Travesty to tarnish normal defense moves as wolf warrior diplomacy
Published: Dec 06, 2020 05:13 PM

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's overreaction toward a tweet by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian has plunged China-Australia relations into a new predicament. Some Westerners believe this is another embodiment of the so-called China's wolf warrior diplomacy. Such clichés of accusations divert people's attention away from Beijing's profound foreign policy adjustments - China is taking the strategy of offensive defense to safeguard its national interests in the face of collective malicious attacks from Western countries. 

Imagine if Chinese soldiers had killed innocent people in another country. China would have been long drowned out with endless condemnations and sanctions. Yet after hearing about Australian soldiers' crimes in Afghanistan, Western countries tend to remain silent over the matter. They have been unfairly targeting China, which criticized the atrocities committed by Australian soldiers. 

Chinese people have thus clearly realized the double standards the West adopts so often. They support the Chinese Foreign Ministry to expose the hypocrisy of Western politicians. 

As a matter of fact, apart from Australian soldiers, troops from the US, UK and New Zealand have all killed Afghan civilians.

On July 30, The Guardian newspaper published a report entitled, "New Zealand military misled ministers about civilians deaths in Afghanistan raid, report finds." It claimed at least eight people were killed in the operation, including a child. 

Moreover, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission wants the UK to open an independent public inquiry to investigate alleged unlawful killings by UK Special Forces in Afghanistan, according to another Guardian report in November. 

The International Criminal Court (ICC) began investigating alleged war crimes committed by the US and other countries in Afghanistan earlier this year, BBC reported in September. However, the US imposed sanctions on some of the ICC officials. 

To a large extent, the so-called China's wolf warrior diplomacy is a response to Donald Trump administration's unmuzzled diplomacy. As the highest US diplomat, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has fiercely smeared China all over the world. He made no secret of his hostility toward the Communist Party of China (CPC), calling on the "free world" to jointly confront the CPC. This is obviously aimed at a "regime change," and has forced Chinese diplomats to make unconventional responses without alternatives. 

China has no intention to provoke Western countries. China's goal is very simple - defending its national interests. But this has not been accepted by major Western countries. They are so accustomed to the past when they were high above China and when China was too weak and had no choice but to grin and bear it. 

When the West makes unreasonable accusations against China and points fingers at Chinese domestic affairs, how could China remain indifferent? Any sovereign country with dignity would not back down. 

The resentment toward Western countries is bubbling within Chinese society. Chinese people cannot understand why the US insists to cut off chip supplies to China, giving such a hard time to Chinese tech giant Huawei. They are baffled as to why Australia is treating China as an enemy when its economy makes massive benefits from China. 

Why is the US free to impose economic sanctions against countries but China's relevant practices are labeled as "economic coercion"?

The younger generation of Chinese people cannot tolerate such double standards. The satirical cartoon reposted by Zhao Lijian was created by a young Chinese artist named Wuheqilin. He used computer-generated graphics to portray Australian war atrocities and has won waves of praise from Chinese netizens. 

The Trump administration's extreme pressure and insulting words toward China have aroused the ire of the Chinese people toward the US. 

Unfortunately, Morrison has been closely following US' footsteps in this regard and therefore lost the trust from China. As Australian journalist John Pilger tweeted on November 30, Australia's prime minister has been "abusing China all year as an echo of Trump, even comparing it with Nazi Germany. Thanks to 'Scottie', Australia is now losing its best customer and gaining a mighty enemy. Well done!"

Trump and Pompeo will step down on January 20, 2021, as will Morrison eventually. They will not have to pay any price for the damages they have made in their countries' relations with China. This is probably the privilege Western countries' political systems have granted them. 

When some Westerners say they have no illusions about China any more, they should know that China's despair toward the West is also unprecedented.

The author is a senior research fellow at the Charhar Institute and an adjunct fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn