Beijing’s wolf warrior diplomacy was seen as more offensive after Zhang Heqing, a CCP diplomat in Pakistan, tweeted an image of a middle finger, which attracted global attention.
Former diplomats and experts said that China’s foreign policy has evolved into “middle finger diplomacy,” “rogue diplomacy,” or “mad dog diplomacy.”
Zhang Heqing, cultural counselor at the CCP’s embassy in Pakistan, posted two pictures via Twitter on June 23. One showed the thumbs-up and the other showed the insulting “middle finger.” The pictures are labeled: “We treat our friends as ‘trustworthy, lovable and respectful’” and “To the enemy, we are ‘wolf warriors’” respectively.
The tweet has since been deleted, but screenshots of it went viral online.
Liu Shih-chieh, a former diplomat from Taiwan, retweeted Zhang’s post on his Facebook page with a sarcastic comment: “How bad is the quality of China’s wolf warrior diplomat? The answer is sticking his middle finger on social media…(One with) such quality can also be a diplomat? Are you kidding me? In a country as big and diverse as China, there are all kinds of absurd things. My democratic qualities really limit my imagination.”
At the end of his tweet, Liu stressed that the CCP’s “wolf warrior diplomacy = middle finger diplomacy.”
What’s worth noting is that just three weeks ago, when CCP leader Xi Jinping presided over a Politburo study session on international communication, he stressed that diplomatic personnel should “pay attention to tone,” “be modest,” and try to create an image of China that is “credible, loveable, and respectable.”
Two weeks later, on June 15, Lu Shaye, the CCP ambassador to France declared in an interview with the French newspaper L’Opinion that “wolf warrior” is a positive term in China that refers to a combatant who fought for his country, and that he felt honored to be named a wolf warrior.
Previously, in a March 19 tweet, Lu called Antoine Bondaz, a prominent French scholar and frequent critic of the CCP, a “little rogue (petite frappe).” Lu’s brutal words shocked the French public and prompted severe condemnation, leading to the French Foreign Ministry summoning him at least four times.
It’s also not the first time Zhang Heqing has provoked controversy on Twitter.
On April 12, his Twitter account was banned for “breaking rules” by repeatedly posting or sharing messages justifying the CCP’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang, including a speech by Zhao Lijian, a well-known CCP “wolf warrior.”
Experts: Calling It ‘Rogue Diplomacy’ Is More Appropriate
Zheng Zhongyuan, an expert on China issues and current affairs commentator, reminded the international community that the word “wolf warrior” is a term from the CCP culture. It is a positive word in the discourse system of the CCP.
He advised the international media to use the term “rogue diplomacy” or “mad dog diplomacy” whenever possible to describe the CCP’s brutal diplomacy, as Chinese people, under intense brainwashing, may not feel “wolf warrior” is an insult.
As for Zhang Heqing’s middle-finger tweet and the declaration that “when dealing with enemies, we are the wolf warriors,” Zheng believes that it is the response and interpretation of Xi Jinping’s latest directives, by CCP diplomats, or the effects caused.
He told Sound of Hope that “Zhang Heqing is actually speaking his true mind, and it’s in line with the CCP discourse, because that’s what Xi meant. When the CCP comes to the generation of Xi, they believe the country has already become powerful.”
According to Zheng’s analysis, Xi’s call to be “loveable” is not to give up his hard-line fighting stance, but a united front approach to turn more people into “friends” before severely hitting a so-called enemy. This is due to the “struggle” nature of the CCP culture. Even in the past when Deng Xiaoping said “biding our time,” it was a delaying move before the CCP showed its “demon shape.”
Li Yanming, a U.S.-based China specialist and contemporary political commentator, told The Epoch Times: “The CCP’s foreign policy is carrot plus stick. When the united front approach doesn’t work, it behaves like a rogue. The outside world used to call CCP diplomacy wolf warrior diplomacy, which did encourage its barbaric so-called courage. Judging from the rogue move of Zhang Heqing, it may be more appropriate to call it rogue diplomacy.”