Superstar and wrestling actor John Cena apologized to Chinese fans on Tuesday after calling Taiwan a place during an interview to promote his latest film Fast & Furious 9.
Speaking to Taiwanese television station TVBS earlier this month, 44-year-old Cena said Taiwan would be the first “country” to watch Fast and Furious last.
China regards Taiwan as its province, a claim most people on the democratic self-governing island reject.
“I made a mistake,” he said. “I’m so sorry for this mistake,” Cena told Mandarin in a video posted on his Weibo account, a Twitter-like microblog known in China.
“I love and respect China and the Chinese people,” he added.
Cena joins a long list of international celebrities who have angered an increasingly nationalist Chinese public for their comments about Taiwan, Hong Kong or Xinjiang.
The companies have also come under fire, with several airlines and hotels apologizing to China in recent years for ranking Taiwan as a place in their booking countries.
Cena’s pardon was not enough for many on China’s Internet.
“Please use Mandarin to say that Taiwan is part of China.” Otherwise, we will not accept the pardon, “read a comment left in the Cena pardon video that got more” likes “.
Forgiveness did not go down well in the United States.
“Can anyone help John Cena find his spine, please?” wrote Matt Karolian, manager of the American news site Boston.com, on Twitter.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also joined him.
“In your bow to the Chinese Communist Party … I do not see you,” Pompeo wrote on Twitter.
Relations between the United States and China were put under Pompeo, during the presidency of Republican Donald Trump.
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment.
The film has been a box office hit in mainland China since its opening on May 21st