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CONNECT THE WORLD

Is the Conflict in Ivory Coast Coming to an End?; Reaction at the U.N.; Refugee Crisis in Liberia; Japan's Offer; Libya's Rebels Set to Export Oil

Aired April 5, 2011 - 16:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Ivory Coast's incumbent president is said to be negotiating his surrender.

After months of bloodshed, could the country's battle for the presidency and its future soon be over?

Plus, a boon for Libya's cash-strapped rebels, as the country gets ready to resume its oil exports.

And she may be gaining a prince, but what will Kate Middleton be forced to give up?

Live from CNN in London, this is CONNECT THE WORLD.

Well, a four month stalemate may be coming to an end in Ivory Coast. But self-declared president, Laurent Gbagbo, has not relinquished power just yet. It's believed the self-proclaimed president is holed up in a bunker at the presidential palace in Abidjan, where he's surrounded by forces loyal to his rival, internationally recognized president, Alassane Ouattara. Well, the U.N. special envoy tells CNN, the terms of his surrender are now being negotiated.

And as CNN's Phil Black reports, his departure could mean the long, bloody conflict is finally coming to an end.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If the battle for Abidjan has climaxed, then international military intervention proved crucial. U.N. peacekeepers and French forces targeted the heavy weapons of Ivory Coast's self-declared president, Laurent Gbagbo. The U.N. says it's not taking sides, it's trying to protect civilians by destroying weapons that were turned on the population.

Laurent Gbagbo now seems completely isolated. Months after he ran for reelection as president and lost by 8 percent of the vote, he is now reported to be in a bunker beneath his home, surrounded by forces loyal to the official winner of that vote, Alassane Ouattara.

The Ivory Coast's ambassador to France is a Ouattara supporter. He says Gbagbo is now trying to negotiate his exit.

ALLY COULIBALY, IVORY COAST'S AMBASSADOR TO FRANCE (through translator): Negotiations are underway right now o find a way out to this long crisis, which has lasted four months.

BLACK: A London-based Gbagbo adviser says that's not true.

ABDON GEORGE BAYETO, GBAGBO'S ADVISER: It's not negotiating, it's discussing. You know, we went into a dialogue to know exactly who are we fighting, to know if we're fighting France and the United Nations, what's at the -- you know, what -- what's the reproach (ph)?

BLACK: Gbagbo is from the south of the country. It's a relatively wealthy region because of the large cocoa industry. Ouattara is from the north, where people are poor, they're nomadic and ethnically diverse. Analysts say that national divide is a key factor behind the conflict. But so, too, is the longstanding personal rivalry of the two main characters.

DR. PHIL CLARK, SCHOOL OF ORIENTAL AND AFRICAN STUDIES: This is largely a play by a very proud, in many ways, egotistical and stubborn man who refuses to relinquish power to -- to his opponent, whom he detests so desperately.

BLACK: In the face of international military action and an advancing rebel force, Laurent Gbagbo stands defiant.

But for how long?

Phil Black, CNN, London.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, for how long is the question this hour. Developments moving fast today. The U.N. special representative spoke with us here on CNN earlier.

He described a calm scene after days of violence in Abidjan.

This is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

YOUNG-JIN CHOI, U.N. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE: It's almost as tough in Abidjan as all the generals, the hard-liners around Mr. Gbagbo have surrendered. So there is no more organized battle. We hear only sporadic gun fights, but -- gunshots, what this -- by the uncontrolled element. So we can say the combat is over.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: All right. Well, Ivory Coast has not always been engulfed by political turmoil. In fact, it was once seen as the model of stability in a troubled region. It's the world's largest producer and explorer of cocoa beans and a significant producer of coffee and palm oil. Well, as a result, it's people enjoyed a higher standard of living than those in neighboring countries.

But a civil war in 2002 divided the nation and the economy has suffered severely. Foreign investment declined and per capita income plummeted by 15 percent in the past decade.

Well, the elections in November were meant to repair the damage. But as you know, the country has been locked in political stalemate ever since.

Well, the international community, of course, watching the situation in Ivory Coast very closely.

CNN's Richard Roth joining us now live from the United Nations with the latest from there -- Richard.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR UNITED NATIONS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they're watching very closely as Laurent Gbagbo appears resistant to sign any document that would officially recognize his opponent in the presidential election as the, indeed, victor and an ex-president.

I asked the current ambassador from Ivory Coast here at the U.N., a Ouattara supporter, what should happen to Mr. Gbagbo?

Should he be sent to another country?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

YOUSSOUFOU BAMBA, IVORY COAST AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: He has a place to go to trial, because he has committed so much crimes. Because of him, because of his obsessed will to cling to power and contempt of the -- the majority of the people who has elected Mr. Ouattara. And crimes have been committed, peaceful demonstrators have been shot, virtually. And he has used heavy weapons against the peaceful civilian population. So at present, he has to go to trial. He knows that he has to face trial.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROTH: Last week's Security Council resolution raised the possibility of an International Criminal Court investigation, though nothing definitive. At various times, Becky, in these types of crises, sometimes justice is traded for peace and stability in the short-term, as we've seen in other countries.

The Security Council, no meetings today. A late Monday meeting with the peacekeeping director after that assault helicopter attack on Gbagbo's heavy weapons, which seems to have sparked some diplomatic progress.

ANDERSON: All right. Richard Roth at the UN.

OK, well, the Kenyan prime minister, Raila Odinga, who's been heavily involved in the Ivory Coast situation, originally part of the lead A.U. group mediating efforts to end the crisis.

And I'm delighted to say he joins me now on the phone from Nairobi.

What is your understanding of what is happening on the ground in Ivory Coast this hour?

RAILA ODINGA, KENYAN PRIME MINISTER: Well, I -- I told Mr. Gbagbo when I met him last time that time was running out and that he needed to accept the deal that we were offering him at that time.

Of course, he was very stubborn and refused to -- to accept that. And we wanted particularly that time is what has now come to pass.

I say that, you know, that Gbagbo will only get out to (INAUDIBLE) some legitimate force. It is unfortunate that a number of lives have now been lost as a result of his stubbornness.

ANDERSON: Yes. And we're going to talk about the humanitarian...

ODINGA: (INAUDIBLE).

ANDERSON: -- crisis on the ground shortly, sir.

What is your understanding of any deal that Gbagbo will get at this point?

We have to be clear about this.

Are we looking at an exit deal?

Is he going to leave the country?

What's the deal?

ODINGA: Well, I think that now he just has to do an unconditional surrender. And -- and maybe negotiate a safe exit, which is what, actually, I offered him. And Ouattara had actually agreed at that time that he was willing to either allow him to remain in the country under the (INAUDIBLE) politically or go into exile. And Ouattara had even agreed to form a government of national unity that would include some of his supporters as -- in the cabinet.

ANDERSON: All right.

Would you...

ODINGA: Now he is...

ANDERSON: -- would you at the A.U. support the jettisoning, as it were, of -- of justice in the short-term for peace in Ivory Coast?

What I'm asking you is this, would you support a safe exit for Gbagbo at this point given the humanitarian crisis and the deaths on the ground?

ODINGA: Yes. I would certainly favor a swift exit for Gbagbo at this time if a country is willing to take him as a refugee. However, him having to face trial, I think that maybe, for the sake of unity of the country, that there is a need for some kind of a -- a soft landing for...

ANDERSON: All right...

ODINGA: -- Mr. Gbagbo...

ANDERSON: Where would you suggest...

ODINGA: (INAUDIBLE).

ANDERSON: -- that he would go at this point?

ODINGA: Well, of course, there are friends that he has -- he has been supporting him. I know that he has friends in Angola and in to South Africa. And maybe they -- they could combine the (INAUDIBLE) at this hour of need.

ANDERSON: How concerned are you, Prime Minister, of being a -- about the reports that Ouattara's troops are heavily involved in deaths on the ground at this point, as Gbagbo's have been in the past?

Are you concerned about the possibility of ethnic civil war getting worse in the country?

And if so, what can you do about it at the A.U.?

ODINGA: Yes, I mean of course I fear that maybe the -- Gbagbo is a close supporter (INAUDIBLE) right now and they are likely going to surrender. And my view is that Ouattara, as an absolutely -- he already has offered to reconcile the country by bringing people from Gbagbo's ethnic community in the government. And I think that that is what is going to offer a solution, an inclusive government, rather than excluding any part of the country.

ANDERSON: All right.

Raila Odinga, the Kenyan prime minister, heavily involved in mediation efforts in the Ivory Coast over the last four months with his reaction to the situation on the ground.

Gbagbo is still there, still, we believe, in his bunker in the presidential palace. But it looks as if the country is on the brink of a change in leadership.

Well, the United Nations Refugee Agency now says that more than a million people have fled Ivory Coast as a result of the fighting. That's a big number for a country with a population of only 21 million.

And I want to show you just what's going on, as it were.

Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana -- that is the region. The U.N. estimates 750,000 of the refugees have fled their homes but stayed within Ivory Coast.

But here, Abidjan, this the main city. Fighting between Ouattara and Gbagbo's forces caused more than 3,000 refugees to flee to Ghana. On this side, we've seen deaths, some 800 in this area alone in the past few days. We believe there are some 100,000 refugees who have poured over the border into Liberia, creating a humanitarian crisis for the entire region.

Well, Caroline Gluck is an aide worker for Oxfam in Liberia.

And earlier today, she told us why people in that country have been so sympathetic to their neighbors in Ivory Coast.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CAROLINE GLUCK, OXFAM: Liberia went through its own torment, particularly in these areas, Nimba County and Grand Gedeh County, where some of the areas saw some of the worst fighting during the Liberian civil war. And many of the people living here were actually refugees who sought shelter across the border in Ivory Coast itself.

And I think that's been one reason why they've been so generous in -- in taking in the refugees this time. And many of them told me, you know, we were once victims of war. We once had to go across to the other side and sought help. Now we're repaying that hospitality. You know, we can see people are in need. We don't want to see that suffering and -- and we're willing and -- and able to help them.

These are very poor communities themselves. For the most part, they're just subsistence farmers. And they're running out of food. They've been giving the families food and shelter but now they're running out of food themselves. And -- and that is a growing concern.

