China’s new, hardline ‘wolf warrior’ diplomacy is supposed to cement its dominance — but it’s also uniting its rivals abroad and dividing people at home

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A faction of Chinese diplomats have been stepping up their attacks on China’s critics by issuing hawkish, offensive statements.
It’s called “wolf warrior” diplomacy, named after a movie franchise about a Chinese soldier who fights and defeats foreign foes.
In recent weeks, China’s wolf warriors have spread a conspiracy theory accusing the US army of creating the coronavirus and mocked the US over the Black Lives Matter movement.
Experts say their main goal is to undermine China’s critics abroad, while pleasing nationalists back home, who want China to stand up for them on the world stage.
However, there are signs this new form of statecraft isn’t working. China’s foreign adversaries — like the US, UK, and Australia — are uniting in response, and older Chinese diplomats back home are said to be unnerved by this brash new form of diplomacy.

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In recent months, China has developed a new hardline style of diplomacy in an effort to appeal to its audience at home and advance its interests abroad — but it might not be working as it hoped.

This new diplomacy consists mainly of Chinese officials issuing hawkish, painfully direct, and sometimes-untrue statements in an attempt to rally people around the Communist Party and undermine critics abroad.

It is nicknamed “wolf warrior” diplomacy, a reference to a popular Chinese movie franchise about a Chinese soldier who fights and defeats foreign mercenaries.

Two prominent proponents are Hua Chunying and Zhao Lijian, top spokespeople at China’s Foreign Ministry.

In recent weeks, they have launched baseless conspiracy theories and mocked countries over their reactions to crises like the coronavirus pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Their forthrightness has courted significant blowback both abroad and back home.

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In March, as tensions between the US and China continued to mount over the origins of COVID-19, Zhao tweeted a conspiracy theory.

He said: “It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan.” (Twitter later put a fact-check tag on that tweet.)

And as Black Lives Matter protests swept the US, Hua also ramped up her attacks on America’s leadership.

In late May, Hua responded to the US State Department’s support for Hong Kong protesters by tweeting: “I can’t breathe” — an attempt to divert US criticism of China to crises on American soil.

And in June, shortly after President Donald Trump signed a bill to sanction China over its oppression of Uighur Muslims, Hua tweeted: “The US should enact an African American Human Rights Policy Act instead.”

This brash form of diplomacy is seen more and more outside China too.

In April, as France’s coronavirus cases were peaking, China’s embassy in Paris published an article alleging that nursing staff at French retirement homes had “abandoned their posts overnight, deserted collectively, leaving their pensioners to die of hunger and illness.”

The claim was inflammatory and groundless. China later claimed it was based on a misunderstanding and deleted the post from the embassy’s site — though you can see an archived copy here.

An earlier wolf warrior …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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