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Top Japanese Newspaper Calls for Olympic Games to Be Canceled; U.S. Pledges to Reopen Jerusalem Consulate and Aid to Rebuild Gaza; Experts Call for More Investigation into COVID-19 Origins; Former Boris Johnson Adviser to Face Parliamentary Probe; Tropical Cyclone Yaas Makes Landfall in India; Gaza Residents Face Bleak Future; John Cena Apologizes for Calling Taiwan a Country. Aired 2-2:45a ET
Aired May 26, 2021 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM and I'm Rosemary Church. Good to have you with us.
Already devastated by COVID-19, India faces another threat from a tropical cyclone.
One of the most powerful calls yet for the Olympics to be canceled comes from a top Japanese newspaper.
CHURCH: One of the official partners of the Tokyo Olympics is now calling for the games to be canceled due to the pandemic. In an editorial published a short time ago, the paper called for prime minister Yoshihide Suga to calmly assess the situation and to decide whether to cancel the event.
The paper also accused the prime minister of putting on the games against the will of the public. It's another major blow for organizers who've been under intense pressure for weeks to cancel the games. Selina Wang joins us now from Tokyo.
The games are set to open in less than 2 months from now. Good to see you. Let's talk about the possible impact this call from "The Asahi Shimbun" newspaper to cancel the games may have on the executive board meeting that actually starts next hour.
SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Rosemary. Good to be with you.
Despite the cascading opposition we are seeing against the games, despite that, the IOC, organizers, they continue to repeat again and again that they believe these games can be held safely.
I'm expecting that this executive board meeting after the call from the major newspaper, they are still going to say they are absolutely confident they can pull this off.
The real question with the results and the impact of "The Asahi Shimbun" editorial is, does this lead to a cascading effect of other major sponsors and newspapers coming out, also calling for a cancellation?
I spoke to a political scientist that studies the Olympics and he says this is a remarkable act from this newspaper. And it structures the permission, breaking the corporate code of silence, allowing companies to follow in its footsteps.
In this editorial, the newspaper writes, quote, "We don't think it makes sense to hold the Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo this summer. The destruction opposition against a ruling government, the top tier government and Olympic officials are widespread as they have been trying to address peoples doubts and concerns.
"We ask Suga to calmly and objectively assess the situation and decide whether to cancel this event this summer."
This is one of the most prestigious newspapers in Japan. It's known as being a left-leaning publication that frequently criticizes a more conservative ruling party. The concerns they lay out, however, do reflect the growing concerns for the medical community in Japan.
The paper says it's not possible to hold a safe bubble. Doctors in Japan are saying that, given the fact this involves more than 11,000 athletes from more than 200 countries, more than 70,000 staff and officials on top of the tens of thousands of unvaccinated volunteers, the safe bubble organizers say they can maintain, they say that's not possible.
The situation on the ground here is not getting better. COVID-19 cases continue to surge despite the state of emergency covering Tokyo and many parts of Japan. Right now, 2 percent of the Japanese population have been fully vaccinated. The medical system is under strain.
In parts of the country like Osaka, doctors are warning of a system collapse with hospitals and ventilators running out -- Rosemary.
CHURCH: Selina Wang, bringing us the very latest live from Tokyo. Many thanks.
The U.S. secretary of state is set to head to Egypt this hour. This follows Antony Blinken's meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to shore up a fragile cease-fire. Blinken is meeting with Israeli president Reuven Rivlin before leaving for Cairo.
CHURCH: He met Benjamin Netanyahu Tuesday to discuss Israel's security. Mr. Netanyahu used the opportunity to urge the U.S. not to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal.
Blinken also sat down with Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah and promised more than $100 million in direct aid. He pledged the U.S. would reopen the consulate in Jerusalem as a way, quote, "to engage with and provide support to the Palestinian people."
Eleven days of fighting left devastation in Gaza. Blinken warned both sides not to take action that could reignite the violence. A cease- fire is in its 6th day and remains fragile. Nic Robertson reports on the challenges ahead.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It's 5.5 years since an American secretary of state met Palestinian Authority officials on their home turf. Antony Blinken came, promising reengagement, reopening the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, closed during the Trump administration, and rebuilding in Gaza, hoping to shore up the cease-fire.
