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John Cena’s China apology: What you need to know


Cena’s apology has caused a lot of online controversy.

Universal Pictures

After making a career of being booed by wrestling crowds, John Cena is facing a more intense type of criticism.  On Tuesday night Cena, actor and occassional wrestlerdelivered an apology in Mandarin to China and his Chinese fans. In a 68-second clip posted to Weibo, a Chinese social media platform, Cena struck a contrite tone as he repeatedly said sorry to his 600,000 followers.

“I made a mistake,” he says in Mandarin, “I’m so, so sorry for my mistake. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m very sorry. You have to understand I love and respect China and Chinese people. I’m sorry.”

What crime was he beseeching forgiveness for? Earlier in the month during a promotional tour for F9, the ninth Fast and the Furious flick, Cena told a Taiwanese TV station that “Taiwan is the first country that can watch F9.”


China doesn’t recognize Taiwan as a country, a point that’s become an increasingly intense issue among its government and citizens in recent years.


A civil war in China ended in 1949 when the Nationalists fled to Taiwan and the Communists consolidated control of the mainland. No peace treaty has ever been signed. 

Google Earth

What’s the issue between China and Taiwan? 

This story goes back to the 1920s. Between 1927 and 1949 a violent civil war raged in China, albeit with a World War 2-sized intermission in between. It was ultimately won by the Chinese Communist Party, led by Mao Zedong, which is still in power to this day: Xi Jinping doubles as China’s president and the general secretary of the CCP.

On the other side of the conflict were the Nationals, led by Chiang Kai-shek. They lost the battle but technically never lost the war. Facing defeat, Chiang Kai-shek, the Nationalist leadership and over a million refugees fled to Taiwan, control of which was taken from Japan in World War 2 and granted to The Nationalists by the Allied powers. No armistice or peace treaty has ever been signed. 

Taiwan’s official name is The Republic of China (as compared to The People’s Republic of China) and Chiang Kai-shek believed until his death that he would reclaim the mainland. After his death, in 1976, democracy flourished in Taiwan, though attitudes toward the mainland remain a polarizing political topic. 


Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek toasting  in 1945 during a round of peace talks to end the civil war. The peace talks failed.


China, for its part, has never recognized Taiwan as a country. It has historically promoted a “one country, two systems” agreement, which would see Taiwan formally become part of China without a major loss of autonomy. That was the same line used to induce Hong Kong back…

Read More:John Cena’s China apology: What you need to know

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