WWE Legend John Cena Apologises To China After Calling Taiwan A Country
Cena issued the apology in Mandarin on his official Weibo account
WWE legend John Cena has issued an apology to the people of China for describing Taiwan as a country in a recent interview promoting his latest film.
Cena, speaking to TVBS to promote 'Fast & Furious 9', said that Taiwan was 'the first country' to watch the film. The movie has been directed by Taiwanese-American Justin Lin.
A clip of Cena's comments received nearly three million views on Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo, leading to Chinese media calling for an apology from the actor and former WWE Champion.
Beijing argues that democratically-run Taiwan is part of its territory. In recent years, China have increased diplomatic pressure on the Taipei government, as well as other nations that recognise its legitimacy.
Cena has now made an apology, in a video posted to his official Weibo account on Tuesday. The 44-year-old spoke in Mandarin Chinese, having started learning the language in 2016.
He said, according to the South China Morning Post: "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, 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."
The apology has split opinion on Chinese social media, with some users criticising Cena for not saying that Taiwan was a part of China.
Cena is the latest high-profile westerner to come under fire for crossing China's political lines in a public forum. The multiple-time WWE Champion is rumoured to be making a return to Vince McMahon's promotion later this year, coinciding with the return of live fans to WWE events.