A spat between China and France has burst into the open this week with Paris sharply reprimanding China‘s ambassador over undiplomatic insults and threats the Chinese Embassy has been hurling at French lawmakers and a key French strategy scholar.
The French Foreign Ministry summoned Chinese Ambassador Lu Shaye on Tuesday to underscore its frustration that China‘s Embassy recently warned French lawmakers not to meet with officials from Taiwan, the pro-democracy Southeast Asian island nation that communist China has long threatened to absorb.
Mr. Lu was also summoned because of incendiary tweets emanating from the Chinese Embassy in Paris, according to Reuters, which reported that the tweets have targeted Antoine Bondaz, a China expert at the Paris-based Foundation for Strategic Research.
The news agency said French officials were particularly dismayed with the embassy’s attempt to insult Mr. Bondaz by calling him a “small-time thug” and “mad hyena” on Twitter’s platform. A French official speaking on condition of anonymity told Reuters the Chinese Embassy’s behavior is “unacceptable and has crossed limits for a foreign embassy.”
China analysts in the United States have warned over the past year of increasingly aggressive posturing by Chinese diplomats at various embassies around the world. Analysts point specifically to Beijing’s use of so-called “Wolf Warrior” diplomacy, essentially combative rhetoric and actions on social media and beyond.
The practice, which got its name from the Rambo-style Chinese action movie “Wolf Warrior,” has seen Chinese officials — particularly in Australia, India and Japan — sharply denouncing officials and institutions in those countries who criticize China, marking a dramatic departure from the past in which Beijing sought to avoid confrontation internationally.