• By The Financial District

CHINA’S ‘WOLF WARRIORS’ EARN NEW ENEMIES IN THE MAINLAND: AFP ANALYST

For over a year they have whipped up outrage against the West, but as China's "wolf warrior" diplomats are told to tone down the fury, they face an unexpected source of opposition: Nationalists at home.

Under fire in recent years over issues ranging from human rights abuses to blame for the COVID-19 pandemic, Beijing unleashed a new breed of diplomat that became known as "wolf warriors" -- a popular term for belligerent nationalism inspired by a Chinese blockbuster film, Jing Xuan Teng wrote for Agence France-Presse (AFP).


Foreign ministry spokespeople and officials abroad adopted a strident and indignant tone to loudly defend the Communist-led country and even promote conspiracy theories or openly insult foreign counterparts.


All the news: Business man in suit and tie smiling and reading a newspaper near the financial district.

But in something of an about-turn, President Xi Jinping this month urged top political leaders to help cultivate a "reliable, admirable and respectable" international image in a bid to improve China's soft power. Officials and state media, he said, should help to "better tell China's stories."


For some analysts, the comments spoke to a growing realization that so many years of stoking nationalism at home has left Beijing with little room to make more complex diplomatic maneuvers. While the change shows a "broader realization at the top of the party that China's recent diplomatic strategy... has not been well received abroad, including among potential allies," said Florian Schneider, director of the Leiden Asia Centre in the Netherlands, the new approach requires a delicate balancing act.


"China's leaders have maneuvered themselves into somewhat of a trap. On the one hand, they have promised the world a mild and benevolent China -- on the other hand, they have promised domestic audiences a strong and assertive China."



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