The news is moving very quickly inside Ivory Coast, Cote d'Ivoire, at the moment. I think people will hesitate before they go back immediately. They will want to make sure that it is calm, that there aren't reprisals. Many of them fled villages and saw people killed in front of them.

So I think that they're going to wait and see. They're not going to rush back.

But there are many people I spoke to who have been separated from relatives, from loved ones and they want to go back. They want to find out what's happened to my husband, my wife, my children, my relatives. And -- and, you know, they would prefer to go back home. But I don't think there's going to be a sudden rush to go back. I think people are going to be very cautious.

There is a United Nations emergency appeal for Ivory Coast, but it's still grossly underfunded. Only about 30 or 40 percent funded at the moment. Agencies like Oxfam are scaling up its operations. Today, we launched a 10 million pound appeal so that we could do emergency work for the -- in response to the crisis in the Ivory Coast. And we would urge people to help as much as they can.

Yes, there have been many emergencies and disasters and other need hot spots around the world, but this part of Africa is desperately poor and people are desperately in need.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Caroline Gluck there reporting for you from Liberia.

The situation is quite clear there. People are desperate.

Alex Vines is head of the Africa Programme for Chatham House in London.

He's also served on the U.N. panel of experts on Cote d'Ivoire.

Our expert tonight, joining us live in the studio.

And lest we forget why we should care about this story, we've just seen evidence on, of course, the Liberian border of what has become a humanitarian crisis.

What is going on in Ivory Coast is difficult to tell, but we believe, you know, tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people, displaced.

What happens next?

ALEX VINES, HEAD OF THE AFRICA PROGRAMME, CHATHAM HOUSE: Well, what happens next, I would hope that Mr. Gbagbo decides to take a dignified exit strategy out of Cote d'Ivoire.

ANDERSON: Will he?

VINES: I think it's quite likely now that that is his best option. It wouldn't be very easy to guarantee his safety, I think, long-term, in Cote d'Ivoire, if he were to stay.

ANDERSON: We just heard from the prime minister, the Kenyan prime minister, Raila Odinga, who was part of the original mediation efforts, actually, criticized by his peers for -- for taking too harsh a stance at one stage with Gbagbo. He says Angola or South Africa would be the obvious places for his exile.

Do you buy that?

VINES: Certainly, those -- those are two possibilities. Unfortunately, he -- I don't think he would be able to go France, which was the country that he originally came to Cote d'Ivoire, having been many years in France as a university lecturer.

So probably an African destination would be the most likely, I would have thought.

ANDERSON: OK, so no reconciliation government. We're looking, it seems, at the exit of Gbagbo at this point and a presidency run by Ouattara, yes?

VINES: Exactly. Mr. Ouattara -- well, of course, he -- he did win the elections in November and he is recognized internationally and by the African Union. But there will be probably some sort of government of national unity. That is actually what the African Union has recommended, that it -- Mr. Ouattara is the president, but that an inclusive government would fall in underneath him.

ANDERSON: The likes of which, of course, we saw in Kenya, with Raila Odinga...

VINES: Indeed...

ANDERSON: -- as prime minister.

VINES: Indeed.

ANDERSON: How does Ouattara, if, indeed, this is the next stage for the government of -- of unity, as it were, not including Gbagbo, how does he now ensure that what we don't see is retribution from his supporters on the ground, violence against pro-Gbagbo supporters?

We're already hearing reports of that. This is ethnic civil war in the making.

VINES: There is a danger in Cote d'Ivoire. I mean the reports that - - about the massacre up in Duekoue in the west, some 800 people probably killed there, was already an indication of the difficulties and dangers that we will see in the future.

And this dispute at the moment between Mr. Ouattara and Mr. Gbagbo isn't that new. OK, it happened since the elections in -- in November last year. But, in fact, as you earlier in the program highlighted, this is a crisis that goes on for already 10 years and even has roots that are even deeper than that.

ANDERSON: But, Alex, briefly, at this hour tonight, this is change afoot in Ivory Coast?

VINES: This is clearly the end game for Mr. Gbagbo. I think in the next few days, for sure, Mr. Ouattara will be in the presidency in Abidjan. And it's a new beginning for Cote d'Ivoire. It's a very exciting moment. For the first time in 10 years, Cote d'Ivoire could be reunited as a country.

ANDERSON: With that, we're going to thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

VINES: Thank you.

ANDERSON: Your expert on the subject tonight.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN.

Nineteen-and-a-half minutes past the hour.

When we come back, we'll be turning our attention for you to Libya, as pro- and anti-Gadhafi forces continue to clash, is the rebel war effort getting a major financial boost?

And then we'll be looking to China this evening, where one of the country's most renewed artists could be the latest victim of a political crackdown.

You're with CNN.

I'm Becky Anderson in London.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: This is CONNECT THE WORLD.

I'm Becky Anderson in London.

In Japan, there's been a small breakthrough at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. Operators there say that they've managed to reduce the amount of highly radioactive water there's been pouring from a leaking shaft into the Pacific Ocean.

They've been trying to plug this leak by injecting a subsistence dubbed liquid glass. Well, they say this has made some difference, although it hasn't hardened, as expected.

