China falls in behind the drumbeat of nationalism

President Xi Jinping’s caustic mood music has set the diplomatic tone for Beijing’s forceful foreign policy

China’s Ambassador Lu Shaye has become a cause célèbre in Paris for a diatribe of diplomatic drivel.

He was always a howling “Wolf Warrior” before the Taiwan crisis erupted after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s fleeting trip to Taipei last week. 

But now, he is a poster boy of Beijing’s neo-nationalists backed by President Xi Jinping and the upper echelons of the ruling Communist Party.    

Linking the word diplomacy with Lu is like serving crème brûlée with cabbage.

Highlighting the Party’s intolerance towards democracy, he made it clear that the Taiwanese people would be “re-educated” following reunification with the “motherland.”

“After reunification, we’ll do re-education,” Lu said about one of the most vibrant democracies in the world compared to one of the most autocratic in China. 

“Why do I say ‘re-educate?’ Because the authorities of Taiwan have made an education of ‘desinicization’ on its population, which is effectively indoctrinated and intoxicated. It must be re-educated to eliminate separatist thought and secessionist theory,” he told French TV during the height of China’s unprecedented military drills blockading Taiwan.


  • The Chinese envoy for France also accused two-term Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen of “poisoning the popular mood towards Beijing.”
  • Yet this sort of rhetoric is all part of Lu’s lexicon of the absurd.
  • Last year, he branded French academic Antoine Bondaz a “crazed hyena” and “ideological troll.”
  • Bondaz had dared to speak up after Beijing had condemned a proposed visit to Taiwan by French politicians.

There is only one way out, and that is Taiwan returning to the motherland.

Tao Wenzhao, of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

Delve deeper: Comments like these are peppered throughout Beijing’s diplomatic offensive. Even China’s academia has been coerced into spouting this nationalistic narrative.

Tough talk: “There is only one way out, and that is Taiwan returning to the motherland. Either peacefully or non-peacefully Taiwan will be back,” Tao Wenzhao, of the state-run Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said.

Will of the people: “This will be the outcome based on the strong will of 1.4 billion Chinese. National rejuvenation and the ultimate reunification of the motherland enjoy great consensus in China. Nobody can prevent the Chinese people from achieving those two goals,” he wrote in a commentary for China-US Focus, an academic website.

Big picture: But that is only one side of the argument. A more measured analysis was put forward by Kuan-Wei Chen, the executive director of the Centre for Research in Air and Space Law at McGill University in Canada.

Alternative view: “Why would 23.5 million people made up of ethnic Taiwanese, Chinese and 15 Pacific Island Indigenous tribes who live in what Pelosi called ‘one of the freest societies in the world’ want to be, as China has for decades stated, ‘liberated?’,” Chen wrote in a commentary for The Conversation.

Between the lines: On Wednesday, Beijing rolled out a white paper for reunification. It included a Hong Kong-style strategy for bringing Taiwan under Party rule.

China Factor comment: The “One Country, Two Systems” model put forward by Comrade Xi is a sham after the repressive crackdown in Hong Kong during the past two years. More than 250,000 people have fled the city since 2019.