BLINKEN: In total we're in the process of providing more than $360 million in urgent support for the Palestinian people. And across these efforts, we will work with partners to ensure that Hamas does not benefit from these reconstruction efforts.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Despite the cease-fire, Palestinian tensions with Israel remain high. Anger at a nearby funeral for a Palestinian man killed by Israeli forces the previous night during what Israeli security forces described as an attempted arrest of terror activists.
More than money, Palestinian leaders here want a U.S. commitment to help them.
MAHMOUD ABBAS, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY PRESIDENT (through translator): We also hope that the future will be filled with diplomatic and political activities led by the U.S. and with the assistance of the international quartet to achieve a just solution based on the international law.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: The first point is a vote of thanks to President Biden and you.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): In Jerusalem, praise from Israel's prime minister for U.S. support during the conflict and concern Blinken could ensure money for rebuilding Gaza doesn't rearm Hamas.
NETANYAHU: If Hamas breaks the calm and attacks Israel, our response will be very powerful. And we've discussed ways of how to work together to prevent Hamas rearmament with weapons and means of the aggression.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): It won't be easy. Hamas controls Gaza, not the Palestinian Authority and Blinken wants to boost by channeling the aid through them.
BLINKEN: There's a lot of hard work ahead to restore hope, respect and some trust across some communities but we've seen the alternative and I think that should cause all of us to redouble our efforts to preserve the peace and improve the lives of Israelis and Palestinians alike. ROBERTSON: Blinken's visit little more than a Band-aid, keeping the
cease-fire together, absent significant diplomatic engagement from the United States, that's perhaps about the best he could hope to achieve.
The real aim though, to keep alive America's hope that one day a 2 state peace solution could be achieved --Nic Robertson, CNN, Ramallah, the West Bank.
CHURCH: And Elliott Gotkine joins us now live from Jerusalem.
Good to see you. Of course we know Secretary Blinken has been meeting with the Israeli president. He heads off to Egypt very soon.
What has been achieved so far in his attempt to solidify the cease- fire between Israel and Hamas?
ELLIOTT GOTKINE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I suppose there weren't difficult targets to achieve beyond shoring up this cease-fire. I suppose, to that extent, the cease-fire is holding so he can claim job done.
But this trip was also about rebuilding some of those bridges with the Palestinians, in particular that were broken during Donald Trump's presidency. To that end as we heard, a reopening of the U.S. mission in Jerusalem, which is the de facto mission that serves as a de facto mission to the Palestinians and also shore up the U.S. support for the Palestinian Authority as well. And to sideline Hamas in what's going on, not just with funds but also politically as well.
And indeed, for the Israelis, there was also plenty to go around in terms of support for replenishing the Iron Dome aerial defense system, which went through quite a number of rockets and missiles over the last few weeks.
GOTKINE: And also seemingly blaming Hamas for starting these hostilities in the first place. Blinken didn't make any bones about the fact there were differences of opinion over the Iran nuclear deal.
But even if the Iranians fall back into compliance with it and the U.S. does rejoin, the U.S. will keep the Israelis apprised of developments and it will be a first step toward dealing with other Iran related issues, such as its support for proxies and terrorists in the region, like Hezbollah in Lebanon.
There was something for everyone, I suppose. What there wasn't was any commitment to restarting former negotiations or overseeing or trying to get negotiations going again between Israelis and the Palestinians, to fulfill that objective of U.S. President Joe Biden to get to a position where there can be a 2 state solution -- Rosemary.
CHURCH: Elliott Gotkine joining us from Jerusalem, many thanks.
World leaders condemning Belarus' forced diversion of a Ryanair flight leaving to the rest of Roman Protasevich, dissident journalist on board. The U.N. Security Council is expected to hold private talks on the matter in the hours ahead.
Already, E.U. leaders have agreed on sanctions against Belarus, as a growing list of countries advise airlines to avoid flying over the country.
A Russian national detained in Belarus along with Protasevich is seen in a new video posted on a pro government social media channel and this comes one day after the detained journalist appeared in a separate video. Fred Pleitgen has the details.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The aftermath of the Belarusian authorities forcing Ryanair jets to land in the capital of Minsk, also arresting an opposition journalist who was on board. We can see that the situation is continuing to escalate.
