John Cena has had to apologise for calling Taiwan a country as he gave an interview in Mandarin about the upcoming Fast and Furious 9 movie
John Cena has apologised to China after calling Taiwan a country – and issued the apology in fluent Mandarin.
The former WWE star-turned-actor described Taiwan as a country in a promotional video for the latest instalment of the Fast and Furious franchise.
The interview led to a backlash in China, which considers the self-ruling Taiwan to be part of its territory.
John, 44, was quick to send his apologies in a video message on social media for any offence he may have caused.
The star sparked the controversy during an interview with Taiwanese broadcaster TVBS.
He told the presenter that Taiwan would be the first “country” to be able to watch Fast and Furious 9.
The location is a self-governed island state that is separated from mainland China by the Taiwan Strait. The suggestion that Taiwan is an independent state is strongly opposed by Beijing.
John took to Chinese social media site Weibo on Tuesday to offer his apologies for his “mistake”.
The actor has a large following on the site with over 600,000 people following him.
“I made one mistake, I must say right now, very important, I love and respect Chinese people,” he said in Chinese.
“I am very sorry for my mistake. I am so sorry, I apologise.”
His genuine apology was widely accepted on the whole.
One user commented: “I can feel that he really likes China… He said the wrong thing and paid the corresponding price.”
However, it wasn’t enough for a selection of users.
One Weibo user wrote: “Please say ‘Taiwan is part of China’ in Chinese, otherwise we will not accept,”
Despite his apology sounding fluent, he has previously said his Mandarin skills are “remedial”.
He has been learning the Mandarin Chinese language for several years.
His appearance in the illegal racing-themed franchise’s latest movie comes after he was “sent” by Paul Walker, according to co-star Vin Diesel.
The 53-year-old actor said: “I remember John coming in, and, call this crazy, but I remember feeling as though Pablo, Paul Walker, had sent him in.
“And I remember talking to John that night and saying ‘My gut and my heart feels like this was meant to be’.”
Fast and Furious star Paul was a passenger in a red Porsche Carrera GT driven by his friend Roger Radas in 2013 when the car spun out of control at 100mph before smashing into a tree and bursting into flames.
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