Perennial good guy John Cena has apologized after finding himself in the midst of controversy. Cena, who appears in a starring role in the Fast & Furious sequel F9, recently gave an interview to the Taiwanese broadcaster TVBS to help promote the movie. During the interview, Cena referred to Taiwan as a "country," and the comment generated backlash in China.

"Taiwan is the first country that can watch F9," Cena said in Mandarin.

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Though Taiwan is a self-governed democratic island, China claims it as its sovereign territory. Per CNN, Beijing considers "any suggestion of Taiwan's independence crossing its 'red line,' and has been increasingly trying to use its economic power to police speech on the topic around the world." Because of the controversy, John Cena took to the Chinese social media platform Weibo to apologize. Speaking in Mandarin, the WWE star details how he "did a lot of interviews" and "made a mistake."

"I'm sorry for my mistake," Cena said in the video. "I must say now, [it's] very, very, very, very important [that] I love, and respect even more, China and the Chinese people."

There are some critics commenting on Cena's video that aren't satisfied with his response. One person said, "Please say 'Taiwan is part of China' in Chinese, otherwise we will not accept."

"I don't understand why the Chinese people should be so tolerant to him, who has a vague political stance while profiting from Chinese people," adds someone else.

Meanwhile, others have accepted Cena's apology, with one person's response reading: "Looking at his previous interviews, I can feel that he really likes China. He said the wrong thing and paid the price. He is different from other foreign actors who dare not respond or have different political opinions."

F9 earned nearly $136 million at the Chinese box office over the weekend, playing a big role in the movie's international success ahead of its premiere in U.S. theaters next month. There's more money to be made, unless the backlash somehow results in F9 getting pulled from theaters. As of now, that hasn't happened, but it's worth noting that Monster Hunter was pulled from theaters in China just days after its premiere due to a controversial line of dialogue some viewers deemed to be racist.

Cena plays Jakob Toretto, the brother of Vin Diesel's Dom Toretto, in F9. Diesel has credited late co-star Paul Walker with guiding Cena to him at the right time to get him into the anticipated sequel. It's not the only major role to feature Cena this summer, as he will also appear as Peacemaker in James Gunn's comic book movie The Suicide Squad in August. His character, who some fans say stole the show in the movie's red band trailer, is also getting his own spinoff series.

After releasing internationally this month, F9 is set to premiere in the United States on June 25, 2021. Cena can then be seen as Peacemaker in The Suicide Squad on Aug. 6, 2021, followed by his own spinoff series for HBO Max in early 2022. This story comes to us from