Tucker Carlson wasn’t buying the apology John Cena made earlier this week to China after he referred to Taiwan as a distinct country.
Tucker first explained on Wednesday’s episode of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Fox News that Cena was called out for saying that Taiwan was one of the “first countries” that could watch his new film “F9,” and added, “as punishment John Cena was instructed to go on Weibo and grovel in Chinese for forgiveness. it’s disgusting.”
In the video, Cena doesn’t exactly apologize for a specific thing but says in nearly fluent Mandarin, “I’m sorry for my mistake. I must say now, [it’s] very, very, very, very important [that] I love, and respect even more, China and the Chinese people.”
Tucker said the video “was effectively a hostage tape” and added that, “He can never mention Taiwan again.”
Tucker also suggested that Cena is part of a larger left-leaning swath of society that Tucker believes cowtows to China because the country helps them get rich. “If you want to make money in China, you have to follow their rules,” he said.
Tucker also noted that most of the responses to Cena’s video both in China and the U.S. have been negative.
China and Taiwan have been mired in a tense face off since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949, when communist forces under Mao Zedong secured control over the mainland and nationalists relocated to the island. Officially known as the Republic of China, as opposed to the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan has its own president and considers itself an independent nation. Taiwan also considers itself the legitimate government of the territory historically considered Chinese, though it largely stopped making that claim after democratic reforms in the 1990s. China meanwhile considers Taiwan a province in rebellion that will eventually be quashed.
Taiwan held China’s seat in the United Nations until 1971, when the body voted to recognize the Bejing government as the legitimate face of China instead, To this day Bejing refuses to have diplomatic relations with any country that recognizes Taiwanese sovereignty.
The U.S. does not officially recognize Taiwan, but it has long been an unofficial ally and generally, tacitly supports its independence, most recently in January when the Biden administration reiterated support for the current status quo, in which Taiwan is a de facto independent country even if officially it is unrecognized. Beijing claims there is only “one China” and that includes Taiwan, and says that any further move toward actual independence will be considered an act of war.
And complicating all of this is the extent to which China has become an economic powerhouse since the 1990s and uses its financial influence to often force humiliating public shows of fealty from foreign businesses, like the NBA. Which brings us to Cena’s apology, a move obviously intended to head off Beijing from forbidding his or his studios’ movies from being shown in China.
Of course, Tucker’s opposition to authoritarian regimes isn’t applied equally, it seems. For one thing, he has a history of being an outspoken advocate for Russia and its president Vladimir Putin.
Last December, Tucker said on his show that “Putin, for all his faults, does not hate America as much as many of these people do,” referring to liberal Americans. Tucker also offered his take on the conflict between Russia and the Ukraine: “Why do I care what’s going on in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia?” he asked during a panel discussion. “And I’m serious—like, why do I care? And why shouldn’t I root for Russia? Which I am.”
As a sort of fun aside — John Cena has actually known how to speak Mandarin for a few years now, as any lurking superfans who’ve seen his 2018 video review of Lao Gan Ma chili sauce will recall.