American superstar and wrestling actor John Cena apologized to Chinese fans on Tuesday after calling Taiwan a country during an interview to promote his latest movie “Fast & Furious 9”.
Speaking to Taiwanese television station TVBS earlier this month, Cena, 44, said Taiwan would be the first “country” to see the latest Fast and Furious.
China regards Taiwan as its home province, a claim that most of the people of the autonomous and democratic island reject.
” I made a mistake. I’m very sorry for this mistake, ”Cena said in Mandarin in a video posted to his account on Weibo, a popular Twitter-like microblog in China.
“I love and respect China and the Chinese people,” he added.
Cena joins a long list of international celebrities who have incurred the wrath of an increasingly nationalistic Chinese audience for their comments on Taiwan, Hong Kong or Xinjiang.
The companies have also come under fire, with several airlines and hotels apologizing to China in recent years for listing Taiwan as a country on their booking sites.
Cena’s apology wasn’t enough for many mainland Chinese netizens.
“Please use Mandarin to say that Taiwan is part of China. Otherwise, we won’t accept an apology, ”read a comment on Cena’s apology video that received the most“ likes ”.
The apology was also not well received in the United States.
“Can someone please help John Cena locate his spine, please?” »Wrote Matt Karolian, director of the American news site Boston.com, on Twitter.
Even former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo intervened.
“On your greeting to the Chinese Communist Party… I can’t see you,” Pompeo wrote on Twitter.
Relations between the United States and China changed under Pompeo, under the presidency of Republican Donald Trump.
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment.
The film has been a box office hit in mainland China since it opened on May 21.
Over the past weekend, China accounted for $ 135 million of the film’s $ 162 million in revenue, according to American entertainment publication Variety.
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