John Cena, WWE wrestler turned actor, has issued a video apology to China after calling Taiwan a country.
Speaking fluent Mandarin in the video, Cena apologises for any offence he may have caused with his “mistake”.
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According to Twitter users, the 44-year-old Fast & Furious 9 star said: “I love and respect China and Chinese people. I’m very, very sorry about my mistake. I apologise, I apologise, I’m very sorry.”
The video apology comes after Cena described self-ruled Taiwan, which China considers to be part of its territory, as a country in a Fast & Furious promotional video.
During an interview with Taiwanese broadcaster TVBS, Cena told the news presenter that Taiwan would “be the first country” able to watch the upcoming Fast & Furious 9.
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The island of Taiwan is a self-governed state, separated from mainland China by the Taiwan Strait.
Beijing strongly opposes any suggestion that Taiwan is an independent state, a topic that has been the subject of much conflict particularly since the conclusion of the Chinese Civil War after World War II.
After Cena’s interview went live, he received backlash for his accidental nosedive into international politics.
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Cena originally posted the video to Chinese social media site, Weibo, where he has over 600,000 followers.
While to the untrained ear, the Blockers actor may seem fluent in Mandarin, he has said in the past that his Mandarin language skills are “remedial” — though he has been learning the language for several years.
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Australia adheres to the one-China policy, which means that officially, the Federal Government does not recognise Taiwan as a country.
The Fast & Furious franchise is huge in China, with the eighth instalment, The Fate and the Furious, joining other Hollywood flops that go on to become hits in China.
It broke box office records and became the highest-grossing Hollywood film in China.
Cena is currently promoting Fast & Furious 9, which is out in Australian cinemas in June.
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