fredag 30. juli 2021

China’s US ambassador pick shines light on debate over ‘wolf warrior’ diplomacy

China’s appointment of a new ambassador to the US has shone a light on the ongoing debate among analysts about how Beijing communicates with its biggest competitor, the future of its “wolf warrior” diplomacy and how Xi Jinping’s call to “tell a good China story” might work in practice.

The debate over the “wolf warrior” style – under which, as the Chinese ambassador to Sweden said on Swedish public radio in 2019, “we treat our friends with fine wine, but for our enemies we have shotguns” – comes amid a burst of positive publicity that delighted Beijing’s propaganda officials: the foreign coverage of the herd of 15 wandering Asian elephants in southern China that captured the country’s imagination and led Chinese vloggers to travel hundreds of miles to take selfies with them.

The foreign coverage led the Global Times to claim that China’s care for elephants “mirrors [our] adorable national image the west can’t distort”. The odyssey of the travelling elephants came at a time when western media were questioning the effectiveness of Beijing’s strident “wolf warrior” diplomacy.