Well, authorities have also apologized for having to intentionally release low level radioactive water into the ocean. About half the total volume has been pumped out so far. That is more than 5,500 tons.

Well, the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, has now offered money to those living within the radiation zone.

Kyung Lah now takes a look at why this payment isn't going down so well, at least in some of the communities.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the radiation contaminated towns around the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant, there are no people -- no plans to return. The residents scattered across Japan in bleak evacuation shelters. TEPCO, the owner of the plant, is beginning its first cash payouts to appease these men. They're the mayors and leaders of the evacuated towns. The payout is hardly being welcomed. : "The amount they offered is not enough," says Nami Ismair Tamot Subaba (ph). "Our people are suffering and unfortunately everything we've built is gone." Subaba adds, "Where is our direct apology, because the cash certainly doesn't amount to much?" (on camera): TEPCO says this initial token is not compensation. They say that will definitely come later. TEPCO, as I said, calling it a, quote, "payment for their trouble."

But the town of Namiai (ph) is calling it a payment of almost nothing. Broken down per citizen, that equals to 1,000 yen per person, or just $12 US.

(voice-over): TEPCO says the plant remains in emergency mode and is still assessing the extent of the damage before paying out any true compensation.

As far as this initial payment, Namiai has turned it down, calling it unrealistic.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

ANDERSON: Kyung Lah reporting for you.

Well, still to come, using human shields and hiding weapons of war in civilian areas -- NATO is accusing the Libyan regime of disturbing tactics in its effort to thwart punishing air strikes.

And a familiar face in China is nowhere to be found. We're going to see whether an acclaimed artist could be the latest victim of a sweeping government crackdown.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Welcome back.

NATO says international air strikes have now destroyed 30 percent of Moammar Gadhafi's military capacity. Yet rebels in Eastern Libya are still on the run. Gadhafi's troops appeared to have the upper hand in fighting around El Brega today. Heavily -- heavy artillery fire forcing rebels into a panicked retreat despite new air strikes in the area that took out several of Gadhafi's military vehicles.

Well, rebels say they desperately need more air support in the east and in the west. NATO says it's doing all it can to protect Libyan civilians, but accuses Gadhafi's forces of using human shields in Misrata and elsewhere to avoid air strikes.

NATO also says the regime is hiding military equipment in civilian areas.

Well, the rebels may be outgunned, under trained and outnumbered, but it does look like their war chest will soon get a massive boost. The opposition is now ready to sell its first shipment of oil on the international market.

Let's bring in Reza Sayah in Benghazi for more -- Reza, what do we know of this?

REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, of course, Libya has a lot of oil. It's Africa's number three oil producer. But that oil has been sitting around over the past several weeks, during this conflict. But ever since this no-fly zone went into effect on March 19th, in this eastern portion of Libya, it started feeling a little bit more protected and secure. The opposition started talking about exporting oil again. And they took that first step today, according to the shipping news daily, "Lloyd's List," the tanker pulled up to the eastern port city of Tubruq today, picked up about a million barrels of oil. "Lloyd's List" says a Libyan oil company that's loyal to the opposition cut a deal with Qatar to sell the Gulf state this oil.

Qatar is one of the first states to recognize Libya's opposition group as the legitimate government of Libya. The last time a tanker came and hauled away oil from Libya was March 18th, Becky.

So it's a significant step. It's a signal by the opposition to the world that they are a viable economic alternative to the Gadhafi regime.

Of course, Colonel Gadhafi and his regime made a lot of oil money with countries in Africa and Southern Europe. The opposition wants to show the world that they can do this, too -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes, you make a very good point. It's important that Qatar did recognize the National Council, the -- the opposition in order that it could go ahead and help them sell its oil on the international market.

You've spoken to a member of the opposition today.

What did he say?

SAYAH: Well, it's been a rough day, Becky, for the opposition and its leadership. They were pounded again outside of Brega, pushed back westward, toward Ajdabiya. This is why the call for more weapons from outside states is growing.

We spoke to the number two man in the hierarchy of the opposition, Abdel Hafez Younis (ph), about the issue of weapons, whether it's coming or not.

Here's what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAYAH: Which country is providing you with weapons and training right now?

ABDUL HAFIZ GHOGA, LIBYAN OPPOSITION SPOKESMAN (through translator): We are in communication with our brothers in Qatar and also with our brothers in the Egyptian republic and with our friends in Italy and France.

SAYAH: Are you saying the weapons have arrived or are they on their way?

GHOGA: We can say that, God willing, the weapons are on their way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAYAH: So God willing, the weapons on their way, according to this opposition leader. But you get the sense that the pressure is growing on this opposition. And for the first time, we're hearing the opposition's leadership sharply criticize Turkey. A couple of these opposition leaders blaming Turkey for what they're calling a decrease in these air strikes, Becky.

Of course, Turkey a member of NATO that was never on board, initially, with these air strikes. And these opposition leaders criticizing Turkey for what they call a drop in these air strikes that are critical for the opposition's progress.

ANDERSON: Reza Sayah on this story out of Benghazi today.

Reza, we thank you for that.

