In the meantime, Chinese state media has lashed out at Fauci, saying he has joined an “opinion war against China.”
The attack on Fauci is an about-face from the positive portrayal of him in earlier coverage. Last year, as Fauci repeatedly spoke out against the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic, Chinese state media published glowing reports praising the scientist for his professionalism and courage to speak the truth.
Fauci has since attempted to clarify his remarks. On Tuesday, he told CBS News correspondent Weijia Jiang that his opinion about the origins of Covid-19 have not changed and still believes that its origin in nature is “highly likely.”
Whether that will redeem his image in China, however, remains unclear.
- Authorities in India raided the offices of Twitter, which is under pressure to censor anti-government content.
- Myanmar’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi was seen for the first time in public since February’s military coup.
- Two-time Olympic medalist Sushil Kumar was arrested in connection with the murder of a fellow Indian wrestler.
- Meanwhile in Hong Kong, artists are trying to walk a delicate line under the city’s new national security law.
Business of China
The “F9” star has professed his love for the world’s largest movie market after he called Taiwan a “country” during an interview with a Taiwanese broadcaster. Cena was promoting the ninth installment of the popular “Fast & Furious” franchise.
“Taiwan is the first country that can watch F9,” Cena told the broadcaster in Mandarin. Taiwan is a self-governed democratic island, but China claims it as its sovereign territory despite the two sides being ruled separately since the end of a civil war over 70 years ago. Beijing has been increasingly trying to use its economic power to police speech on the topic around the world.
Cena on Tuesday apologized on Weibo, China’s popular Twitter-like social media platform. Speaking again in Mandarin, he didn’t refer to Taiwan by name or discuss the incident in detail, but he did say that he “did a lot of interviews” and “made a mistake.”
“I must say now, [it’s] very, very, very, very important [that] I love, and respect even more, China and the Chinese people,” Cena said.
The episode is a sign of how mindful business in general — and Hollywood, in particular — has become about political sensitivities in China. The “Fast & Furious” franchise has traditionally been well-received by Chinese audiences, and “F9” took in nearly $136 million in the country over the weekend.
— By Jill Disis
Then on Tuesday, two tigers escaped their enclosure after killing a keeper, surnamed Jia, at a park in central China’s Henan province, and were shot dead, according to state media.
The animals mauled Jia while he was feeding them at Danjiang Peacock Valley, a small tourist attraction in Xichuan County, to the west of Nanyang City. Jia was hospitalized and later died of his injuries.