Home » China: “Wolf warrior” diplomacy won’t go away, experts say

China: “Wolf warrior” diplomacy won’t go away, experts say

by admin
China: “Wolf warrior” diplomacy won’t go away, experts say

Liu Jianchao, minister of the International Relations Department of the Chinese Communist Party, shakes hands with a French diplomat. Former Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian speaks at a press conference. Gao Jing/Xinhua via Getty Images and GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images

Recent changes in China’s foreign ministry and tone have fueled speculation about a possible disappearance of “wolf warrior” diplomacy.

However, experts told BI that Beijing’s aggressive behavior is unlikely to disappear forever.

It is a mistake to believe that China has deliberately emphasized aggression as its default strategy, the experts said.

This is a machine translation of an article from our US colleagues at Business Insider. It was automatically translated and checked by a real editor.

In a speech in New York, veteran diplomat Liu Jianchao appeared to signal a U-turn in the way China wants to deal with the world. “I don’t think there has always been a kind of ‘wolf warrior’ diplomacy,” Liu, head of the Chinese Communist Party’s international department, said at one Lecture by the Council of Foreign Relations on January 9th “and there is no talk of returning to this diplomacy.”

His words raised questions in the West. China is known for its haughty, often hostile style of diplomacy, known colloquially as the “Wolf Warrior” style.

But China has also made major personnel changes at its foreign ministry in the past year, firing at least two well-known “wolf warrior” diplomats. Has Beijing abandoned its aggressive policies because its economy needs to get back on its feet after the coronavirus?

Read too

China is the only major economic power in the world struggling with deflation – these are the consequences

That’s unlikely, even if China adopts a friendlier tone, four experts on the country’s international relations tell Business Insider (BI).

Liu Jianchao (third from right) meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in January. ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images

It is a misunderstanding – and often a Western one – that Beijing has developed a special strategy to attack and humiliate opponents on the public stage, the experts said. “The aggressive style of diplomacy that the People’s Republic of China sometimes uses is a tool, not an ideology, belief or doctrine,” said Ian Ja Chong, who teaches Chinese foreign policy at the National University of Singapore.

See also  Piazza Affari rising (+1.3%) with Wall Street and Eurolists

Beijing uses “wolf warrior” diplomacy whenever it feels compelled to do so, sometimes to intimidate smaller countries. But it often claims that it is righteous anger and not a bullying tactic, Chong said.

Named after the 2017 nationalist Chinese film “Wolf Warrior 2,” the term represents a range of insults and wild claims made by Chinese diplomats in defense of Beijing’s interests. In an infamous example from 2020, Chinese spokesman Zhao Lijian tweeted a photowhich showed a soldier about to slit a child’s throat against the backdrop of the Australian flag.

“Shocked by the murder of Afghan civilians and prisoners by Australian soldiers,” Zhao wrote. The doctored image stunned Australia’s leaders, who condemned the post as a “false image and a terrible slander.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian was later named deputy head of a maritime affairs bureau in what was widely seen as a demotion. The move has also fueled speculation about the end of “wolf warrior” diplomacy. VCG/VCG via Getty Images

China: It’s more about the home soil

However, it is unlikely that the specific behavior and level of aggression of a “wolf warrior” diplomat is the result of direct instruction from his superiors. Rather, it stems from the expectation that diplomats must protect Beijing’s image with all their might, says Stanley Rosen, professor of political science and international relations at the US-China Institute at the University of Southern California.

“Any Chinese diplomat who wants to be promoted cannot take a soft line,” Rosen said. “He must defend China at all times. So you get in a lot of trouble and don’t get promoted if you seem to have too much sympathy for the foreigners.

On the other hand, a diplomat who becomes too aggressive might be asked to moderate his tone, but he would rarely be fired or face serious consequences, Rosen added.

Domestic perception is key to China’s diplomatic approach, Rosen said. “Firstly, China is primarily concerned about its own people, and they will be addressed first,” he said.