Important admissions there from the opposition that, in fact, they are awaiting arms from Qatar and, indeed, from Egypt, something that we haven't heard, actually, admitted on air, as it were, until this point. And the West, of course, also talking about arming the opposition at this -- on this -- at this point in the crisis.

All right. Disappearances, detentions, dissidents. When we come back, we look into the arrest of China's international renowned Ai Weiwei. Where has he gone, and why? We'll talk to a human rights group about his case right after this. That and your headlines, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. I'm Becky Anderson in London for you. Coming up this hour, human rights campaigners call it the worst crackdown on political dissent in China in a decade. We're going to see who has become the latest target -- or potentially has become the latest target, at least.

Also ahead, an innovative approach to feeding the poor also helps cut down on trash. We're going to meet a slum cook in Africa's biggest shantytown in a special series of reports this week for you.

And later, it seems the stuff of fairy tales, but do you know what's really expected in royalty? Well, you may be surprised to hear they have to give up some freedoms that many of us take for granted.

Those stories are ahead in the next 30 minutes. First, as ever, let's get you a quick check of the headlines here on CNN.

A four-month political stalemate in Ivory Coast may be coming to an end as self-declared president Laurent Gbagbo negotiates the term of his surrender. His foreign minister says his forces have laid down their arms after days of heavy fighting. Alassane Ouattara won the presidential election there in November.

Rebels in eastern Libya on the run. Heavy artillery fire by Moammar Gadhafi's troops forced rebels to retreat from Al Brega on Tuesday. The opposition now calling for more air support from NATO.

Several people are reported dead in new clashes in Yemen. Officials tell CNN the US is trying to mediate an exit for President Ali Abdullah Saleh. A spokesman at the Pentagon said a negotiated transition is needed as quickly as possible.

US officials are ordering emergency inspections of older Boeing 737s to see if any developing cracks in the fuselage are evident. They're looking at planes similar to the Southwest Airlines jet that suffered a large tear in its body on Friday.

And it's the last minute of extra time -- regular time in the quarter- finals underway in Champions League football, at least in the first leg, that is. Real Madrid leading Tottenham four-nil. Emmanuel Adebayor has scored twice. Tottenham's Peter Crouch was sent off early in the match. Elsewhere, Chelsea leads Inter Milan five-two in the second half.

Those are your headlines this hour.

Where is Ai Weiwei? The brilliant artist and political activist was last seen at Beijing Airport three days ago, where he was detained by security officials. His family and friends have been told nothing of his arrest, and human rights groups now fear that he is part of a growing high- profile crackdown on dissent in China. Eunice Yoon explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

EUNICE YOON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ai Weiwei. His face is well-known in the art world. A Chinese contemporary artist who's used his international status to speak for those, here, who he says can't.

AI WEIWEI, ARTIST: We have to speak out, because this is a nation lacking of freedom of speech and lacking of self-expression just because it's not our choice, it's the necessity of our life.

YOON (voice-over): Many believe his standing as one of the designers of the Olympic Stadium and son of a respected poet has often protected Ai, despite his harsh criticism of China's Communist regime.

But over the weekend, he was taken into custody. Human rights campaigners say he's the latest and highest-profile target of a broad crackdown on political dissent in China, the worst they've seen in over a decade.

NICHOLAS BEQUELIN, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: This arrest really sends a signal across China that even if you're a very internationally well-known artist, the police can arrest you at any point.

YOON (voice-over): Over the past several weeks, at least 25 dissidents, activists, bloggers, and lawyers have been detained or gone missing, according to human rights groups. Some have been charged with inciting subversion of state power, including blogger Ran Yunfei, after writing a series of articles calling on Chinese citizens to hold a Jasmine revolution similar to the one in the Middle East.

Rights groups say hundreds more are under house arrest in the wake of the calls for protests.

BEQUELIN: Chinese citizens don't necessarily want revolution, they don't necessarily want the political turmoil that accompany a political transition. They don't necessarily want direct democracy tomorrow. But they really want the state to respect this.

YOON (voice-over): According to tweets from Ai and his assistant, Ai Weiwei was escorted by police at the Beijing airport on his way to Hong Kong. Eight of his staff from his studio, here, had been called in for questioning.

(YOON SPEAKING CHINESE)

YOON (voice-over): They've since been released.

YOON (on camera): Well, looks as though some of Ai Weiwei's staff are actually there, but they don't really want to talk about his situation. They said that he's not there currently, and they don't know where he is.

YOON (voice-over): The police would not comment on Ai's whereabouts, despite repeated requests. The government, though, maintains it protects its citizens' rights, including freedom of expression according to Chinese law. Eunice Yoon, CNN, Beijing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: All right, a quick look at some of China's most famous jailed dissidents. And perhaps the best-known political prisoner is Liu Xiaobo. The literary critic was the winner of last year's Nobel Peace Prize, you'll remember, awarded during his fourth prison term. His charges include inciting subversion of state power.

Well, Chen Guangcheng has had several run-ins with authorities. The blind civil rights activist released from prison in September, but still remains under house arrest.

And the United Nations human rights agency has demanded the release of Gao Zhishenug. The prominent human rights long disappeared again in April 2010 and has not been heard from since.

