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China’s ‘Wolf Warrior’ Diplomacy

Last year Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi spoke during the Special ASEAN-China Foreign Minister’s meeting, saying that representing interests of Beijing overseas should be more assertive and Chinese Communist government to be defended from criticism. The article from Voa News on 6th of May by Jamie Dettmer says he also complained that ‘China was being bullied by Western powers over its human rights record’ and instructed to display stronger ‘fighting spirit’. The news article explains that since December this instruction has been taking place and it is said by Western officials and analysts that ‘is a coordinated campaign lauding President XI Jinping and threatening counter-measures against critical foreign governments.’.

The China’s public democracy was described in the article by John Seaman of the French Institute that said: “China’s public diplomacy has gone into overdrive. It appears well coordinated, with varying degrees of dogmatism, divisiveness and moderation.” Article then explains that China received international criticism regarding handling the coronavirus outbreak and that before the pandemic Chinese diplomacy ‘started to sharpen’. 

In one of the recent articles from 2nd of June on The Print website, ‘wolf-warrior’ mentality was explained to be adopted, because ‘an increasing sense of insecurity and defensiveness is causing it to become aggressive’. It starts by introducing the term, saying:

“The term actually comes from a 2015 Chinese movie of the same name that was an instant blockbuster in the country. The movie’s plot was premised on soldiers going out and teaching the enemies of China a lesson- something you would expect to see in a Sunny Deol or an Akshay Kumar movie in Bollywood.”

Speaking at a press conference in Beijing on Sunday, the new policy was discussed by Foreign Minister Wang Yi saying that ‘we will push back against any deliberate insult, resolutely defend our national honour and dignity, and we will refuse all groundless slander with facts’ -in response to CNN question.

Article from The Print adds that insults from several countries about delaying informing the world about Covid-19 or receiving many questions about for example where it came from, led to the ‘wolf-warrior’ mentality. Article says: “In fact, US president Donald Trump now has made this essential to his re-election campaign and has even held China responsible for the Covid deaths in America.”

The ambassador to Sweden- Gui Congyou- was amongst those who followed instructions of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Mentioned article from Voa News says that he warned in an interview with the Göteborgs-Posten about consequences if the ‘fault-finding wouldn’t stop’ regarding the ‘Swedish criticism of alleged Chinese human rights abuses’.

The quote in the article from Congyou says that countermeasures will be taken causing disruption to economic or trade relations with Sweden and that Chinese government should protect its national interests and do not allow any country, organisation or a person to harm it.

The article said that China may be adopting this diplomatic policy to ‘divert attention from all the questions being asked from them’. It says:

“This may also just be a tactic adopted by Chinese President Xi Jinping to send a message to his internal constituency- ‘The whole world is against us, and I am fighting back’. We must remember, nationalism is the glue that binds China. It is also the fuel that drives China.”

By Julita Waleskiewicz

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