Hollywood movie Fast and Furious 9 actor John Cena had faced a backlash from his fans in China after he called Taiwan an independent nation.
The wrestling superstar and actor made this remark while promoting the latest franchise of high-octane flick Fast and Furious.
In an interview with the Taiwanese television channel, TVBS, Cena remarked Taiwan would be the first “country” to see the latest Fast and Furious.
While Taiwan asserts its independent status, China regards the island nation as one of its provinces.
After the backlash on social media, Cena issued an apology on his Weibo account, China’s popular microblogging site. He expressed his love and respect for China and the Chinese people.
But it seems that the apology was not enough for his fuming Chinese fans who instead asked Cena to use Mandarin to say Taiwan is a part of China.
Fast & Furious 9 earned $162 million last weekend, of which a massive $135 million came from China, according to state-owned Global Times.
Celebrities Who Faced Chinese Backlash
John Cena is not the only celebrity to have offended China or Chinese fans.
In March 2018, Beijing had stopped the screening of the Taiwanese movie Missing Johnny on mainland China following reports of the lead actor’s links to a party that supports independence for the island.
In September 2020, two Japanese Youtube hosts, Kiryu Coco and Akai Haato, were suspended from live streaming for three weeks by Japanese startup Hololive.
The duo compiled a list of countries with their largest number of subscribers, which mentioned Taiwan along with its national flag. Chinese fans of the Japanese duo were quick to react. Soon their page on Bilibili, the Chinese streaming platform, was flooded with angry comments by the Chinese fans.
A few months later, a South Korean show received similar flak from Chinese netizens. In December 2020, Chinese fans insisted on boycotting the South Korean show – Running Man. In one of the episodes, members of the drama were shown playing the board game ‘Blue Marble’.
Somewhat similar to ‘Monopoly’, this game allows its players to invest in real estate throughout the world. The show depicted the actors playing the game with the flags of both China and Taiwan placed side by side.
The South Korean production Company Urban Works Media and distributor network SBS were accused by the Chinese fans of insulting their nation.
In 1993, Hollywood superstar Richard Gere’s problems with China started when he used the Oscars ceremony to lament China’s occupation of Tibet as a “horrendous, horrendous human rights situation”.
Gere is therefore in Hollywood’s version of purgatory and now serves as a warning to other actors about keeping mum on all Ts of China – Tibet, Taiwan and Tiananmen.
Chinese Envoy’s Gaffe
Earlier this month, The EurAsian Times reported how China’s envoy to Sweden Gui Congyou, in an interview in April, had unwittingly admitted to Taiwan not being a part of China.
Gui was making a critical remark on Swedish journalist Jojje Olsson for his coverage of Xinjiang, during which he made the gaffe.
The Chinese embassy has accused Olsson of colluding with Taiwan, and claimed that despite being a “China expert” he “had not been to China for more than five years”.
The point of contention was that Olsson had been in Taiwan in the last five years and by claiming that Olsson had not been to China, the embassy indirectly stated that Taiwan is not part of China.
Apparently, the same comments were repeated by Gui in an interview with the Swedish talk show “30 minuter” (30 minutes), hosted by Anders Holmberg. Gui tried to correct his error by subsequently stating Taiwan is a part of China.