Foreign Policy Watch: India-China

What is China’s ‘Wolf Warrior’ Diplomacy?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Wolf warrior diplomacy

Mains level: Read the attached story


Chinese President Xi Jinping will get an endorsement for a third term as President. His “wolf warrior” style of diplomacy has particularly attracted attention.

What does Wolf Warrior’ Diplomacy mean?

  • A term that gained popularity, especially after Xi became President, “wolf warrior diplomacy” is a tactic for the Chinese government to extend its ideology beyond China and counter the West and defend itself.
  • It is an unofficial term for the more aggressive and confrontational style of communication that Chinese diplomats have taken to in the last decade.
  • A 2015 Chinese action film, titled ‘Wolf Warrior’, and its sequel have served as the inspiration for the term.
  • The films, with their nationalist themes and dialogues, focus on Chinese fighters who frequently face off against Western mercenaries.

Do you know?

Panchasheel also called the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence was signed on 29p April 1954 and since then it has become a guiding principle of India’s bilateral relations with other countries.

Why China resorts to such diplomacy?

The change in strategy has been attributed to many reasons, such as:

  1. Xi’s more authoritarian tendencies as compared to earlier leaders
  2. Deteriorating US-China relations under former US President Donald Trump and
  3. Coronavirus pandemic-related accusations on China, etc.

What does this look like in practice?

  • Some examples can be seen in the form of messaging on social media too, where Chinese officials are quick to counter any allegations by the West and proactively launch attacks.
  • For instance, in 2021 Chinese government spokesperson Lijian Zhao tweeted a digitally morphed photo of an Australian soldier killing a child, claiming the Australian army was killing children in Afghanistan.
  • This led the Australian Prime Minister to announce he would seek an official apology, but China did not budge.
  • But this is not limited to Western countries.

Indian experience

  • The new ‘wolf warrior diplomacy’ confronts head-on any criticism of China in the public sphere.
  • They lecture host governments and don’t always show up when ‘summoned’ by foreign offices.
  • Delhi has been at the receiving end for a while — especially during the recent crises of Doklam and Ladakh.


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