Taiwan has its own, democratically elected government, but China claims it as a breakaway province. In January this year, China warned that attempts by Taiwan to pursue independence would “mean war”.
On Tuesday (25 May), Cena apologised on the Chinese social media platform Weibo. According to Bloomberg, the former wrestler told viewers: “I made a mistake. I must say now that, very very very importantly, I love and respect China and Chinese people.”
However, his comments attracted criticism on Twitter, where one person wrote: “You were right the first time. Taiwan is a country. No need to apologise.”
“#Taiwan is a country. An island I've visited 6x. #Taiwan is a country. My best friend’s parents come from there. #Taiwan is a country. It has a language of its own. #Taiwan is a country. They have democracy & free elections,” someone else tweeted.
“John Cena apologising to China for calling Taiwan a country is not the heel turn I had hoped for,” another person shared.
Academic Lev Nachman pointed out that Barbra Streisand has referred to Taiwan as a country in the past, tweeting: “Barbara Streisand not backing down after tweeting in support of Taiwan while John Cena sheepishly apologises for suggesting Taiwan exists is proof Barbara is the stronger fighter.”
China became the largest film market last year, overtaking the US, Bloomberg reported in February this year. That market is expected to become even more decisive as film studios attempt to restore box office earnings after industry shutdowns prompted by the pandemic.
F9, also known as Fast & Furious 9, is scheduled for release on 24 June 2021 in the UK, and 25 June 2021 in the US.