President Xi Jinping let loose China’s “Wolf Warrior” pack. But now the diplomatic community is biting back.
A major row has erupted after the Chinese Embassy in Paris tried to stop French legislator Alain Richard and his delegation from visiting Taiwan.
According to a report by French online media La Lettre A this week, China’s Ambassador Lu Shaye wrote a “scathing letter” to Richard. It asked him to cancel his plan to lead a party to the island democracy in the summer.
“French parliamentarians freely decide their travel and their contacts,” a spokeswoman for France’s Foreign Ministry said.
- The letter was leaked to French media and described Richard as being “outraged” by its contents.
- Taiwan is considered a renegade province by Beijing.
- China has threatened to reunite it with the “motherland” by using “force” if necessary.
- Since the start of the year, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force has conducted large-scale operations over the Taiwan Strait.
What was said: China’s Embassy in Paris has since published the letter on its website, warning politicians that the trip would violate the “One-China” principle. “French senators, as members of a French state institution, should of course observe this principle and refrain from any form of official contact with the Taiwanese authorities,” it said.
Reaction to the news: “The uncivilized behavior of the Chinese government will only deepen the Taiwanese people’s antipathy towards China,” Taiwan Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou said as reported by the Reuters news agency.
China Factor comment: “Wolf Warrior” diplomacy might play well inside China but this toxic brand of nationalism is coming under fire abroad. Fanned by a heavily-controlled state media, the policy has ripped apart Beijing’s diplomatic reputation in major global democracies.