There is a new brand of diplomacy taking hold in Beijing and its chief architects have a suitably fierce nickname to match their aggressive style -- they are the wolf warriors. It's a phrase that is now used widely in Chinese state-run media as well
as Western publications, and it was made clear last weekend that its proponents have the full support of the country's top diplomat. Speaking at a press conference in Beijing Sunday, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that China would now push back agains
t "deliberate insults." "We never pick a fight or bully others. But we have principles and guts. We will push back against any deliberate insult, resolutely defend our national honor and dignity, and we will refute all groundless slander with facts,"
said Wang, responding to a question from CNN. But what is "wolf warrior" diplomacy, what does the name mean and where did it originate? The "wolf warriors" represent a completely different type of diplomat to the famously bland Chinese foreign repre
sentatives of the past few decades. 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. "Wolf Warrior" is ac
tually the title of a hugely-successful series of patriotic action films in China, featuring Rambo-like protagonists who fight enemies at home and abroad to defend Chinese interests. The first film was released in 2015 and made more than $76 million
(545 million yuan) at the box office. It quickly spawned a sequel that became China's highest grossing film at the time when it was released in 2017. "Wolf Warrior 2"' was based around a squad of People's Liberation Army soldiers sent into an African
country to rescue Chinese civilians. The film's tagline was, "Even though a thousand miles away, anyone who affronts China will pay." An early comparison between the film series and China's diplomats came in July 2019, when Zhao Lijian, then a couns
elor at the Chinese embassy in Pakistan, began to hit back hard against the US government on Twitter. In a controversial series of tweets, Zhao claimed the US had no right to criticize China on human rights abuses when it had problems with racism, in
come inequality and gun violence. Zhao alleged there were places in Washington DC where "the white (people)" never go. It provoked a furious reaction from former US President Barack Obama's National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who called Zhao a "rac
ist disgrace." But one year later, Zhao's career has only blossomed, and he is now one of the three high-profile spokespeople who hold the Chinese Foreign Ministry's daily press conference. Not only that, but Chinese diplomats across the world have b
egun to mirror Zhao's aggressive tactics on Twitter, a platform long banned in China. Zhao's boss Hua Chunying, director general of the Foreign Ministry's Department of Information, has frequently lashed out at critics on her Twitter account, which s
he only opened in October 2019 and now boasts almost 500,000 followers. "Some politicians ignore the basic facts and make up countless lies and conspiracy theories concerning China," Hua said on May 24 amid deteriorating relations between the US and
China over the coronavirus pandemic.