I want to bring in Brad Adams, tonight. He was your Connector of the Day. He's the Asia director of Human Rights Watch, and joining me here in the studio. Firstly, Ai Weiwei, what do you know at this point?

BRAD ADAMS, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Well, he has essentially disappeared. We have no news about him. The amount of time that he's now been in custody suggests that this is serious. He hasn't just been picked up to be released, to be threatened, to be told to knock it off.

He was intercepted trying to leave the country, so they obviously had a plan and the Chinese criminal law allows him to be held for only three days, but there's exceptions for seven, and another exception for 30. I'm guessing we won't see him for 30.

ANDERSON: That's not the first time he's been detained, of course. Do you fear for him at this point?

ADAMS: Yes, very much so. It used to be that people would be arrested in China and we would all know what happened, and they were sending a message. But they started to disappear people. This is a new thing in China. And he could be disappeared.

ANDERSON: A question from one of our viewers as our Connector of the Day, today. Fazil from the UAE wonders why China is threatened by freedom of expression. You heard Eunice alluding to this sort of post-Jasmine revolution fears by Chinese authorities. What's an answer to that question?

ADAMS: Well, nobody really knows. There's the revolving door syndrome in China, where people are picked up and let out, and a certain number of dissidents are in jail at any given time, and a certain number are let out.

This seems more serious. This seems to be a wholesale attempt to decapitate the dissident movement. The -- not only the dissidents, but the lawyers for the dissidents and the family members of dissidents are being arrested, disappeared, put under house arrest.

ANDERSON: Brad, the international community makes all the right noises, but we continue to do business with China. A bit hypocritical, isn't it?

ADAMS: Well, I don't think the international community does make all the right noises. They mostly do business. They mostly do Boeing and Airbus diplomacy and, at the end of that discussion, when they sell their planes and they do their other business deals, they might raise human rights. And only recently, because of the Nobel Peace Prize, did human rights become a prominent part of the discussion again.

ANDERSON: Keira in New York asks a question, she's written to us on Facebook. She says, "I want to know what it would take for the Chinese to join the 21st century when it comes to human rights?" She says, "In so many ways, they're so advanced, and yet," Keira says, "in others, they're simply not."

ADAMS: Well, there's -- there's A and a B China. The A China is the one we all see, the economy's growing, it's the second-biggest economy in the world, in 20 years it may be the biggest, brand-new buildings going up all over the country.

And B China is the hundreds and millions of very poor Chinese who are out there demonstrating. The Chinese government's own statistics say there were 100,000 public protests last year.

ANDERSON: You've probably forgotten more about China than most of us will ever know. My sense is that you are pessimistic, tonight, rather than optimistic about its future. Am I correct?

ADAMS: Yes. Pessimistic and fearful, because disappearances are things that the Chinese state hasn't done since the cultural revolution, really. They try to pretend that there's legality, but we have people absolutely disappearing where nobody knows where they are. And if you're a family member, there's nothing more frightening having somebody disappear.

ANDERSON: Why know? Why the fears now?

ADAMS: Well, this is the question. They must be deeply insecure. It looks like A China is doing really well. The GDP is growing. But B China is bubbling under the surface.

Just to give you an example of how nervous they are, there is no progress towards any kind of elections in China. There was supposed to be a grassroots movement, were going to have village elections, and they were going to build up through the provinces.

And when you say that the West talks about human rights with China? It's the only country I can think of where no one says, "Why aren't you having an election?" In other countries, when the elections go badly, there's sanctions. In China, there are no elections, no one talks about who's running the country. What is legitimacy of the leadership?

ANDERSON: What does the international community need to do next. We've made an awful lot of noise about the fact that the Nobel Prize recipient wasn't available live in Oslo in Norway. He, of course, is in prison. But that was sort of it, wasn't it? We made a lot of noise, and then we moved on.

ADAMS: Yes, we've moved on to crisis in the Middle East. And also because it's intractable. And you hear a lot of real politic from people who think they understand China who say, "Well, the more you complain, the worse it's going to get in China."

Well, in fact, the Chinese have figured out the West isn't really serious, the rest of the world isn't serious. They're going to keep buying their goods. China is the factory of the world. They buy a lot of T-bills from the United States. And so, they think they have the world over a barrel.

I think it's wrong. I think they're deeply insecure, and I think that if the rest of the world was direct with them, blunt, regular public statements, talked about the need for elections, talked about the need for legitimacy, talked about supporting civil society, and really raised this to the highest level --

Where is Obama, for example? Has he said anything about the recent crackdown? No.

ANDERSON: Your Connector of the Day is Brad Adams. We thank you for joining us.

ADAMS: Thank you.

ANDERSON: Turning rubbish into a resource. In Nairobi, a new project is helping the residents of one of Africa's biggest slums, if not the biggest. A community cooker that runs on trash. We'll find out more as our Urban Planet week continues, a special series of reports, this week, this hour, here on CONNECT THE WORLD. Stay with us.

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ANDERSON: I don't need to tell you that cities around the world are bursting at the seams, and not slimming down anytime soon. The United Nations says that by 2050, two thirds of us will live in urban areas.

We kicked off our Urban Planet week this week in Rio de Janeiro on Monday with a look at how the city there is looking after its elderly population, once -- One center dubbed "granny daycare" is giving residents their zest for life back.

