The Covid-19 epidemic found that China, with its supply of "mask diplomacy" medical equipment, is in a unique position in the global soft power competition. But then, anti-Beijing headlines flooded, followed by a radical diplomatic offensive that revealed the results.
On April 14, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian summoned Chinese Ambassador Lusaye on the website of the Chinese Embassy for fake news of coronavirus.
Canadians had experienced ambassador Lu ’s diplomatic spurs—or no diplomatic spurs—when they were ambassadors to Beijing in Canada, and were notorious for accusing Ottawa of “white supremacy. Demand the release of two Canadian nationals arrested in China during the Huawei scandal last year.
In his new position as Chinese ambassador to France, Lu Zai came again. In the controversial embassy "article", an anonymous Chinese diplomat claimed that French nursing staff abandoned the old man and killed him in a nursing home. It also accused French legislators of using racist remarks against the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adamano Gabriassos. Both accusations are wrong.
Therefore, when Le Drian summoned Lu, Canadian experts closely monitored the developments in Paris on Twitter.
"As Canadians, we all miss Lu Shaye. The Chinese are rude and highly praised. Before he was sent to Paris, there was no diplomatic envoy to Ottawa. For us, he represented the CCP ’s Everything is wrong. "Michale Cole of the Macdonald Laurier Institute refers to the Communist Party of China.
As Canadians, we miss neither Lushaye, ] #China Rude and highly unequal diplomatic envoys to Ottawa before being sent to Paris. For us, he summarized all the errors of #CCP . Then he went again, this time at Ville Lumière https://t.co/HVkguPNsWh pic.twitter.com/dVJvi4WPFs
-J Michael Cole (鰨 谧 将) (@ JMichaelCole1) April 15, 2020
French dress up for several weeks. Dorian Malovic, the Asian editor of the Paris Embassy, said: "The Paris Embassy has been publishing such terrible communiqués, articles, and quotations. This is what [Chinese President] Xi Jinping ’s diplomatic officer said about the“ fighting spirit ”. Classical propaganda for requested lies and insults. The French daily, La Croix, has written several books about China.
He continued: "Of course these are on Twitter accounts. "Doron Malovic, editor of the Asian edition of the French Daily, and Dorian Malovic, author of several books about China, said:" Although Twitter is banned in China, it is within China The ban was on criticism of Beijing for handling the Covid-19 epidemic.
But the call of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not stop Beijing ’s diplomatic offensive. A week later, the German Ministry of the Interior stated that Chinese diplomats had contacted German officials to encourage them to speak positively about Beijing ’s handling of the coronavirus crisis. Statement.
The policy of “encouraging” positive information on state-controlled social media has been working internally in China. However, due to the increasing demand for an independent international investigation into the origin of the virus, and China ’s response to outbreaks Beijing has been unable to control the international narrative.
The tide of public opinion has changed, just like China ’s “cover-up diplomacy” —sending medical supplies to countries that are hit hard (such as Italy and France) are taking off. [19659003"ChinabelievesthatbysendingoutplaneswithmasksandmedicalequipmentitisstandingoutfromthecrisisBeijingbelievesthatastheonlymajorcountrywithsuchcapabilitiesitcanbenefitfromitInsteaditevokedastrongresponsewhichisaverystrangething"SeniorFrenchjournalistformerBeijingcorrespondentandeditorof"MaYanDiary"PierreHaski(PierreHaski)said
Daily drip irrigation of bad news because China from all over the world is becoming a flood. In the United States, Republican and Democratic presidential candidates are fighting for who is “weaker against China.” The Trump campaign launched a “Beijing Biden” ad. Joe Biden ’s team responded, “Trump is China People provide convenience. "Trump also insisted that he had seen evidence that Covid-19 originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, but he did not provide any details, and the US intelligence agencies did not support his claim.
Beyond the ring road, headlines about Chinese medicine products with regulatory regulations poured in from Japan, Finland, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Canada and India.
China ’s response to these complaints-especially from East and South Asian countries Response-harsh, blaming India ’s highest medical institution as, for example, that it is not recommended to use “defective” test suites exported from China Irresponsible. ”When Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an international investigation into the incident, one of Beijing ’s heinous rebels had a Communist tabloid that compared Australia to“ sticking to Chinese soles ” Chewing gum. "
China threatened to stop importing Australian wine and beef in response to Canberra ’s bipartisan appeal, responding to the origin of # COVID19 and an independent investigation.