One of the things that's happened since then is that on a pro Belarusian government Telegram channel, the companion, who was a traveling with Roman Protasevich, her name is Sofia Sapega (ph), she was also paraded on a video there, where she allegedly makes a confession, saying that she was working for a Telegram channel that released the identities of workers of the interior ministry of Belarus.
Of course, there is a very real possibility that she was forced to make the video or speak in the video under duress and it only comes about 24 hours after Roman Protasevich himself was in a similar video, also in custody of the Belarusian authorities in Minsk, in the area, where he also said that he was working together with the authorities, confessing to the authorities.
And there as well, the Belarusian opposition, figures of the Belarusian opposition have said that they strongly believe that that video was also made under duress. Now all of that is causing massive condemnation in Western countries.
The United States, in the form of U.S. President, Joe Biden came out and he put out a statement where he said that all of this was, as he put it, an outrageous incident, that jet having to land the opposition journalist, then being arrested.
The Biden administration also saying that right now it is looking at options to possibly punish the Lukashenko regime. Now, of course, that is something that the European Union has already done.
The E.U., at its council meeting, decided they were going to put new sanctions in place but also deciding that they were going to blacklist the Belarusian flagship carrier and not allow it to fly in European Union airspace or to European destinations.
And one of the things that we're already seeing is that more and more E.U. carriers are avoiding the airspace. There have been a number of them that have said they're not going to fly to Minsk anymore -- Frederik Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.
CHURCH: Syrians are heading to the polls today in an election that's seen as a rubber stamp for president Bashar al-Assad. He's expected to easily win a fourth term in office but Western nations are condemning the election as neither free nor fair.
The U.S., U.K., France, Germany and Italy are urging countries to reject the vote as an attempt by the Assad regime to regain legitimacy after a decade of war against his own people.
The Syrian civil war has killed hundreds of thousands of people and driven 11 million from their homes.
A tropical cyclone has made landfall in India, bringing strong winds, heavy rain and intense storm surges. We'll have a check on the forecast when we come back.
CHURCH: Scientists are pushing for a more transparent investigation into the origins of COVID-19 after the Chinese government withheld data and delayed facility access to a World Health Organization team earlier this year.
One infectious disease expert spoke with CNN, saying a new investigation could help prevent future outbreaks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. AKIKO IWASAKI, YALE UNIVERSITY: So we still don't have a clear answer as to where the virus originated, whether it was a natural transmission from an animal or it was a lab leak. The WHO did conduct an investigation into the origin of the virus and released a report at the end of March.
However, the report did not contain enough data to conclude one way or the other. That is why we need to have further investigation of the origin of the virus so that we can prevent future pandemics from happening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: For a full analysis of why scientists are interested in the true origin of COVID-19, you can visit our website at cnn.com.
British prime minister Boris Johnson's former top advisor will face Parliament a few hours from now, answering questions about the government's response to the coronavirus. The inquiry has the potential to deal a blow to Johnson's political career after a messy falling out between the two. CNN's Bianca Nobilo has more from London.
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Machiavelli and Dominic Cummings, separated by five centuries but often compared, caricatured for their cunning, ruthlessness and influence on men in power.
But prime minister Boris Johnson brought Cummings into Downing Street as an adviser. It was divisive. Cummings' disdain for the establishment and casual dress set him apart as a maverick. He was the architect of the controversial campaign for Brexit, which redrew the political map.
His role was immortalized by Benedict Cumberbatch in an HBO drama.
After delivering Brexit and Johnson's 2019 historic election victory, Cummings seemed indispensable.
BORIS JOHNSON, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: You must stay at home.
NOBLES (voice-over): The turning point came at the peak of the COVID- 19 crisis, when the country was under a strict lockdown. Cummings was forced to explain to an outraged nation why he had traveled 260 miles from London to his hometown for child care support and had been seen visiting a beauty spot.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It seemed as if there was one version of the rules for you and one version of the rules for everyone else.
NOBLES (voice-over): Still, Johnson stuck by his man.
JOHNSON: I think he followed the instincts of every father.
