John Cena apologises for calling Taiwan a country
US wrestling superstar and actor John Cena apologised to Chinese fans on Tuesday after calling Taiwan a country during an interview to promote his latest film Fast & Furious 9.
Speaking to Taiwanese television TVBS earlier this month, Cena, 44, said Taiwan would be the first "country" to see the latest Fast & Furious.
China regards Taiwan as its province, an assertion that most on the self-ruled, democratic island rejects.
Cena joins a long list of international celebrities who incurred the wrath of an increasingly nationalistic Chinese public over their comments about Taiwan, Hong Kong or Xinjiang.
"I made one mistake. I am very, very sorry for this mistake," Cena said in Mandarin in a video posted on his account on Weibo, a Twitter-like microblog popular in China.
"I have to say now, something that's very, very, very, very, very important - I love and respect China and the Chinese people," he said, without mentioning Taiwan.
The apology was not enough for many mainland Chinese netizens.
"Please use Mandarin to say Taiwan is part of China. Otherwise we won't accept the apology," read a comment left on Cena's apology video that received the most "likes".
Neither did the apology go down well with some Western netizens.
"Can someone please help John Cena locate his spine, please" wrote Matt Karolian, manager of American news website Boston.com, on Twitter.
The film has been a box office hit in mainland China since its open on May 21.
Over the last weekend, China accounted for $135 million of the movie's $162 million in revenue, according to US.entertainment publication Variety.
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