Well, from Brazil, tonight, to Africa's biggest slum. In Kibera in Nairobi, a new project is not only helping local residents cook, it's also cleaning up the streets. Isha Sesay reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bottles, plastic bags, mountains of trash. This is Kibera, one of Africa's largest slums. The government doesn't provide garbage collection here, and trash is everywhere. But in the middle of it all is a plan to turn the rubbish into a resource.

EBBY ANG'AWA, COMMUNITY COOKER USER: I'm cooking Kienyeji. There's potatoes here and there's rice there.

SESAY (voice-over): This is the community cooker.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The community bring in rubbish in exchange for cooking. And also, for those who cannot afford the rubbish for an exchange of cooking, they can as well as come and pay the very affordable amount of money for them to use the cooker to cook.

ANG'AWA: It costs, like, five shillings. Five shillings, five shillings, five shillings, which is 15 shillings that I pay to cook here. And then, when I go out to sell, I think I'll get some property.

SESAY (voice-over): Community Cooker is the name of the project and the machine located in the community of Laini Saba. Community members deliver trash to an incinerator that burns hot enough to destroy toxins, heating stovetops for cooking, and water for bathing in the process.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have two youths, here, who are responsible for sorting down here. Once they have sorted the plastics and the bottles each aside, they now put it in this drying rack, then it is pushed through this chimney, here, and then, the cook operator pushes the rubbish inside this firebox.

MBITHE MWANGANGI, BUSINESSWOMAN (through translator): With this cooker, I don't use paraffin or charcoal, and right now, charcoal is expensive. I used to use about three containers of charcoal at 20 shillings per container, and that is a lot of money. This cooker has made it easy, because I only pay 20 shillings for all my cooking. I don't spend as much as when I was using charcoal.

SESAY (voice-over): Laini Saba is the community cooker's testing ground and, so far, the project's manager says he's seen less trash on the streets. But old habits are hard to break.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are those ones, we ignore. The community has to be given more information on the dangers and the consequences of unnecessary dumping of waste everywhere.

SESAY (voice-over): Still, the community cooker has given some residence hope that goes beyond cleaner streets.

ANG'AWA: Some of our youth may come in, I find that after cooking I'd go and sell and that is a job opportunity to me, and yes, it does help people. It's something that, I believe, in the next ten to five years, it will bring a change.

SESAY (voice-over): A change, and maybe an example for others to follow. Isha Sesay, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, we all need water to survive, but it is increasingly scarce and an urgent problem in crowded urban areas. Tune in tomorrow when we head to Singapore for how the city there is turning waste water into fresh drinking water. That is Wednesday, right here on CONNECT THE WORLD as our Urban Planet week continues.

Tonight, though, when we return, royal gains or royal pains? We take a look behind the crowns and scepters to find out more about life as part of Britain's royal family. Do stay with us.

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ANDERSON: Well, ladies, you may have wondered what it would be like to be Kate Middleton, getting the clothes, the cash, the castles and, not to mention, the prince. But did you ever stop to think about what you would give up in return? Well, our Max Foster takes a closer look at the not-so-easy life of a British royal.

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MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There's a reason why senior royals tend to end up in the military. They can't then be accused of cashing in on their positions like they would if they worked for a private company.

In the past, Kate has worked as a buyer for a fashion chain, and then for her parents' party-planning business. But as a princess, she'll effectively be limited to charity work.

The right to choose a career is one of the freedoms Kate's giving up. Another is her right to travel, unable to go abroad without government consent.

William has grown up with these restrictions and more. He didn't have the automatic right to marry who he wanted. He needed the approval of the queen and the government and, thankfully, Kate isn't a Catholic. By law, he can't marry a Roman Catholic and become king.

The British monarch is also supreme leader of the Church of England, so William's religious path was set even before he was born. Both William and Kate have also given up their right to privacy.

ROBERT HAZELL, BRITISH CONSTITUTIONAL EXPERT: In effect, young royals -- and Prince William knows this -- are public property, so far as the press are concerned. And the tabloid press in Britain are particularly inquisitive, and --

FOSTER (on camera): But that's the same for any celebrity, isn't it?

HAZELL: But celebrities -- other celebrities have chosen to become a celebrity. Prince William didn't choose this. He was born into it. It's his fate.

FOSTER: But he can reject it.

HAZELL: He could reject it, but he would then have to drop out of the line of succession and become a private person.

FOSTER (voice-over): Royals have been forced to choose between love and duty before. In the 1950s, the queen's sister, Princess Margaret, wanted to marry Captain Peter Townsend. The government wouldn't give its approval because he was divorced. So, Margaret, in order to keep her position, declined his proposal. Max Foster, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: So, privacy versus privilege. We're looking tonight at the public's right to a bit of royal intrusion. With me, here, is Mark Saunders, a former paparazzi photographer and royal correspondent, and John Kelly, a partner at Schillings, a London law firm specializing in defamation, privacy and, I'm told, reputation management.

Listen, Prince William may not have chosen this position, but Kate certainly has. So, she becomes, I assume, public property at this point, doesn't she?

