West's racist ‘Wolf Warrior’ portrayal of Chinese diplomats
Published: Mar 25, 2021 06:27 PM
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian

Following high-level talks between China-US in Alaska last week and the ensuing sanctions and countermeasures between the EU and China on Monday, more accusations about China playing Wolf Warrior diplomacy are being heard in the US and West.

The West's depiction of China's direct diplomacy as being "Wolf Warrior" is clearly racist, some observers argued. Why? Because such a mentality assumes that we have no right to respond to bullying and unilateralism by Western countries that hurt China's national interests.

Can one imagine a certain group of people in Western society, like the US, not being allowed to speak up and stand up to defend their own legitimate interests? Isn't that purely racism, and a kind of white supremacy?

In recent years, the West has ramped up its suppression against China's rise on several fronts: technological, economic and diplomatic. Yet China is now more determined to counter such suppression. This is also partly demanded by the Chinese public's opinion. It's as if a meek panda, the old Western metaphor for China, is now being replaced with "Wolf Warrior."

As a result, the focus of the West is all on China's "aggression" rather than on the West's own problems. For example, last November when a Chinese diplomat accused the Australian military of brutally killing Afghan civilians on Twitter, the Western media made a lot of hype about China's "aggressive diplomacy." With all eyes on Beijing, attention has been diverted from Canberra's human rights violations.

Facing similar kinds of assertive foreign policy, the West reacts differently to what comes from within itself, and what comes from outside the Western world. One netizen commented on the obvious double standard, saying that assertive US diplomacy is never called "Rambo" diplomacy.

Indeed, when the Trump administration imposed tariffs on Europe, nobody used the term "Rambo" diplomacy. Only when China introduced tariffs on some goods from countries like Australia, some Western media began to question: is China adopting "Wolf Warrior" trade diplomacy? 

Wang Yiwei, director of the Center for European Studies at Renmin University of China, believes that the West's labeling of China is an unconscious outpouring of white supremacy. Western countries think they are superior, and that non-Western countries should only do what they are told. And if non-Western countries want to follow Western countries' style, this will be considered as a provocation.

China's rise has greatly challenged the sense of superiority and arrogance of Western civilization. Wang argues that the West has no way to face the reality to reflect on itself. The West always tries to use outdated ways of thinking to form a bloc and find a scapegoat. In the end, the West is unable to block the progress of humanity and the rise of China. 

More direct Chinese foreign policy has been labeled as "menacing" and "aggressive" by the West. This is a misinterpretation of Chinese diplomacy. It attempts to deny China's right to defend its legitimate rights and interests. There is nothing wrong with Chinese diplomats taking a firmer stance to respond to the attacks and smears from outside and to defend the country's legitimate rights and interests.

On Monday, the Chinese Embassy in France claimed that if there are really "wolf warriors," it is because there are too many "mad dogs" around. In short, if China's foreign policy does have some "wolfish" characteristics now, it is because the harsh external environment has forced the country to cultivate "wolfishness" in its diplomacy to protect the country's security and safeguard its interests.

Western countries have been taking a tough diplomatic attitude toward China on some issues. These include the recent collective sanctions against Beijing on the so-called human rights issues in Xinjiang. In the face of the West's deliberate provocations, unreasonable accusations against China and the constant exaggeration that China's rise poses threats to the world, how can China not turn into a Wolf Warrior? China, of course, will not compromise and fight back like a real warrior.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn