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Wolf warriors-turned-brawlers: Continuous degradation of Chinese diplomats

Updated October 20, 2020 22:47 IST
Zhao Lijian
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian

Fifty-eight years is a long time for a nation to shape its foreign policy and become a dominant force in global politics. Since the 1962 Sino-Indian conflict, the Chinese are falling into an abyss. The Indian bureaucracy and diplomats are hailed for their articulation and decency the world over. On the other hand, their Chinese counterparts are usually associated with flawed interpretations, undue aggression and idiocy these days. So much so that even calling them ‘wolf warriors’ is passé. The Chinese diplomats are now being dubbed “hooligans” by some countries which presumably have had enough of them.

Taipei Times reported today how the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) is hugely upset with China over the fracas created by their embassy officials in Fiji during a Taiwanese National Day event, earlier this month. Quoting international media, the newspaper described in detail how two members of the Chinese embassy in Suva tried to force their way into a celebration held by the Taipei Trade Office in Fiji on October 8 to take photographs of the 100 people attending the party. The Chinese assaulted an office staffer who asked them to leave, leaving him needing hospital treatment for a head injury, the reports said about the scuffle which has been described as an “international incident of great severity” by lawmakers in Taipei.

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Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang went a step ahead calling it a “barbaric act”, saying that “China’s officials posted overseas are acting like hooligans.”

Beijing, in its response, said Taiwan was like a thief calling “stop the thief.”

“The Taiwanese institution in Fiji blatantly displayed the self-styled flag, and its cake was also decorated with a self-styled flag. I’d like to stress that there’s only one China, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. The attempt to sow discord between China and Pacific island countries under the pretext of the Taiwan question is doomed to fail,” said Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian.

It isn’t for the first time that the Chinese diplomats are facing the wrath and severe backlash for their boorish, unpardonable behavior.

Liu Xiaoming, China’s ambassador to the United Kingdom and an experienced ‘wolf warrior’ who’s always ready to up the ante and spout empty rhetoric, has been labeled a “bully” and criticized severely for making incredulous comments.

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As reported by IndiaNarrative.com last month, Liu’s Twitter account ‘liking’ a 10-second pornographic clip had become tabloid fodder in London and also massively embarrassed the Chinese Communist Party government back home.

The British were left aghast in July when, during a BBC programme, Liu reacted with “Xinjiang is regarded as the most beautiful place” after being shown a viral video of chained, blindfolded Uighur Muslims being loaded on to trains. On another occasion, he had accused Britain of cooking up “lies and slanders” about China.

“This is not the correct attitude for someone who is supposed to be building relations… I know this guy came from North Korea as his last posting, and so maybe he’s forgotten that actually we’re not another Communist dictatorship. But it certainly does feel as though we’re just here to be bullied by him, and I’m afraid we’re not,” Tom Tugendhat, the chair of the Commons’ Foreign Affairs Committee, had said while speaking on City A.M.’s daily podcast The City View.

From Taiwan to Australia and Canada, Chinese diplomats face the global ire
Chinese Ambassador to Canada Cong Peiwu (2nd R) speaks during the Ottawa Conference on Security and Defense in Ottawa, Canada, in March, earlier this year. With the two countries already locked in an intense diplomatic war over the Huawei case, Cong had on Thursday warned Ottawa not to give asylum to Hong Kong ‘criminals’ and remarked about the safety of Canadian citizens living in Hong Kong (Xinhua/Li Baodong/IANS)

Across the Atlantic, China’s ambassador to Canada, Cong Peiwu, has raked up a storm with his comments which as Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister, Chrystia Freeland said in Parliament Monday, “are not in any way in keeping with the spirit of appropriate diplomatic countries between two countries.”

With the two countries already locked in an intense diplomatic war over the Huawei case, Cong had on Thursday warned Ottawa not to give asylum to Hong Kong ‘criminals’ and remarked about the safety of Canadian citizens living in Hong Kong.

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“If the Canadian side really cares about the stability and the prosperity in Hong Kong, and really cares about the good health and safety of those 300,000 Canadian passport-holders in Hong Kong, and the large number of Canadian companies operating in Hong Kong SAR, you should support those efforts to fight violent crimes,” said the Chinese ambassador.

The open ‘threat’ from the top Chinese diplomat was answered by Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself who said his country will continue to defend human rights in China.

“We will stand up loudly and clearly for human rights, all around the world, whether it’s talking about the situation faced by the Uighurs, whether it’s talking about the very concerning situation in Hong Kong, whether it’s calling out China for its coercive diplomacy,” said Trudeau.

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Latin America to Sweden and faraway in Australia, the Chinese diplomats and country’s flawed foreign policy continues to invite global ire. India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had to remind China that Indian media is “free” to report after the Chinese Embassy in Delhi had asked hundreds of journalists not to refer Taiwan as a ‘country’ or a ‘nation’ while covering an event on its National Day on October 10.

Writing in the South China Morning Post a few months ago, Kai He, a Professor of International Relations at the Griffith Asia Institute and Centre for Governance and Public Policy Griffith University in Australia, had suggested that it is time for self-reflection for China on whether ‘wolf warrior’ diplomacy is the best response.

“If you feel as a person that everyone is against you, before blaming others you might want to ask what’s wrong with your behavior. The same applies to a country. If China feels everyone is against it, it might do best to examine its own foreign policy,” Kai wrote.

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This ‘self-reflection’ has to be done immediately by the Xi Jinping regime. Pew Research Center, a Washington-based nonpartisan fact tank, has in a new 14-country survey published a few weeks ago, highlighted that unfavorable views of China have reached historic highs in many countries.

“Views of China have grown more negative in recent years across many advanced economies, and unfavorable opinion has soared over the past year. Today, a majority in each of the surveyed countries has an unfavorable opinion of China. And in Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United States, South Korea, Spain and Canada, negative views have reached their highest points since the Center began polling on this topic more than a decade ago,” the survey mentioned.

Meanwhile, when asked about a report stating that India is formally starting talks on a trade deal with Taiwan, this is what Zhao Lijian said in Beijing today during his daily media briefing:

“There is only one China and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. The one-China principle is the common consensus of the international community, including India, and also serves as the political foundation for China to develop relations with any other country. China is firmly opposed to any official exchanges of any form and the signing of any agreement of official nature between Taiwan and any country having diplomatic relations with China. The Indian side should earnestly abide by the One China principle and handle the Taiwan question prudently and properly.”

As if Indians are supposed to take orders from Beijing!

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