John Cena apologises to Chinese fans for calling Taiwan a country

The actor and wrestler is currently promoting his latest film 'Fast & Furious 9'

John Cena, left, and Charlize Theron in a scene from 'F9'. Universal Pictures 
John Cena, left, and Charlize Theron in a scene from 'F9'. Universal Pictures 

Fast & Furious 9 star John Cena has apologised to his Chinese fans after he referred to Taiwan as a "country" and sparked outrage in the world's largest movie market.

Cena made the reference during a virtual fan meet in Taiwan in early May to promote the action franchise.

In a video, released on May 8, Cena excitedly said "Taiwan will be the first country to see Fast & Furious 9".

China considers Taiwan as part of its territory.

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Vin Diesel, left, and John Cena in a scene from "F9." (Giles Keyte/Universal Pictures via AP)
Vin Diesel, left, and John Cena in a scene from 'F9'. Universal Pictures

On Tuesday, Cena released an apology on the Weibo platform in conversational-level Mandarin.

"I did many, many interviews for Fast & Furious 9, and I made a mistake during one interview," Cena said in the video.

"I must say, which is very very important, that I love and respect China and Chinese people. I'm very, very sorry for my mistake. I apologise."

The video has been watched more than 2.4 million times on the social media site.

Fast & Furious 9 smashed through the box office during its May 21 release in China last weekend, raking in $148 million, according to the Global Times newspaper.

But social media users appeared only partially appeased.

"Please say 'Taiwan is part of China' in Chinese, or we won't accept it," said one Weibo handle, while another lamented the American's apparent lack of knowledge that "Taiwan is an integral part of China

– Additional reporting by AFP.

Updated: May 26, 2021 11:56 AM

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