The Humble Roots of China’s ‘Wolf Warrior’ Diplomacy

The Humble Roots of China’s ‘Wolf Warrior’ Diplomacy
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, center, at a daily briefing in Beijing, Feb. 24, 2020 (AP photo by Andy Wong).

In a new book, the Bloomberg reporter Peter Martin, a former Beijing correspondent, sets out to understand what makes China’s diplomats tick—specifically, why a growing number of them are adopting an aggressively nationalistic stance in their public statements and in private meetings with foreign counterparts. The conduct of these “wolf warriors,” as they have come to be known, tends to play well back home, but it also undermines China’s reputation and runs counter to traditional diplomatic aims.

In “China’s Civilian Army: The Making of Wolf Warrior Diplomacy,” Martin traces the historical lineage of today’s Chinese diplomats back to the early days of the communist revolution. He joined WPR’s Elliot Waldman on the Trend Lines podcast this week to discuss the book.

Listen to the full interview with Peter Martin here:

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