Speaking in Mandarin earlier this month, Cena, 44, a WWE wrestler turned movie star, told Taiwanese broadcaster TVBS that “Taiwan is the first country that can watch F9,” in reference to his new film Fast & Furious 9, which opened in Chinese territories on May 21.
The actor’s comments led to an uproar in China, as the country rejects any reference to Taiwan as an independent state and considers it part of its territory. Taiwan is a self-governed island and maintains that it is an independent country.
On Tuesday, Cena posted an apology video to his account on the Chinese social media site Weibo, saying: “I made a mistake, I must say right now. It’s so so so so so so important, I love and respect Chinese people.
“I’m very sorry for my mistakes. Sorry. Sorry. I’m really sorry. You have to understand that I love and respect China and Chinese people.”
His apology video became one of the most discussed topics on Weibo on Tuesday. More than 10,000 people commented on Cena’s post, as he still faced criticism for his earlier remarks about Taiwan.
One commentator wrote: “Please say ‘Taiwan is part of China’ in Chinese, otherwise we will not accept,” as another said: “You are being evasive.”