onsdag 13. mai 2020

Coronavirus: China’s new army of tough-talking diplomats

Once upon a time Chinese statecraft was discreet and enigmatic. Henry Kissinger, the former US secretary of state, wrote in his seminal study Diplomacy that "Beijing's diplomacy was so subtle and indirect that it largely went over our heads in Washington". Governments in the West employed sinologists to interpret the opaque signals emanating from China's politburo.

Under its former leader, Deng Xiaoping, the country's declared strategy was to "hide its ability and bide its time". Well, not any more. China has dispatched an increasingly vocal cadre of diplomats out into the world of social media to take on all comers with, at times, an eye-blinking frankness. Their aim is to defend China's handling of the coronavirus pandemic and challenge those who question Beijing's version of events.