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Howling diplomats: Select examples of China’s “Wolf Warrior Diplomacy”

“Wolf Warrior Diplomacy” is a non-authoritative term used to describe the most aggressive form of highprofile diplomacy carried out by Chinese state actors (MoFA spokespersons and ambassadors) during the last 1-2 years. This form of diplomacy is held in a confrontational manner and does not avoid aggressive rhetoric and direct or indirect threats. As such, the Wolf Warrior Diplomacy is a specific case of coercive diplomacy employed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

This report summarizes the most common triggers of Wolf Warrior Diplomacy as well as forms of responses CCP diplomats use and recommends appropriate policy measures that should be implemented by democratic countries in order to neutralize the possible effects “Wolf Warrior“ Diplomacy or any other form of coercion could bring about.

The most common triggers are:
  • Challenging the One-China policy
  • Exclusion of Huawei from 5G networks
  • Support of the pro-democratic movement in Hong Kong
  • Criticism of human rights abuses in China
  • The role of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Protection against China’s influence in local markets; and counterintelligence findings and warnings on China.
As in other cases of coercive diplomacy, the main form of policy responses to Wolf Warrior Diplomacy should consist of:
  • Raising awareness about the phenomenon
  • Encouraging joint and coordinated responses from affected countries
  • Economic decoupling from the PRC
  • Developing guidelines for companies
  • Raising the political cost of “Wolf Warrior” behavior