Some Europeans' attacks on Chinese ambassador to France are rude and unfair
Published: Apr 24, 2023 06:20 PM
Illustration: Xia Qing/Global Times

Illustration: Xia Qing/Global Times

Attacks on Chinese Ambassador to France Lu Shaye have continued to spread since an interview with him, and 80 European parliamentarians have called on France to expel him. This kind of request is of course absurd and unreasonable. I believe that France will not bow to the pressure of those parliamentarians to do such a stupid thing. 

First, Lu is the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China to the Republic of France. He has full authority to represent the Chinese government on China-France affairs and is responsible for the overall bilateral relationship. The Ukraine issue is not in his portfolio. The French press interviewed him and asked him for details, which gave him a chance to make general comments. Although he is a diplomat, his official representation is bound to decline if he talks about matters outside his purview in free-for-all conversations such as on the TV. On the Ukraine issue and the status of the former Soviet states, China has many official statements, and those statements together constitute China's official position on these issues, and those positions are clear to Europe and the world.

Second, Ambassador Lu's exclusive interview was very long. I have read his whole statement carefully and there were no problems. His specific remarks on the Ukraine issue should be understood in the context of the entire interview and should not be singled out and placed under a magnifying glass. Moreover, in an off-script chat with a reporter, what should be emphasized is not accuracy, but the amount of information to understand the matter. Such a chat must be protected by the right to free expression. Ambassador Lu provided more information on matters beyond his jurisdiction and did not draw conclusions. The French media requested such an exclusive interview. France, as a whole, should protect Ambassador Lu's freedom of expression, and should not turn around and conduct political denunciations afterward. Doing so would be a disgrace to the country.

Third, some Western media have described Ambassador Lu's appearance on French TV and his response to repeated questions by reporters as a "wolf warrior." This is offensive and grossly unfair. When Chinese diplomats are interviewed, they do not simply explain China's foreign policy according to the scriptures, but express their views relatively freely, which is generally expected by Western media organizations. The reporter who interviewed Ambassador Lu asked questions in a very aggressive manner, while Ambassador Lu responded very politely. Labeling such a performance as a "wolf warrior" style has no real basis at all, and will only create more obstacles to the exchanges between China and the West.

Ambassador Lu is a diplomat. He needs to respond to attacks in a diplomatic manner to clear up these misunderstandings. We should support him rather than influence him with domestic sentiments. More importantly, we should encourage a soft landing of this issue, making it an opportunity to improve mutual understanding and inclusiveness between China and European countries in the midst of frictions and differences.

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