John Cena has issued an apology to China for calling Taiwan a country in a recent interview.
During a promotional tour for Fast & Furious 9, Cena referred to Taiwan as a country while speaking to TVBS – sparking outrage among Chinese fans.
Cena posted a video message on the Sina Weibo platform clarifying his comments, though not directly mentioning Taiwan or its relationship with China.
“Hi China, I’m John Cena. I’m in the middle of Fast & Furious 9 promotions. I’m doing a lot of interviews. I made a mistake in one of my interviews,” Cena said in Mandarin [h/t/SCMP] . “Everyone was asking me if I could use Chinese… the staff [of the movie] gave me a lot of information, so there was a lot of interviews and information.
“I made one mistake. I have to say something very, very, important now. I love and respect China and Chinese people. I’m very, very sorry about my mistake. I apologize, I’m very sorry. You must understand that I really love, really respect China and the Chinese people. My apologies. See you.”
Despite his apology, some fans on Weibo were still unhappy.
“Please say in Chinese that Taiwan is part of China. Otherwise, we won’t accept it,” wrote one user. “Then you should say Taiwan is China’s!” wrote another user.
Another user accepted Cena’s apology: “I like you. I think you truly love China. Don’t talk carelessly again about China’s territory and sovereignty.”
During his interview with TVBS, Cena referred to Taiwan as “the first country” to watch Fast & Furious 9, a film directed by Taiwanese-American Justin Lin. The viral video received nearly 3 million views on Weibo, leading to the Chinese media demanding an apology from Cena.
Fast & Furious 9 was released in Hong Kong on May 19 and will hit theaters in the United States late next month.
Cena is expected to return to the United States in the first week of July, after wrapping up production for HBO Max series Peacemaker in Vancouver. Cena is rumored to return to WWE TV when WWE resumes touring for events.
See below to watch Cena’s full video message: