TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As the backlash over professional wrestler John Cena's apology to China continued over the weekend, a map of Taiwan surfaced on social media showing the country laying claim to all populated land formations on earth.
In response to an outcry by Chinese netizens for calling Taiwan a country, Cena posted a video on Weibo on May 25 in which he apologized profusely by saying that he was "very very sorry for my mistake" and stressed, "I very much love and very much respect China and Chinese people." Far from having the desired effect, Chinese netizens felt he was being two-faced to please audiences in both markets, while politicians and pundits in the U.S. slammed the wrestler for his spineless kowtowing.
Throughout the week, the hashtag #TaiwanIsACounty was a trending topic on Twitter. Among the more popular memes created under the hashtag were those which melded Cena's face with that of China's Chairman Xi Jinping (習近平) or Mao Zedong (毛澤東) and changing his name to "John Xina" and his "you can't see me" taunt to "you can't Xi me."
Others posted mock maps to poke fun at Beijing's obsession with claiming territory outside its actual boundaries. Toronto Sun columnist Brian Lilley posted a map of China labeled as "West Taiwan," which he enjoyed simply because it was guaranteed to "p*** off the dictators in Beijing."
And his name was John Xina pic.twitter.com/DIsNQbUP56— Freya Fox DOGE below 0.1 (@freyafoxtv) May 31, 2021
Another creative map that surfaced took the "West Taiwan" map a step further by depicting the entire world as being some part of Taiwan. Australia is shown as "South Taiwan," Siberia depicted as "North Taiwan," and South America was characterized as "Really East Taiwan."
I’ve never seen this map before but I like the idea of referring to China as West Taiwan just because it will piss off the dictators in Beijing.— Brian Lilley (@brianlilley) May 28, 2021
No one should be happy that 1 billion people live under that repressive regime. A free China should be a Western goal and value. pic.twitter.com/JToQPsYeMe
Stereotypes are used to portray much of the rest of the world, with Europe titled "Pizza Taiwan," Africa labeled "Hot Taiwan," and Canada and Greenland classified as "Cold Taiwan." It separately lists Svalbard, Norway as "Also Taiwan," and last but not least categorizes the U.S. as "Gun Taiwan."