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Another sorry celebrity disappoints both China and US

2021-05-26 HKT 14:28
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  • John Cena took to Weibo to tell people how much he loves China and the Chinese people.
    John Cena took to Weibo to tell people how much he loves China and the Chinese people.
The latest international celebrity to apologise for hurting the feelings of the Chinese people appears to have left people everywhere disappointed, with criticism at home for his "kowtowing" to Beijing, and mainlanders demanding he go further.

John Cena, a US wrestling superstar and actor, committed his "offence" during an interview with a Taiwanese television station earlier this month. He said Taiwan would be the first “country” to see his latest movie, "Fast & Furious 9".

Quite predictably, outrage billowed on mainland social media and Cena, 44, took to his Weibo account in an attempt to calm the storm.

"I made one mistake. I am very, very sorry for this mistake," Cena said in Mandarin. "I love and respect China and the Chinese people," he added.

Cena joins a long list of celebrities who have incurred the wrath of an increasingly nationalistic mainland public over their comments about Taiwan, Hong Kong or Xinjiang.

His apology was not enough for many mainlanders. "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 in the United States. "Can someone please help John Cena locate his spine, please?" wrote Matt Karolian, manager of American news website Boston.com, on Twitter.

Even former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo chimed in. "On your bowing to the Chinese Communist Party... I don't see you," Pompeo wrote on Twitter.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry declined to comment on the controversy. (Additional reporting by Reuters)