In an interview with a Taiwanese TV channel to promote the latest installment in the "Fast & Furious" movie franchise, WWE star and actor John Cena said Taiwan would be “the first country” to see the film.
This drew major criticism from mainland China, which claims the island as its territory. That criticism prompted Cena to apologize in a video posted to China’s Weibo social network.
Speaking in Mandarin, Cena did not specify what he was apologizing for, but assured his audience he had made a “mistake.”
Then, on May 25, the Chinese Communist Party newspaper Global Times published an article headlined: “Fast & Furious 9 star John Cena apologizes on Weibo after calling Taiwan island a ‘country’.”
The article stated: “U.S. actor and WWE star John Cena on Tuesday apologized on Chinese social media after having falsely indicated that the island of Taiwan is a country in a promotional video for his latest film Fast & Furious 9 to the island's audience.”
The Global Times used Cena’s own words, calling the gaffe a “mistake,” but added that some Chinese internet users believed he was “guided by misinformation.”
The Global Times piece omits context and is misleading.