This is indeed It goes without saying. Https://t.co/DK5Tx2GHdt
— Ashley Townshend (@ashleytownshend) April 27, 2020
Perhaps the most surprising PR failure came from Africa, and Beijing The Petri dish used to be the continent of Africa to test its global soft power. In rare diplomatic blows, the governments of several African countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda summoned the Chinese ambassador last month Formally protested against the racist treatment of Chinese nationals. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank announced the Covid-19 rescue After the measure, media reports also focused on Beijing ’s silence on any African debt relief.
As the pandemic changed the tectonic sector of global power, China is in the midst of its economic power (including market size and manufacturing base) with public opinion. The critical moment when the power is proportional.
In many aspects of the international criticism, Beijing ’s “offense is the best form of defense” response has been aimed at the government ’s democratic system, emphasizing the lowness of the elected leaders scrambling to respond to the crisis Effective response.
Europe, due to internal differences and pre-dangerous intermediate positions between attempts to negotiate with the United States, may erode competition in the global market.
Beijing ’s diplomatic warfare is particularly cruel in France. Although Le Drian called the Chinese ambassador, this situation continues. For example, another (French) article published on the Chinese Embassy website on April 26 explained “ Why is the Covid-19 epidemic so politicized & # 39; & # 39 ;. This includes Europe ’s ineffective response to the crisis, which it claimed has led to “ some Westerners … distrusting liberal democracy. In response to this epidemic, socialism with Chinese characteristics has demonstrated its ability to concentrate resources on major achievements.
In the United States, the stakes are high, and the Trump administration ’s unstable policy is a diplomatic minefield. The Chinese ambassador to Washington, Cui Tiankai, is an old-school Beijing diplomat. He took a cautious and prudent attitude. Therefore European leaders have a responsibility to respond to China ’s public relations and false propaganda activities. The question now is whether, on the one hand, they are willing to respond to challenges and balance the public ’s demand for transparency when Covid-19 erupts, as well as the interests of domestic companies Investing in China ’s resources during the recession.
The envoy of the “Wolf Warrior” answered the call of President Xi Jinping
realizing these stakes in the post-Coronavirus era, Beijing is relying on one of them A series of fierce diplomats, they are called "Wolf Warriors", is a muscular Chinese commando starring in the 3D blockbuster, with the bare hands killed the bad guys in Africa and Southeast Asia, thereby saving the people. Last year, After President Xi Jinping issued a memorandum requesting the special envoy to show more "fighting spirit" in the global influence war, China The "Wolf Warrior" diplomat came into being.
The organization ’s Alpha male Zhao Lijian fought in Pakistan with the former US national security adviser as a deputy head of the embassy in Islamabad. Susan Rice He heard the large-scale imprisonment of Uighur Muslims in China.
After returning to Beijing, Zhao received the reward of promotion to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman. During his tenure, he has launched an offensive, including hints that the Covid-19 epidemic is
The 55-year-old Chinese ambassador to France is another famous backpack member. Lu ’s aggressive history during his tenure in Canada was so clear that he was appointed in Paris when he announced his appointment as French ambassador in June 2019. Reporters Without Borders issued a statement warning the new envoy not to “try to intimidate the media.”
Considering supply dependence
The anti-China boycott after the outbreak of Covid-19 put pressure on the Chinese envoy in France again, which is the only permanent member of the EU
but according to some experts, this strategy It seems to be counterproductive.
"This kind of propaganda narrative is totally counterproductive to Western countries, especially now that the world knows that China Malovich explains.
There are countless problems in China, from the suppression of freedom of expression to the difficulty of conducting business in a single-party country. te is well known. But the consequences of the pandemic crisis are prompting people to re-examine the pros and cons of dealing with China on Beijing's unyielding conditions.
"People already know the quality issues in China. French businessmen in China have been complaining privately about how difficult it is to do business in China. Nowadays, due to wrong, unqualified tests, masks and ventilators, for China, This is a difficult step, and restoring credibility is a huge challenge. "Malovic said.
The disruption of the pandemic supply chain also forced countries and companies to re-examine China ’s competitiveness. For example, Japan
Japan has set aside $ 2.2 billion from its economic stimulus plan to help its manufacturers move production to China. . This decision is a major blow to Beijing because China is Japan ’s largest trading partner and Japan ranks third among China ’s major export destinations.
