China’s ‘Wolf Warrior’ Diplomats Are Ready to Fight
Source: Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA)
May 20, 2020
Note: The CCP's systematic indoctrination and assault on critics goes global.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry has adopted an aggressive new stance, spurred by Beijing’s push to increase its global influence
[By Chun Han Wong and Chao Deng | May 19, 2020 | WSJ]
Beijing’s envoy in Paris promised a fight with France should China’s interests be threatened, then engaged in a public spat with his host country over the coronavirus pandemic. The Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka boasted of China’s handling of the pandemic to an activist on Twitter who had fewer than 30 followers. Beijing canceled a nationwide tour by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra after a tussle with the city’s mayor over Taiwan.
As China asserts itself globally, its diplomats around the world are taking on foes big and small.
The brash new attitude, playing out on social media, in newsprint and across negotiating tables, marks a turn for China’s once low-key diplomats. It’s part of a deliberate shift within the Foreign Ministry, spurred on by Chinese leaders seeking to claim what they see as their nation’s rightful place in the world, in the face of an increasingly inward-looking U.S.
China’s state media describe it as a “Wolf Warrior” ethos—named for a nationalistic Chinese film franchise about a Rambo-like soldier-turned-security contractor who battles American-led mercenary groups.
The feuding has escalated as the Foreign Ministry seeks to enforce China’s narratives on the coronavirus pandemic, bickering with Western powers and even some friendly countries.
In Venezuela, a major recipient of Beijing’s aid, the Chinese embassy lashed out at local legislators who described the pathogen that causes Covid-19 as the “China coronavirus.” Those legislators, the embassy said in a March statement on its website, were suffering from a “political virus.”
“Since you are already very sick from this, hurry up to ask for proper treatment,” the statement said. “The first step might be to wear the masks and shut up.” China’s Foreign Ministry and the embassy didn’t respond to requests for comment.
One of Beijing’s most aggressive diplomats is its envoy in Paris, Lu Shaye.
“Every time the Americans make an allegation, the French media always report them a day or two later,” Mr. Lu told French newspaper L’Opinion last month about coverage of China’s handling of the coronavirus. “They howl with the wolves, to make a big fuss about lies and rumors about China.”
Mr. Lu and the embassy didn’t respond to requests for comment.
For decades, Chinese diplomats had largely heeded the words of Deng Xiaoping, the reformist leader who exhorted his countrymen to “hide our light and bide our time”—keeping a low profile while accumulating China’s strengths.
Beijing became more outspoken as its economic power grew. This trend accelerated under Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who has staked his legitimacy on a “China Dream” of restoring national glory and pursued an increasingly uncompromising posture in international affairs.
Much of the growing assertiveness is aimed at stoking national pride back home—a key tool in the ruling Communist Party’s political playbook—and rebalancing the international order in ways that promote the party’s interests. Under Mr. Xi, China has cast itself as a responsible world power, offering leadership in global governance and pouring loans and aid into developing countries.
“Chinese citizens increasingly expect the Chinese government to stand tall and be proud in the world,” said Jessica Chen Weiss, a Cornell University associate professor who has studied the role of nationalism in China’s foreign relations. “What China really wants under Xi Jinping is a world that is safe for his continued leadership.”
In pursuing a more pugnacious style, the Communist Party is pushing to capitalize on a U.S. retreat from global institutions under President Trump’s “America First” approach. China has worked to increase its influence in international organizations, such as the United Nations, that the Trump administration has disparaged.
Mr. Xi has ramped up the Communist Party’s control over the Foreign Ministry, whose officials had been suspected by some within the party to be less ideologically committed due to their interactions with foreign cultures and counterparts.
Last year, Qi Yu, a specialist in ideological training with no prior diplomatic experience, became the Foreign Ministry’s Communist Party secretary—an unusual appointment for a post traditionally held by a vice foreign minister. A former deputy chief of the party’s powerful personnel department, Mr. Qi has often stressed loyalty to Mr. Xi’s agenda and reiterated his demands for a more combative posture in foreign affairs.
Chinese diplomats must “firmly counterattack against words and deeds in the international arena that assault the leadership of China’s Communist Party and our country’s socialist system,” Mr. Qi wrote in an essay published in December...