The wolf warrior has turned into a panda|Lau Sai-leung

2021.06.11

Carrie Lam recently pointed out that a bill on countering sanctions imposed by other countries on China would be tabled at the latest session of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee. She said the SAR government had first-hand experience of being sanctioned and therefore would welcome and support the bill. The bill, she said, would provide a legal basis for future anti-sanctions measures. She underscored that countering sanctions meant “it is not our country that takes preemptive actions to sanction others” but was a matter of “letting others have a taste of their own medicine”. Showing support for the wolf warrior diplomacy of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Lam thinks she is smart. Apparently she is not aware that the wolf warrior policy was borne out of China’s strategic needs, and that Beijing has just switched to a panda strategy, which will see it put on a new look, making it appear “credible, adorable and respectable”. So it looks like Lam has once again gone the wrong way in trying to curry favor with the power that be.

This month, three US senators flew to Taiwan’s Songshan Airport on a US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III freighter for a three-hour whirlwind trip. No wolf warrior diplomat has responded, and China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs merely said it has lodged solemn representations with the US, while the Ministry of National Defense reiterated China’s resolute defense of national unification and territorial integrity, without imposing any countermeasures or sanctions on the three senators. In the past, many Chinese diplomats and current and retired generals put on a wolf warrior face, claiming that if US troops entered Taiwan, China would use force against the island. Global Times also said if US military aircraft landed in Taiwan, a Cross-Strait war would be triggered. But in reality, Beijing’s response to the arrival of the US aircraft was belated and mild. No wonder the Little Pinks in mainland China were enraged, accusing the People’s Liberation Army of being weak.

The CCP is now beginning to realize that a policy seeking to contain China has taken shape. In 2019 and 2020, things went well for the CCP, as the Covid-19 pandemic dealt a serious blow to Europe and the US, while the US was plunged into internal chaos amid a sweeping “anything but Trump” campaign. The CCP was elated, thinking China was the only one that was doing well and that the East was on the rise and the West in decline. It thought things had turned around in the world and that it could do whatever it wanted. So, it tightened the screws on Xinjiang and Hong Kong. Unfortunately, all that was just the first half of the football game. In the second half, things took a U-turn. The US and UK vaccination programs have been a success, with more than half of the population having got the jab. Infections in both countries have come under control and the death rate is going down.

After taking office, Joe Biden took over former state secretary Mike Pompeo’s China policy but has shunned his predecessor’s arbitrary style. He is pulling the EU and Indo-Pacific to the US’s side, giving rise to the biggest containment effort in the West since the CCP abandoned its anti-US position in 1979. The CCP had been indulging in the exhilaration brought by a polarized America, and it had been pushing its wolf warrior policy. When in office, Pompeo accused the CCP of committing genocide in Xinjiang. His successor Antony Blinken has adopted the same line. He is lobbying US allies to align their position with the US and to condemn and impose sanctions on China. The wolf warrior has been quick to counteract by imposing sanctions on several members of the European Parliament. As a result, ratification of the EU-China investment deal is now off the table.

The US wants to find out the origin of Covid-19, hold the CCP accountable

More infuriatingly, Washington’s response to Xinjiang is just a gesture. What is truly damaging is the accusation of the CCP of a lab leak cover-up, as the US government attempts to trace the origin of the coronavirus and hold the CCP accountable. All countries around the world have been suffering from the pandemic and can find no way to vent their grievances. The CCP’s wolf warrior image, together with the fact that it covered up the coronavirus situation at the beginning of the pandemic, is suspicious enough for other countries. Currently mainstream scientists, media outlets and politicians in the West are of the view that the possibility of a man-made Covid-19 virus cannot be ruled out. In effect, the burden of proof is now on Xi Jinping. The onus is on him to prove to the world the virus was not man-made. This is like former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein having the obligation to prove to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission that Iraq did not have any weapons of mass destruction, which the West accused it of possessing. Tracing the origin of a problem, holding a country accountable and seeking compensations give the West the strongest justification to be on the moral high ground and implement a containment policy. This way, even countries with the closest economic and trade ties with the CCP will not dare to go against public opinions and back the CCP.

Now the CCP wants to turn over a new leaf, transforming the wolf warrior into a cute panda. But it’s too late, given it has lost the trust of the West because of what it has done to Hong Kong.

(Lau Sai-leung, political commentator)

This article is translated from Chinese by Apple Daily.

Click here for Chinese version

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