John Cena, the star of Fast & Furious and a professional wrestler, began learning Mandarin Chinese about a decade ago.
However, he landed himself into problems in mainland China this month by flaunting his linguistic prowess in Taiwan.
Cena apologized on Tuesday for referring to Taiwan as “a country” in an interview with a Taiwanese broadcaster earlier this month, saying it was inappropriate.
“I must admit that I made a mistake just now. It’s vital because I love and appreciate Chinese people,” Cena told his 600,000 Chinese Weibo followers. “I apologize profusely for my errors. Sorry for the inconvenience. Sorry for the inconvenience. Please accept my sincere apologies. You must realize that I adore and appreciate China and the Chinese people.”
China considers Taiwan to be an intrinsic part of its own territory and denies that the self-governing island is a separate country.
The international rhetoric surrounding Taiwan has been more heated in recent years. An increasing number of people and corporations are interested in determining Taiwan’s status.
The 17-time WWE champion is the latest high-profile Westerner to find himself in the heart of a political and public opinion tempest.
Cena sparked the debate when he told Taiwanese network TVBS in Mandarin earlier this month that “Taiwan is the first place that can watch F9,” referring to his newest film Fast & Furious 9.
China has the largest movie market in the world.
The picture, which has yet to be released in the United States, grossed at least $135.6 million in China alone during the weekend, making it one of the greatest opening weekends for a Hollywood film since the coronavirus outbreak.
Lead actor Vin Diesel told state-owned Xinhua news agency that the film opened in China a month before it was released in the United States because the producers and investors consider China as their family.
“It’s a gesture of gratitude to the family,” he explained.
Cena said in the same Xinhua interview that a portion of the next Fast and Furious film “will be filmed in China.”
The story of Cena’s Mandarin apologies has become one of the most talked-about items on Weibo on Tuesday. Nearly 840,000 people have seen the hashtag ‘John Cena apologizes in Chinese after declaring Taiwan a country.’
More than 10,000 people responded to his apology video with comments.
Others were unimpressed, while some acknowledged their understanding. “… You’re being deceptive. “You cannot eat Chinese rice while smashing Chinese pots,” Mu Rao Feng wrote.
“If you don’t declare ‘Taiwan is a part of China’ in Mandarin, we won’t accept it,” Tai Wa Dai Shi stated. More than 7,300 people have liked the comment, with over 1,000 more following up.