NOBLES (voice-over): Although that did not last forever.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boris Johnson is somebody who likes to be liked. Dominic Cummings is someone who rather relishes being a pantomime villain.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you can see how that sort of a relationship might come under strain and ultimately come apart at the seams.
NOBLES (voice-over): It did, about 6 months ago when he quit.
NOBILO: Since then, a briefing war has ensued between Number 10 and the prime minister's former right-hand man. Cummings compounded the scandal about whether or not the prime minister had planned to use donor money to renovate the Downing Street flat, calling his behavior unethical, foolish and possibly illegal.
NOBLES (voice-over): He also questioned Johnson's handling of the pandemic, which has cost over 150,000 lives in the United Kingdom. On Wednesday, Cummings will give evidence to MPs about the government's COVID response, something he's urged Parliament to investigate. It could be his most explosive revelation yet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the first time we will see that decision- making exposed in a sort of minute by minute, detail by detail fashion, from somebody who was absolutely in the room and at the heart of it all.
QUESTION: What's the next move?
NOBLES (voice-over): Advisers are never supposed to become the story. On Wednesday, we can expect Cummings to defy convention yet again -- Bianca Nobilo, CNN, London.
CHURCH: A burning cargo ship off the coast of Sri Lanka is expected to sink at any moment. Officials fear more than 300 metric tons of oil and other chemicals could be spilled into the sea.
Specialists from the Indian Coast Guard and the Netherlands are on the scene to help. The big concern now for Sri Lanka is protecting about 30 kilometers of delicate coastline, which includes a protected home to marine life and mangroves. CNN's Anna Coren has more.
ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Big black smoke billows over a container ship in the Laccadive Sea off the coast of Sri Lanka as the NV (ph) X-Press Pearl burns out of control.
An oil slick spreads along the water surface and impending natural disaster potentially unfolding. The Singapore vessel, carrying more than 1,400 containers of cosmetics and chemicals, including 25 tons of nitric acid, catching fire last Thursday after an explosion on board.
The crew thought they contained the blaze until there was a second explosion on Tuesday. Two people were injured, the Sri Lankan Navy managed to safely rescue all 25 crew members.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Because of the rough seas and heavy winds last night, the fire intensified. There was also an explosion in one of the containers. With the explosion, the fire spread rapidly.
COREN (voice-over): The ship, which left Hazira port in India bound for Singapore, had been waiting for entry into Colombo port. It was anchored at 9.5 nautical miles off the coast when the explosion occurred.
Due to the intense heat of the ongoing blaze, authorities are unable to get close enough to put out the fire. The fear now, according to the state's fishery minister, is that the ship, containing 320 metric tons of oil, could sink, causing an environmental catastrophe.
Nearby Negombo lagoon, one of the largest in Sri Lanka, is home to one of more than 5,000 fishermen who depend on the pristine marine environment for their livelihood. Debris from the ship has already washed up on the coast. And the community has been told not to engage in any fishing activities.
The navy and coast guard have begun erecting oil booms to prevent an ecological disaster. However, the government has confirmed to CNN that they do not have enough oil booms to contain the potential spread.
A team from the Netherlands has been assisting with the operation. A preliminary investigation by the navy indicates the fire started after a chemical reaction on board -- Anna Coren, CNN, Hong Kong.
CHURCH: And we will take a short break. We will be back in just a minute.
CHURCH: Tropical cyclone Yaas is slamming Northeast India. It made landfall a couple of hours ago. It is the second powerful storm to hit the country within 2 weeks. Hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated ahead of landfall. The system is now pounding the region with hurricane-force winds and storm surges several meters high.
CHURCH: Of course the cyclone is far from India's only threat. It is struggling to contain a massive COVID-19 outbreak. It's now facing increasing black fungus infections. The country has just surpassed 27 million COVID cases. It's fighting the world's worst COVID outbreak even though cases are now declining.
India reported fewer than 200,000 new infections on Tuesday, the first time in more than a month. Meantime, there are now more than 10,000 black fungus cases throughout India. It appears to be occurring in people who have recovered from COVID-19, particularly if they have diabetes.
Now the fungus has been detected in 23 of India's 36 states and territories.
CHURCH: And Dr. Hemant Thacker is a physician in India. He joins me now via Skype from Mumbai.
