China’s toothless wolf warrior diplomacy

China's toothless wolf warrior diplomacy
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Xi Jinping's overseas diplomats have attracted much controversy in recent years for their aggressive use of 'Wolf Warrior' tactics to denounce criticism of China on online platforms. But while past trolling incidents have sparked anger or dismay, the rest of Twitter was left baffled by the Chinese Embassy in Ireland's most recent foray into statecraft-by-social media.

Following the news on Wednesday that RTE journalist Yvonne Murray has been forced to leave China, the official account of PRC tried to make the light of the situation, asking its 2,900 followers 'Who is the wolf?' before riffing on Aesop's fable 'The wolf and the lamb' and claiming 'the wolf is the wolf, not the lamb. BTW [by the way] China is not a lamb.' A subsequent tweet posted 20 hours later only compounded the confusion, claiming: 'The wolf of current generation has evolved to call the lamb a wolf.'

The bizarre series of tweets appears to be the latest diplomatic misstep for a nation used to earning the ire of the international community. Foreign Policy’s deputy editor, James Palmer suggested the junior staff member likely responsible was trying to use the fable to show how 'the West is determined to accuse innocent China, and so, like the wolf in the fable, will look for any excuse to do so' but that 'as he gets to the end, he realizes he's left himself open. China can't be portrayed as a weak lamb that will be eaten up. China is strong, powerful! So he adds the 'BTW.'' 

Steerpike wonders how many more howlers the self-proclaimed wolf warriors will commit before they are hauled back to Beijing with their tail between their legs.

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to

Topics in this articlePoliticschina