China’s nationalists are extremely active on social media, sometimes going so far as to demand that Beijing declare war over diplomatic insults. Zhao was one of the most popular figures in this group.

He spread Conspiracy theories about the origins of Covid-19 in Maryland and Russian Disinformation about US bioweapons labs in Ukraine. When government officials began boycotting the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, Zhao said disparagingly: “Nobody cares.” In return, he has a strong, loyal following on Chinese social media, with 8.6 million followers on Weibo, China’s version of X.

Pro-China supporters protest against U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan on August 11, 2022 in Hong Kong, China. Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

See also  Malaysia Masters Chen Yufei missed the top IELTS Fanchen both won the championship_Huang Yaqiong_Final_Combination

Rosen said Beijing’s second target group is the Chinese diaspora, particularly Chinese students studying abroad, followed by the Global South, which includes Beijing’s potential and current partners in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

The Western public is last on China’s list of priorities, Rosen said, although China has an interest in the opinions of the Western world. “The reason they’re interested in this is because they want the technology, they want the investment, they want to trade, they want to sell their goods,” he said.

The cost of tongue twisters and head shakers

While it is true that China is showing signs of scaling back its rhetoric, this is more of a recalibration than an overhaul, experts said.

Pan Chengxin, who teaches international relations at Australia’s Deakin University, said Beijing would face a more hostile global environment, such as China. B. the Former President Donald Trump’s loud confrontational policy towards China, started using his “wolf warrior” style. “In international relations, it takes two to tango,” Pan said.

Other growing challenges for the West, such as the Wars in the Gaza Strip and Ukraine mean that confrontation with China is taking a back seat, said Dylan Loh, who teaches Chinese foreign policy and international relations at the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore.

Meanwhile, Chinese leader Xi Jinping is likely to refocus on rescuing the battered economy and resolving internal problems, he said. “Both China and the US know that it is not possible to always get along well, but the focus will shift to dealing with conflict and distrust,” he said.

Biden and Xi met in person at the 2023 APEC summit, a positive sign for US-China relations after both countries have clashed in recent years.BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

China is also aware that the shock value of “wolf warrior” diplomacy is diminishing. Countries would simply get used to his aggression. “I think the limits of wolf warrior diplomacy are obvious,” Loh said. “No country, neither China nor the USA, can prevail completely every time.”

See also  Positive bag with Stm and Diasorin

“If Beijing wants to have the same effect, it will have to escalate,” said Chong of the National University of Singapore. “This poses additional risks and situations get out of control.”

The “Wolf Warrior” will return

Still, “wolf warrior” diplomacy will return, depending on the issue, Loh said. “The fact is that assertive diplomacy existed before the term was even coined, but it was certainly accelerated by Xi Jinping,” Loh said.

Former Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang, known for building “wolf warrior” diplomacy, was fired from his post and disappeared from the public eye amid a corruption and affair scandal. His expulsion raised suspicions that “wolf warrior” diplomacy is no longer China’s strategy. LEAH MILLIS/Getty Images

So why did Liu tell reporters and academics in New York that “wolf warrior” diplomacy would never return? For one thing, says Rosen, the West coined the term and Beijing doesn’t use it.

In addition, the name has now become so negatively connoted that China is probably pushing even harder for the world to drop the concept. But it would only be the name that China seeks to abolish – not the behavior that gave rise to the reputation of the “wolf warrior.” For the Chinese government: “If something smells bad, you try to change the wording,” says Rosen.

For example, China appears to have abandoned the name “Made in China 2025” for its plan to develop its advanced manufacturing sector as Western countries become increasingly wary of its technology sector. But even without the name, Beijing is still committed to expanding its AI and technology capabilities. “You may not change the behavior, but you change the wording,” Rosen said.

External content not available

Your privacy settings prevent the loading and display of all external content (e.g. graphics, tables, subscription login) and social networks (e.g. Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc.). To display this, please activate the settings in the privacy settings.

Change privacy settings

You may also like

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy