Shaping Beijing's 'wolf warrior' diplomatic pack

World | REUTERS 18 Jun 2021

China's "wolf warrior diplomacy," an aggressive approach adopted by its diplomats since 2020, is simply "justified defense" against attacks, one of Beijing's most outspoken ambassadors said.

"In the eyes of the Westerners our diplomacy is on the offensive," Beijing envoy in Paris Lu Shaye said on website Guancha, "but the truth is it they are on the offensive. What we are doing is justified defense to protect our rights and interests."

Lu's remarks signal that President Xi Jinping's call for leaders to make China "more lovable" does not mean Beijing will dial back on its assertive diplomacy, said Wang Wen, a professor at the capital's Renmin University.

Diplomats have taken to firing verbal salvos, including on social media sites banned in the mainland, at the United States and others. This is dubbed "wolf warrior" diplomacy after a patriotic movie series.

Lu said the diplomatic style of "hide your strength and bide your time" attributed to Deng Xiaoping had been necessary as China could not do otherwise.

Now China is stronger and with the West "bent on suppressing its growth," Lu said, Beijing must adopt a diplomatic style of "making a difference."

He added: "We can't treat ourselves as a three-year-old when we have grown into a 1.8-meter-tall guy. Even when you don't wish to be a target others will target you."

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