“Fast & Furious 9” star John Cena turned around on Tuesday, apologizing to Chinese fans after calling Taiwan a “country” and causing outrage in the world’s largest film market.
Beijing views democratic and self-governing Taiwan as part of its territory that must one day be seized, by force if necessary, and rages on any diplomatic attempt to recognize the island as an independent nation.
But American wrestling star-turned-actor Cena left his diplomatic route on a trip to Taiwan in early May to promote the fast car action movie franchise, making the ‘country’ commentary during a meetup. of fans.
On Tuesday, as outrage mounted on Chinese social media, he posted an apology on the Weibo platform in conversational-level Mandarin.
“I did a lot, a lot of interviews for Fast & Furious 9, and I made a mistake during an interview,” Cena said in the video, without repeating the controversial term.
“I have to say, which is very very important, that I love and respect China and the Chinese. I am very sorry for my mistake. I apologize. “
The video was viewed 2.4 million times on the strictly controlled social media site, as Chinese media jumped at the apologies.
Fast & Furious 9 smashed the box office when it released on May 21 in China last weekend, grossing $ 148 million, according to nationalist newspaper Global Times.
But social media users seemed only partially appeased.
“Please say ‘Taiwan is part of China’ in Chinese, otherwise we won’t accept it,” one Weibo member said, while another lamented Americans’ apparent lack of knowledge that “Taiwan is an integral part of China”.
China’s vast consumer market has been armed in recent years against criticism from Beijing.
Entities such as the NBA and global fashion giants have faced boycotts and beatings on social media for exposing rights violations or political issues that China deems prohibited.
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© 2021 AFP