CHURCH: Thank you, Doctor, for talking with us.
DR. HEMANT THACKER, PHYSICIAN: Hi. CHURCH: So Doctor, India confronting multiple crises right now:
COVID-19 infections, black fungus cases and now another cyclone. Your city was hit by last week's storm.
How are you and your colleagues dealing with all of these challenges as you try to save the lives of so many people?
THACKER: Let me say at the outset that COVID-19, especially in Mumbai where I am from, is ebbing fast. It's a sharp drop now and we have fewer than 1,000 cases now since yesterday.
Even in my state COVID is ebbing. But 10 days ago, when we had the cyclone, we had to juggle between the cyclone induced problems and we had to also look at our COVID patients.
The problem is, with the cyclone, you get a change of weather, you get humidity, moisture and all that leads to respiratory symptoms. In America, you people are not strange and you know all these symptoms because of cyclones.
And therefore, in this time of the year, any fever or cough or respiratory symptoms is supposed to be COVID unless proved otherwise. So we did have a tough time separating the grain from the chaff.
But we have weathered many storms in the past. And we did it and the cyclone is behind us. We are on the west coast. We are now going to anticipate a cyclone on the east coast. But I'm sure the indomitable spirit which our doctor colleagues on the other side have and all the infrastructure which we have, with everybody's help pieced together we will be able to overcome it.
CHURCH: That is a good thing indeed. But right across India, the COVID-19 death toll, on Monday, was more than 4,000. New cases are still high, even though they are declining.
What about oxygen, drugs, beds in these hospitals and the vaccination rollout?
How has that been progressing?
THACKER: Obviously, no country is prepared for more than 1 percent or 1.5 percent of the population to fall ill simultaneously. We had a huge second wave, a big surge. As a result of which our health care infrastructure really was creaking at every point. We had oxygen but we couldn't transport it. We had a relative shortage of drugs. And then there is a human nature, where there's a clamor to get everything and keep it for a rainy day.
We don't have so many hospitals because nobody in this last century anticipated you would need so many beds simultaneously. We had to have this problem where we had to make makeshift beds. We had to move oxygen through different transport systems, we had to use industrial delivery methods to get oxygen. It was stressful.
It did result in some calamities. But you know, we have a huge population. Everything looks very magnified because, in your orchard, where you have 100 plantations, if 10 percent get burned, you say only 10 got burned.
But in my orchard, with 10,000 plantations, if 10 percent get burned, it's 1,000 burned. So our numbers in a 1.3 billion population appear large and quite often these numbers may also be because a lot of unrecorded cases or cases that fell ill in early March and early April and died because of post COVID complications, which is keeping our death rate high.
But with lesser cases coming up now in the case of fresh cases, I expect even our fatality rate to slowly but surely ebb. The confidence is increasing, COVID is ebbing. We have learned our lesson. We now know we have to vaccinate on the downslope.
You never know with this COVID 19, 19 has become, 2020 has become 21. We need to vaccinate and we really put our best foot forward and we are trying to garner as many vaccines as we can from all over the world.
I must thank the international community on behalf of my country for coming to our aid. We are putting all that we can to vaccinate more and more.
CHURCH: Thank you, Doctor, for talking with us and for all you do. We appreciate it.
THACKER: Thanks for having me on the show.
CHURCH: Thank you.
Well, next stop for America's top diplomat, Egypt, then Jordan. Antony Blinken is wrapping up meetings in Israel, aimed at cementing the countries' cease-fire with the militant group Hamas. He met a short time ago with the Israeli president, Reuven Rivlin. Blinken says now is the time to address long-standing grievances and prevent more fighting. The U.S. secretary of state has also pledged $5.5 million in immediate disaster assistance to Gaza. It's part of a much larger package to help Palestinians rebuild.
But for most people living in Gaza, the future is bleak, with little hope of escape. CNN's senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman has our report.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Gaza City's main square, Mohammad and his friends show off their breakdancing skills. Mohammad's dream is to compete outside Gaza but there is a problem.
"Travel from Gaza," he says, "is almost impossible."
