China reassigns combative ‘Wolf Warrior’ diplomat Zhao Lijian

China reassigns combative ‘Wolf Warrior’ diplomat Zhao Lijian
China reassigns combative ‘Wolf Warrior’ diplomat Zhao Lijian

We show you our most important and recent visitors news details China reassigns combative ‘Wolf Warrior’ diplomat Zhao Lijian in the following article

Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - BEIJING — A controversial Chinese diplomat who epitomized China's "Wolf Warrior" approach to diplomacy appears to have been demoted.

Ex-foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian is now deputy head of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs.

He will help manage China's maritime and land boundaries. It is unclear when he took up his new role.

A high-profile figure, Zhao often hosted the ministry's media briefings.

He was considered the leading light of "Wolf Warrior" diplomacy, defined by its confrontational, combative approach, a stark contrast to the previously restrained brand of Chinese diplomacy.

It is named after the highly popular, often jingoistic, movie franchise about the adventures of a Chinese special forces soldier.

In three years as foreign ministry spokesman Zhao often courted controversy with his tweets.

In 2020, Zhao suggested that the coronavirus which causes Covid was manufactured by the US military and brought to China.

That same year, he set off a diplomatic furor when he posted a doctored image of an Australian soldier killing an Afghan child.

The year before, former US national security advisor Susan Rice called the 50-year-old a "racist disgrace" after he fired off a series of provocative tweets about race relations in the US.

Zhao's reassignment coincides with China's former ambassador to the US Qin Gang becoming China's new foreign minister.

However, some observers have cautioned against seeing Zhao's move as signifying that China was moving away from combative diplomacy.

Writing on his Sinocism blog, US journalist Bill Bishop said the approach appeared to be a "fundamental tenet" of leader Xi Jinping's style of diplomacy and while Zhao was "one of the cruder mouthpieces" there was no evidence so far of any broader shift.

Some internet users have also speculated that the social media posts of Zhao's wife Tang Tianru may have something to do with his apparent demotion.

Multiple photos of Tian apparently attending public events in Beijing without a mask were posted on the account at a time when China was subject to the strictest Covid curbs in the world.

Pictures also purportedly showed Ms Tian traveling in Germany despite the travel restrictions then in force.

Last November, Zhao was uncharacteristically caught at a loss for words when asked in a press conference whether China would continue its zero-Covid policies amid rare protests in the country. After a long pause, he asked for the question to be repeated before saying that the query did "not reflect what actually happened".

The role of foreign ministry spokesperson is considered to be a prominent role that has in the past led to further promotion.

China's newly-appointed foreign minister Qin served as spokesperson before he was promoted inside the ministry and then given the prestigious US ambassadorship.

Meanwhile, Zhao's ex-colleague Hua Chunying, who has been a spokesperson since 2012, was promoted to assistant minister of foreign affairs last year. — BBC

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