The trade war between Trump and Beijing has led some international companies to reassess their dependence on China
pointed out in a recent article in Forbes. "Companies are actively reconsidering their supply chains, either persuading Chinese partners to move to Southeast Asia to avoid tariffs, or choosing not to source from China at all."
In Europe, Erie of the Coronavirus Carnegie International Peace Foundation Kirk Blatterberg and Philip Le Corey of Harvard ’s Kennedy School pointed out that the crisis may reinforce voices calling for less dependence on China for security reasons. "The European Commission has issued new guidelines for the implementation of the universal EU investment screening framework, which specifically mentions the protection of key medical assets in Europe. The EU is also vigilant against the recurrence of the financial crisis after 2008, which has led China to carry out critical infrastructure in Europe. Speculative investment. "Blatterberg and Le Corey wrote in Diplomat.
Wuhan laboratory, a "Chinese tool" & # 39;
The pandemic also made people pay attention to China ’s violation of bilateral agreements, and partner countries have been reluctant to disclose concerns about Beijing Worries about its investment in China and the rebound of its citizens.
Sino-French cooperation reported that after the US media reported that Washington began to worry about insufficient safety measures at the facility in 2018, one of Wuhan ’s largest safe biological laboratories has received special scrutiny.
Although there is no evidence that Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan, the media reported 4 types of pathogens (P4) laboratories, exposing China ’s cooperation violations on the project. In a recent survey report, French Cultural Public Radio detailed how a team of 50 French scientists began to provide five-year training and expertise in the P4 laboratory from 2017, which never arrived Wuhan.
Two years after the French billionaire businessman Alain Mérieux resigned as co-chair of the joint committee to oversee the project. Mérieux said in an interview with Radio France in 2015 that he resigned because the P4 project has become "a very Chinese tool. Although it was developed with technical assistance from France, it belongs to them."
Beijing is playing the European Union divisions
Due to the lack of solidarity and competition between Western countries (especially major European countries) in investment and partnership projects in China, Malovic suggested that The violations never prevented the project from proceeding. Malovich explained: "Every senior businessman said yes, there are many problems, but if we don't do or sell, the Germans or Americans will."
"China is very good at playing a different role. He Pointed out.
The EU is still aware of the need for unity in China ’s unfair trade practices. Last year, contrary to Brussels ’weak stance in Beijing, the European Commission called China an“ economy for technological leadership ”in the EU ’s strategic briefing Competitors are systemic competitors who advocate alternative governance models. "
Traditionally, Rome has been more open to Beijing, but Italy ’s anger over China ’s handling of coronavirus outbreaks has grown stronger. The recent crisis may provide Europe An opportunity to readjust its China policy. Malovic said: "The virus has dealt a heavy blow to China, and no matter what action they take, they will not easily escape.
However, few people are willing to bet on a complete geopolitical reform. Husky said: "After the US presidential election, we will get the answer. "If Trump wins, China will be in a difficult position." If it is Biden, the problem will not change, but you may try to resume bilateral discussions more consensus, which may spread more nationalistic aspects of Chinese speech.
However, the Covid-19 crisis triggered "Global Husky's view that changes in attitudes toward China" will be marked by "more suspicion and vigilance over all issues known over the years."
Avoid anti-Asian racism
But Husky pointed out that France and other European countries must be very careful when transmitting information. Husky said: "France has a large Chinese community, and no one wants it like the United States. Anti-Asian racism. "He refers to the increase in attacks against Asian Americans after Trump used the term" Chinese virus. "[19659002法国是欧洲最大的华裔侨民的家园（据估计在60万至70万之间），并在3月见证了反亚洲种族主义的激增，当时，冠状病毒危机的程度和对中国人的掩盖指控开始浮出水面。 For example, a local newspaper Le Courier Picard because of its inflammatory title" Alerte jaune ”(yellow warning) and was strongly protested, forcing the newspaper to quickly apologize. This triggered French Asians (including important Vietnamese and Cambodian diasporas) to use“ JeNeSuisPasVirus ”on social media sites (I Not a virus) label campaign.
"Everyone in the government will be very careful about the French atmosphere. Haski said.
The challenge facing European governments in the next few months will be to respond effectively and effectively to the “wolf warrior” attack by Chinese officials, while avoiding opposition to themselves. Asian immigrant groups are on their land.