JOHN KELLY, PRIVACY LAWYER, SCHILLINGS: Well, she doesn't, Becky. She doesn't necessarily become public property, because she's entitled to a private life just as you and I are. That's by virtue of the Human Rights Act and by virtue of Article Eight of the European Convention on Human Rights.

ANDERSON: So, lay off, Mark, is what John is saying?

MARK SAUNDERS, AUTHOR, "DIANA AND THE PAPARAZZI": Well, we can talk legislation as much as you won't, but it's not going to happen. I'm -- Catherine is marrying into the most famous family in the world. She's marrying the future king of England.

Now, the public are going to be interested in what she does, and it's fairly obvious, the Buckingham Palace press office aren't going to tell us anything unless they specifically want us to know about it.

So, to find out Fleet Street are going to find out. They're going to find the story, and whether they're invading Catherine's privacy or not, well, only time will tell on that.

ANDERSON: John?

KELLY: It's very interesting that Mark says the public are interested in it. That is not the test as to whether something can be published by a newspaper. And I think, the difference we have with Kate her is that Kate has taken some very real steps to protect her privacy from day one.

There's probably a shock that most people can remember of Kate being photographed on her 25th birthday, it's quite a shocking photograph, where there's lots of paparazzi photographers and flashbulbs going off. And she stopped that. She made it clear, lay off. And the media have backed off since then.

ANDERSON: Let's be serious about this, because that picture reminded me of the days of yore on Princess Di, of course. Things surely have changed since then, Mark, haven't they?

SAUNDERS: Things have changed dramatically since then. First of all, Fleet Street is no longer into pursuing in the way they did Princess Diana. But let's know this, Princess Diana was an extraordinary set of circumstances that are never going to happen again.

If Catherine Middleton goes off and has an affair of a guard's officer, or an Islamic art dealer, or a used car salesman, then surely the public have a right to know, and the only way they're going to know is if the paparazzi get a picture.

The question now is going to be, do the paparazzi -- are they -- will they be allowed to pursue her? Now, I don't think we have a paparazzi like we did 15 years ago. The Pentax paparazzi that hang around outside the nightclubs, they simply wouldn't have the finances to do what was done 15 years ago.

ANDERSON: If you were representing Kate from now on in, John, what would you be watching out for? What would your advice to her be? What would the story be behind Kate Middleton?

KELLY: Well, I think it would very much be a case of continuing down the path that she's already gone down, which is to lay a marker very clearly that she is not going to have her private life intruded upon.

Now, it's been very helpful the fact that Kate has sent that note around to the media and has said "lay off." Prince William also gets this. He understand privacy law, and there's actually a precedent for this.

The Princess Caroline of Monaco case makes it very clear that when what you're doing in your public duty is very much reportable. But what you're doing in your private life, going about your day-to-day activities, that is private. The law is very clear on that point.

ANDERSON: We've been talking about the fact that things have changed since the mid-90s, and it's 1997, of course, was the day that we're considering of Princess Di's death. What do the paparazzi -- and like you say, we don't have the sort of paparazzi, perhaps, that we had back then -- but what do the press believe is open, as it were?

What are they -- when we talk about "gloves off" for the press, at this point -- and we do know Prince William, people are much more sympathetic to Prince William and his privacy than the press has ever been, I think, before to any other member of the royal family.

SAUNDERS: Well, let's not forget, back in 97, the paparazzi, as we call them, they were made up of the press agencies of Europe and England. They were professional press photographers, probably the finest in the country.

Now, today, they're not. They're are very few press cards held by the paparazzi. So, how far the paparazzi will go really is how far the public will allow them to go.

We have to remember, it comes down to the public buying the newspapers, buying the magazines, to see the pictures. The Fleet Street editors have made it clear, they don't want any pursuit of Catherine, but we are going to see an explosion of celebrity involving Catherine.

ANDERSON: There are times when the royal family, frankly, don't do themselves any favors. If you start falling out of nightclubs going forward, the press are going to be on you.

KELLY: Yes, well we haven't seen any examples of that in relation to Kate and William. We're talking about a very specific issue where they're being very respectful in how they -- how they portray themselves. They don't want to be out there having their private live pored over. They've laid a marker down very clearly in relation to that.

And as for the suggestion that we had the finest paparazzi the world had ever seen in 1997, I think that's appalling. The reason the paparazzi have laid off now is because we now have privacy laws which can be used to protect people's privacy, including members of the royal family.

And it's very sad that, unfortunately, if we had those privacy laws when Diana was here, I think we may well have seen them being used to prevent the sort of intrusive reporting that was happening at that time.

ANDERSON: John, Mark, we've got to wrap it up and get some money in for the show. There's an advertising break coming up, and then the world news headlines, though we thank you both very much, indeed --

KELLY: Thank you.

SAUNDERS: Thank you.

ANDERSON: -- for joining us tonight. Go to cnn.com/royalwedding for complete coverage and, of course, the latest videos, like this day-in-the- life report looking at what it's like to be Kate Middleton. There are also links on Facebook and on Twitter that can help you follow our coverage, which will be extensive in the months to come.

I'm Becky Anderson, that is your world connected. Thank you for watching. As I said, the world headlines, and then "BackStory" will follow this short break. Don't go away.

END