John Cena is apologizing to China for his "mistake" after sparking backlash there for referring to Taiwan as a country.
While promoting the latest Fast & Furious film that he stars in, the wrestler and actor referenced Taiwan as being the "first country" that can watch the movie, sparking a firestorm in China, as Beijing considers Taiwan its territory, Bloomberg reports. Cena on Tuesday apologized via a video posted on the Chinese social media platform Weibo.
"I made a mistake," Cena said in Mandarin, per Bloomberg. "I must say now that, very very very importantly, I love and respect China and Chinese people."
China has become increasingly important to Hollywood in recent years, and in 2020, it overtook North America as the world's biggest box office, CNN notes. The Fast & Furious series, in particular, has been quite successful in China. Ahead of its U.S. debut, the new sequel F9 has already grossed $137 million there.
Some in China weren't satisfied with Cena's apology, according to CNN, with one person writing, "Please say 'Taiwan is part of China' in Chinese, otherwise we will not accept." Another person wrote that China shouldn't "be so tolerant to him, who has a vague political stance while profiting from Chinese people," though another came to Cena's defense, saying, "Looking at his previous interviews, I can feel that he really likes China."