lørdag 14. november 2020

What Is Behind China’s Diplomacy of Indignation?

State representatives sometimes seem to deliberately emotionalize diplomacy, yet do their utmost to prevent popular emotions from flaring up at other times. Emotions often run high in Chinese foreign policy, fueled by a mixture of anger and humiliation to produce what we may call a “diplomacy of indignation.” When on January 27, 2020 the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published a cartoon with coronavirus symbols in place of the yellow stars on China’s flag, the Chinese embassy in Denmark reacted strongly, demanding an official apology from the newspaper and declaring that the cartoon “hurts the feelings of the Chinese people. […] We express our strong indignationand demand that Jyllandsposten and Niels Bo Bojesen [the cartoonist] reproach themselves for their mistake and publicly apologize to the Chinese people” (emphasis added).

Over the past few years, China’s diplomacy of indignation has been vented on many occasions. For instance, on February 3 a Wall Street Journal article entitled “China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia” drew the ire of the Chinese government, prompting it to call repeatedly for an official apology. In the words of Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang, the Wall Street Journal article “smeared China with a racially discriminatory title [that] triggered indignation among the Chinese people.”