John Cena unintentionally inserted himself in China and Taiwan’s political tug-of-war.

Cena is in the middle of the Fast & Furious 9 whirlwind promotional tour, which landed him in Taiwan recently. While talking about the movie during a local broadcast, he stated that Taiwan was the “first country to watch the film.”

Referring to Taiwan as a country angered the Chinese government and his mainland Chinese fans, prompting Cena to take to Weibo, where he apologized to anyone he offended and did it in the country’s native Mandarin.

“Hi China, I’m John Cena. I’m in the middle of Fast & Furious 9 promotions. I’m doing a lot of interviews. I made a mistake in one of my interviews,” he said, per the South China Morning Post. “I made one mistake.

I have to say something very, very, very important now. I love and respect China and Chinese people. I’m very, very sorry about my mistake. I apologize, I apologize, I’m very sorry. You must understand that I really love, really respect China and the Chinese people. My apologies.”

Taiwan is separated from mainland China and is a self-governed island state, but Beijing is starkly against any outward suggestion that Taiwan is in fact an independent state.

Cena isn’t the only famous American to have mistakenly referred to Taiwan as a sovereign entity. In December 2016, then-President-elect Donald Trump infamously took a call from the President of the Republic of China (Taiwan) Tsai Ing-wen.

He then got on social media and thanked “the President of Taiwan” for speaking with him. This angered the People’s Republic of China because it does not recognize the Taiwan’s Republic of China as a functioning government.


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