At a UN Security Council session on Tuesday, whose official agenda was Iran, German Envoy Christoph Heusgen urged China to free two detained Canadians, prompting China’s Deputy UN Envoy Geng Shuang to respond, “Out of the bottom of my heart: Farewell.”
It was Heusgen’s last scheduled UN Security Council meeting as he plans to retire. The truth of the “arbitrary detention” of the two Canadians, as the West calls it, is that the two were arrested, prosecuted and will be tried in accordance with China’s law on suspicion of crimes endangering China’s national security. The West’s smear of China’s legal system, or political system at large, is completely unwarranted in itself.
Western countries, including Germany, have been highly sensitive toward the interference of other countries in their domestic politics. However, they point an accusing finger at the domestic politics of other countries such as their judiciary system and practices within the scope of their sovereignty. And the UN, a serious multilateral platform, was turned into a political stage where their politicians play up hypocrisy. The performance of Heusgen is not how a qualified diplomat is supposed to behave.
Compared with the forbearing and restraint seen in China’s past diplomatic practice, Chinese diplomats have now taken the initiative to counter the West’s groundless smears against China. Such a contrast has led the West to tag Chinese diplomacy as “wolf warrior,” named after a Chinese patriotic action blockbuster. On Twitter, some Western media journalists have labeled Geng as another of China’s “wolf warrior” diplomats after outspoken Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian.
The term signifies the West’s inability to adapt to China’s rise and the West’s illusion that China must stay humble and submissive toward Western criticism and lecturing. With Heusgen as their representative, Western elites hold the belief that being critical and blunt toward other countries is only their privilege, so they are unable to get used to Chinese diplomats’ sharp responses. Once China hits the nail on their heads, they lash out at China for being a “wolf warrior,” which is another way to suppress China.
“The one that behaves mostly like a ‘wolf warrior’ is the US, with current US administration being the very example of this. The term exactly reflects how the US interacts with the rest of the world, while labeling China with such a term is like calling white black,” Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times Thursday.
A CNN article in May about China’s diplomatic approach wrote, “Instead of long, verbose statements, these Chinese officials are taking to Twitter and other social media platforms to hit back directly at any criticism of China or the ruling Communist Party.” CNN was right in that China only “hits back” when needed instead of provoking deliberately. But it is also worth mentioning what China hit back at was groundless accusations and smearing. China’s diplomatic practice has not become aggressive as the West claims, but is a defense of China’s interests in nature.