China seems to have resorted to an aggressive nationalist policy to defend the nation against the claims calling it responsibly for the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic. China’s newest answer to all the global criticism is wolf-warrior diplomacy, named after Chinese blockbuster movie, which promotes muscular nationalism. In the last few weeks, some of the country’s well known diplomats and ambassadors have been seen getting entangled in war of words with their host nations, and social media forums (Twitter and Facebook) becoming the common battlefield. Many analyst believe that this 180 degree change in tone and attitude of Chinese diplomats, has a lot to do with how Chinese President Xi Jinping wants the country to be perceived by the world. Mr. Jinping is known for promoting “fighting spirit” among Chinese men. But rather than working for the People’s Republic of China’s, it is pretty much doing the opposite, tarnishing its international image.
A decade ago, China’s diplomats were known for maintaining low profile, with rare public engagement and putting out highly regimented speeches. But the wolf warrior era has established combative, dramatic and aggressive statements as new normal.
A spokeswoman for the Chinese Embassy in India wrote on Twitter, “Ridiculous and eyeball-catching nonsense,” as a response to the cries demanding China to pay compensation for the spread of the deadly contagion.
“Other countries shouldn’t blame China for mistakes they have made themselves, particularly the U.S.,” tweeted the Chinese ambassador to the Netherlands.
The Chinese Embassy in Venezuela ended a Twitter thread saying that those who criticised the regime should, “put on a mask and shut up”. The threat started with Venezuelan officials referring to the Covid-19 as the “Chinese coronavirus”.
Last week alone, about seven countries called for their respective Chinese ambassadors to provide clarification over issues ranging from spreading rumours and misinformation to the “racist mistreatment” of Africans in the Chinese city of Guangzhou. These countries included – France, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and the African Union.
Besides, nations including Germany, France, Britain, Australia and Canada raised the call for launching investigations about the origin of the virus and against the China’s Communist Party’s initial concealing of corona outbreak and handling of the entire health crisis. China’s foreign ministry spokespersons Hua Chunying and Zhao Lijian took to Twitter to respond and snub external criticisms of China’s handling of the pandemic outbreak and export of poor quality medical equipment’s from China. Zhao said in a tweet on 20 March that “if someone claims that China’s exports are toxic, then stop wearing China-made masks and protective gowns”. He suggested in another tweet on 12 March that “[i]t might be (the) US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan”.
The recent event of Australia’s (the largest trading partner of China) call for an independent investigation against China’s involvement in the origin of the virus, resulted in something similar to a threat call from the Chinese ambassador. Last week, Hu Xijin, the editor of the state-run Global Times wrote on Weibo, “After the epidemic, we need to have more risk awareness when doing business with Australia and also when we send our children to study there…Australia is always there, making trouble. It is a bit like chewing gum stuck on the sole of China’s shoes. Sometimes you have to find a stone to rub it off.” China’s ambassador to Australia, Jingye Cheng, threatened Australian media against pushing for an inquiry into Hu’s comment, which he suggested could result in a boycott of the country’s goods.
On the contrary, the communist regime is using its state controlled media to put the country’s global criticism in front of its nationals in different light – a call for war against the western world.