This narrow strip of land on the Mediterranean, home to 2 million people, has been under an Egyptian Israeli blockade since Hamas took over Gaza in 2007. Among other things, the blockade was intended to isolate Hamas and prevent the militants from smuggling in arms.
But since then, Hamas and other groups have been able to manufacture and launch tens of thousands of rockets into Israel. And Hamas, 14 years later, is still firmly in control.
In Khan Yunis (ph), residents queue for food, donated by Egypt, Qatar and Malaysia. About half the population is dependent on food aid; unemployment is almost 50 percent. I asked the young people in the crowd the same question.
WEDEMAN: Have you ever, in whole life, traveled outside Gaza?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No travel.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): Everyone gave the same answer, "No, never."
Like the others, Raida (ph) says she's never set foot outside Gaza, never been on a plane or a train.
Gaza is hemmed in by Israel to the north and east, Egypt to the south. Israel and Egypt allow a limited amount of goods, strictly controlled, into Gaza but exporting is difficult. Israel bombed Mohammad's plastic ware factory the day before the cease-fire went into effect. His 12 employees are now without work.
And even before the hostilities, try as he might, Mohammad never received permission to export his products by Israel.
"We met all their conditions," he says. "But we never received an answer from them if we can export or not."
People here, whether they support Hamas or not -- and many don't -- they are all serving the same sentence, says this analyst.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gaza has become the biggest open air prison on the face of Earth.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): If the blockade isn't lifted, this may be the closest to flying some of these children will ever be -- Ben Wedeman, CNN, Gaza.
CHURCH: Actor John Cena is making a fast and furious apology. Why he is, quote, "very, very sorry" and why he says it's very, very, very important to respect China. Back with that in just a moment.
CHURCH: A star from the latest "Fast and Furious" movie is profusely apologizing to China and he's doing it in Mandarin. Actor and former WWE wrestler John Cena professed his love and respect for the Chinese people on Weibo.
He angered many on the mainland by a calling Taiwan a country during a promotional interview for F9. China is the world's largest movie market and the "Fast and Furious" franchise is extremely popular there. Let's bring in Will Ripley live from Taipei, where the film had its global debut.
Good to see you, will. John Cena, he's been blasted by conservatives and others for his apology to China in Mandarin, no less.
What's the latest on all of this?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, John Cena got the Chinese mainland equivalent of being canceled on Weibo, their social media platform, 7,000 responses, a lot of them saying he didn't go far enough.
Even though he was speaking in Mandarin, which is not his first language, the original sin, if you will, was speaking to a broadcaster in Taiwan. As you mentioned, it's the first market where F9 debuted and he said, in Mandarin, Taiwan is the first country where you can watch it.
Well, that set off a firestorm. Obviously, China does not consider Taiwan, the self governing island for 70 years, its own country. They consider it a renegade province. And any suggestion to the otherwise can get any business, any celebrity in a whole lot of hot water.
That was certainly the case for John Cena. Let me play a bit of what some have said groveling apology in Mandarin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN CENA, ACTOR AND WRESTLER: (Speaking Mandarin).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RIPLEY: Did you count that?
He said "very" 4 different times, Rosemary. He is very, very, very, very sorry.
Not necessarily because of some epiphany or because he, you know, he feels this was such a huge line he crossed but because he has to or his movie, which made $136 million over the weekend in China alone, helping propel it to Hollywood's biggest pandemic release, could actually be boycotted in the mainland if he doesn't show profuse remorse for making this kind of mistake.
It's the same reason, Rosemary, airlines have not called Taiwan a country on their maps. It's why Gap and Versace and Coach apologized for T-shirts a number of years ago that mistakenly conveyed the Chinese view that Taiwan is a part of One China and it's why the Marriott app was blocked back in 2018 when they listed Tibet, Hong Kong and Macau as countries.
That's a red line you don't cross when it comes to the mainland and money does talk. It's a huge market for every industry, Rosemary, and getting bigger. China could use its financial firepower to continue to police people in the West who might cross the line, albeit, perhaps, unintentionally.
CHURCH: Absolutely. As you say, money talks. Will Ripley brings the latest live from Taipei.
Thank you so much for joining. Us I'm Rosemary Church. "WORLD SPORT" is next. I'll be back at the top of the hour.