for lunar exploration, which is led by NASA, that raised a lot of questions about this long-standing partnership between the two former leaders in space supremacy. It was Russia that sent the first human into space 60 years ago this year.
But Roscosmos has really been struggling, especially during the post- COVID era to keep up with the United States. And more recently, China, which has a space agency that it is throwing tons of cash at. They have -- you know, they've brought back rock and soil samples from the moon last year for the first time in 40 years. They have their own probe orbiting Mars right now.
And so, when Russia lost its monopoly to fly people to the International Space Station, because now SpaceX is able to do that -- SpaceX is also planning to fly passengers to the moon in a couple of years during this kind of mission, spearheaded by Japanese billionaires.
Vladimir Putin and company really want to find a way to excel. And so you combine China's cash with Russia's decades of experience, and now you have this -- really, China's most ambitious cooperative plan in space to date.
To put this thing, this research center either in the orbit of the moon or on the surface of the moon. Or both. Now the United States also is making, you know, efforts to actually get to the moon and beyond. They're planning to fly the first woman to the moon.
I believe that that's supposed to happen in a couple of years. And then the first man to the moon, as well. And then you have the NASA Perseverance rover, which is on the surface of the moon right now. Which has sent back the first audio from the moon of that wind that we heard and hoping to learn about whether there are any signs of life.
So space is certainly getting interesting. You have, you know, these three super powers, Russia and China and the United States all competing against each other. Maybe it will be a welcome distraction, John, from all of the mess happening here on earth.
VAUSE: Yes, you know, I was just thinking, wasn't that Neil Armstrong guy the first one on the moon? Anyway. Will, it's good to see you.
Thank you. Take care.
Well, and thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause, and I'll be back at the top of the hour with another edition of CNN NEWSROOM. In the meantime, stay tuned for WORLD SPORT after a short break.